Once you've decided to homeschool, coming up with a curriculum is the next daunting step on your list. We know trying to plan a homeschooling curriculum can seem overwhelming at times, especially when faced with the wealth of information available on homeschooling forums, commercial homeschooling curriculum plans, and the internet. That's why we've put together this guide to help walk you through the step-by-step process of creating your unique homeschooling curriculum.
Before we jump into the guide, one thing to keep in mind is that your homeschooling plan shouldn’t necessarily look like any other homeschooling curriculum out there. One of the benefits of homeschooling is the adaptability it offers, allowing you to tailor your learning plan to your home life and your children’s special interests.
It can take some time to develop a learning flow that works for your family, so be aware your homeschooling curriculum should be flexible enough to accommodate changes throughout the year. Homeschooling doesn't necessarily require a schedule, that's one of the beauties of learning at home! Remember, adjusting your teaching plans to the needs of you and your children doesn't mean there's a flaw in your curriculum—it is one of the best parts of homeschooling!
With this in mind, let’s get into planning your homeschooling curriculum from the ground up.
Curriculum Planning at a Glance
Set learning goals for the school year
Research curriculums and resources
Include your kids in the planning process
Schedules and tracking learning results
Set Learning Goals for the School Year
The first thing to consider when setting up your homeschooling curriculum is your learning goals. It can be helpful to lay out your learning goals by month using an academic planner if that fits your teaching style. For homeschooling families involved with a charter school, pay attention to their guidelines and requirements for your learning plan.
If you and your family are better suited for a looser learning style, it can still help to set general goals to help you feel prepared for your homeschooling journey. Don’t worry about setting your learning goals in stone, after all, your children will seek out learning on their own, and sometimes learning just happens. One of the most miraculous parts of any homeschooling journey is watching education unfold before your eyes when you least expect it, like during a trip to the grocery store or in the form of your children falling in love with books.
Research Curriculums and Resources
While you don't need to invest in a professional homeschooling curriculum to ensure your children get a good education, it can be helpful to see what books and topics other homeschooling programs cover. After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery, and many of these homeschooling curriculums can give you inspiration for lesson plans, books to read, and more, all without the hefty price tag of professional homeschooling curriculums!
Many of these homeschooling curriculums have forums where other homeschool parents can discuss what they used from the curriculum kits, which can help you decide what parts of each program are worth using, and which fell flat. Of course, there is nothing wrong with investing in a premade lesson plan, so be sure to mark down any ideas that might fit your family’s learning style in the future.
Another thing to keep in mind is there are countless free resources online, from libraries and other education guides to museums, art exhibits, and more. You’d be surprised what you can find at your local library, and interlibrary loan programs can be a treasured resource for your homeschooling journey. This is where your children's special interests can come into play. After all, letting your learners guide their education journey is one of the beauties of homeschooling.
Keep in mind that you don't need to invest in expensive curricula to find learning opportunities around you. After all, things like folding clothes, doing the dishes, cooking dinner, and grocery shopping are all learning opportunities. Every trip to the grocery store can teach your children about where their food is grown or be a valuable lesson for older children about setting a budget and managing finances.
Household chores can contribute to motor skill development in younger children, and every washed dish can be an opportunity to learn about water conservation and even physics if your child is interested in science. Creativity is at the heart of homeschooling, so be sure to follow these learning rabbit trails and watch the magic of learning unfold.
Include Your Kids in the Planning Process
One of the main foundations of homeschooling is communicating with your students about what they want to learn and finding a way to merge their interests with your curriculum. Ask your children what they’re excited to learn more about and find a way to incorporate this into your lesson plans. Be aware that transitioning to homeschooling can be overwhelming for some children at first, so be sure to be open with them and include them in your decision-making so they can easily transition to this new and exciting learning style.
If your child is interested in history, find a way to merge this into other topics like science and art to create a well-rounded learning environment. Similarly, if your child is a fan of STEM learning, the GIGIL STEM Kit may help fill an entire week's worth of projects, without stretching your curriculum to its limits.
Leaving space in your schedule can leave room for a trip to your local science museum, or let you spend an extra week studying ancient Egypt. These learning rabbit trails can spur creativity and help foster a love of learning.
Schedules and Tracking Learning Results
While this last section incorporates one of the more frustrating aspects of creating your homeschooling curriculum, it can be, by far, one of the most important. Thankfully, homeschooling offers great flexibility when creating a schedule, so be sure to treat your schedule as a guideline rather than a set-in-stone rule.
For example, does your child focus better in the morning or do they take some time to wake up? Building your schedule around your child’s needs can help you as both their teacher and parent and remove the stress that comes with overly structured learning plans.
Also, remember to track your child’s learning results. For those working with a charter school program, documenting your child's learning journey is important to work within the guidelines of the school.
Homeschoolers who are registered in their own private schools, or those working with more flexible education guidelines, may not need to track their learning results as regularly, but keeping these records can provide the documentation needed for your child to apply to higher learning programs in the future.
We know homeschooling can be overwhelming at times, which is why we offer plenty of resources to help you and your child succeed. If you’re looking for more lesson plan aids, check out the latest GIGIL STEM Kit for easy, hands-on learning delivered right to your door.
GIGIL STEM Subscription Boxes bring STEM Education to your doorstep, with 5 activities each month and all the supplies you need to complete them! Just open up your STEM Kit and go (easy)! We are also Mom's Choice Award and Parents' Picks winners!
Ready to start learning? Subscribe today and your first STEM Kit ships within 3-5 days!