Ok, don’t throw out your homeschool curriculum just yet, but do hear me out. I am not a huge fan of homeschool curriculum. Or any curriculum for that matter. I started to homeschool because I wanted to have a personalized education for my child. The pre-packaged homeschool curriculum just doesn’t do that for me.
Don’t get me wrong; I still use some school curricula. I tend to pick through it, though and make it sort of my own. By picking and choosing what parts to utilize I am still personalizing my daughter’s education. The list of homeschool curriculum that I do use is still small, though. I put together most of the work we complete.
People often think that designing your course of study will take a ton of time. I will go over the details of how I plan it out in another post. I can also make a video on it as I start planning for next year. If you are interested in that, please let me know in the comments below. Right now, I will go into why I choose not to use much homeschool curriculum and what benefits we’ve seen since making the switch.
What do we use, if not homeschool curriculum?
Often I choose living books and notebooking in lieu of the standard curriculum. We also love to utilize games for fun-schooling. You can use games for initial learning AND practice, instead of worksheets. In our house, Netflix is also a big winner. I know that many homeschool families use Netflix to supplement learning, but I might lean on it a little more than the average bear. Along with Netflix, there is also YouTube. Check out my channel. I have a ton of playlists for everything from grammar to science to math songs. When I can’t explain something adequately, I turn to YouTube.
Onto the 4 Terrific Reasons to Throw out your Homeschool Curriculum
Reason #1: Having less curriculum leaves more room for creativity. When we used curriculum for all of our subjects we drudged through the day, often with tears. By the time we finish with ticking off all of the boxes, there was no more energy for creativity. Besides wanting to be done, it was often the case that school work took us so long it was time to start dinner and E had been listening to the neighborhood kids play for an hour or more.
Each year we used less and less prepackaged curriculum, and I watched my daughter’s creativity come alive again. Miss E had time to dive deeper into subjects, to ponder the different possible meanings of stories. She once again finds joy in the process of learning. She spends her free time creating, and I see subjects from school sneak into her play. The best thing of all? We fight about school work SO MUCH LESS.
Reason #2: Less homeschool curriculum creates MORE opportunity for critical thinking. In our homeschool, there is no need for a critical thinking workbook. We try to keep up with news stories and discuss. Marc and I like to play devil’s advocate with each other and with E. We try to teach her to look at different perspectives just through organic discussion. This method has solidified that there is often no one right answer to problems in life. There is space for many different opinions and divergent thought is welcomed.
Reason #3: There is less fighting and tension in our homeschool day. Period. I did not choose to homeschool E to create a rift between us. That’s what was happening by ticking off homeschool curriculum boxes. We dug our heels into the ground and squared off every. single. day. We were tired. When I gave her more ownership over her education, and some more autonomy, there was a miracle in our home. The siphoning off homeschool curriculum from our lives has led to a better mother-daughter relationship, and more harmonious days in our home overall. You think I’m dramatic, but I’m not.
Reason #4: Last, but most definitely not least, throwing out most of our homeschool curriculum has led to deeper understanding and better retention of material covered. No joke. I don’t learn when I am frustrated or bored, so why would I expect a child to sit down, suck it up and retain information that means nothing to her? Because she has some ownership in her education, she has a higher interest level and has become invested in her education. Her subjects mean something to her, and she is motivated to push through the hard parts and reach her goal. By throwing out our homeschool curriculum and organically we have more room to explore a topic deeper. There are so many different ways to interact with a subject beyond a textbook and workbook.
Thank you for making it this far! Have you tossed out some homeschool curriculum and found other ways to pursue your interests? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below! If you would like great educational deals delivered right to your inbox, please sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar.
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