The homeschool materials catalogs will come to my mailbox in just a few short weeks, and I find that I am excited about planning for our next year.
But let's face it, those sleek new curriculum packages and words like "guaranteed" and "success" and "less work" sure do sound enticing...
It is tempting at times to scrap everything I've done so far and start over from scratch - relentlessly chasing after the next great curriculum. If I make changes, I want them to make our homeschool better - not just different!
Here are some guiding principles my husband and I use to plan our homeschooling materials purchases.
1. Assess your year.
|image courtesy of Surachai freedigitalphotos.net|
I also do my own Pro & Con list for our school year. I try to honestly assess how each subject worked (or didn't) and then also figure in ease of use, prep time, etc.
After all the votes are in, we can better see what is working well and what may not be. Sometimes the things that aren't working can be tweaked without switching (what if we only did 2 lessons a week instead of 3?). If you can't come up with a practical "fix," it may be time to switch what you are using.
2. Ask questions.
When we were having trouble with our history lessons last year, I asked a few friends who also used the same book how it was working for them. I tried some of their suggestions to make it better, but eventually found that we did need to change. Had I not asked questions, however, I may have hastily switched and wasted money on something I didn't need.
With lots of online forums available, chances are really good someone else is:
1. Using the same materials
2. Experiencing (or even better) has overcome the same problem
See if other homeschooling moms have a creative solution! You can always feel free to post questions here or on Homeschooling and Other Adventures on Facebook.
3. Buy used.
We are blessed to have a large number of homeschoolers in our area so there are several used curriculum sales that can really save a lot of $ $ for our family. Knowing what you need before these sales can save a lot of headaches and unnecessary purchases. I research by looking up the average cost of the materials online. That way I know whether I am getting a good deal at a used book sale or if I need to keep on looking. Knowing what materials you need will save you from impulse buys just because something seems inexpensive.
Join me on Monday as I share a few more Homeschool Planning Tips!
Blessings as you plan,
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