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Kathy Ceceri

Do You REALLY Need a Curriculum?

By February 25, 2013

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SchoolbooksShort answer: Of course not. Many homeschoolers get along just fine with materials they pull together themselves.

And most of the time, they save a lot of money, too. As I've said before, when I was just starting out, it only took one evening of listening to veteran homeschoolers complain about what they spent on curriculum that their kids barely used to convince me to go right to creating my own.

If you're wondering how to get started homeschooling without a curriculum, I've just written a new article with lots of ideas for finding your own learning materials. And don't forget my earlier list of Learning Tools Kids Will Love.

Image: Kathy Ceceri


February 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm
(1) Lillybrae says:

I’m a home school mom. I’ve done it several ways. I’ve utilized the State’s Virtual Academy which is Public School from Home, I’ve pieced together well known book curriculum from different sources, I’ve combined book and online classes, which utilized paper books and finally I’ve used online curriculum which does not require a book of any kind.

It depends on the age of your child and what you are willing to put into the task both monetarily and labor wise. And it also depends on how much instruction your child is willing to take from Mom.

While kids are young, it is easy to pull together very inexpensive curriculum sources and do a great job of educating your child. It is easy at this stage to buy too much curriculum, when piecing together what your child will work with. This is where parental monetary complaints will come into play.

You can get many older but valuable learning tool books from Amazon and other sources for under $5 a book. You can buy brand new well known curriculum for $20 to $100 per subject. Just be sure what you want before you start purchasing this curriculum.

As my child has gotten to middle school, she has balked at Mom telling her what to do. So with her agreement and buy in, we went with an online accredited school. No books to keep up with. She reads and listens to lectures online only. The curriculum and amount of work that needs to be done is set by a neutral third party.

One thing for Home School families to be mindful of for the near future is how the Common Core State Standards are being handled in your state.

April 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm
(2) gasstationwithoutpumps says:

I think that you are using “curriculum” incorrectly—in a way that companies that market packages of books want you to.

A curriculum is just “The subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college.” For a home school, the curriculum is what the students learn, and every home school has one, whether they plan it or not.

What you meant to say, I think, is that home schoolers don’t need to BUY someone else’s pre-packaged box of textbooks and videos. I agree, though it is good to look at what other people are putting together, to see whether the program you are creating with your students is balanced: both comprehensive enough and detailed enough.

April 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm
(3) Kathy Ceceri, About.com Homeschool Guide says:

Just curious, would you still say that a curriculum exists if you decide what to cover as you go along? I have done it both ways — planned out topics in advance one year, and the next year let current events or an interesting TV special we happened to see determine what we would focus on that month…

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