I used to enjoy trolling through curriculum, websites, blogs, and any homeschooling material I could get my hands on.
Not so much.
Too much information leads to confusion and discontent.
In the beginning it was good for me to research the different methods and try a few things -- so I could get an idea of what best suited my learners.
There was a time and place for immersing myself in resources, but now I find subscribing to a handful of trusted blogs, attending a convention, and talking with my homeschool mom friends is MORE THAN ENOUGH.
Choosing homeschool resources wisely is almost an art form... and I have a few thoughts about it for you today!
Know Your Homeschool Style
Have you identified your homeschool style?
Are you Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unschool, Montessori, Eclectic, or something else?
In the beginning our family was Charlotte Mason, then we went through a brief time of unschooling. We merged into a Classically Eclectic homeschool, and now we are firmly rooted in a Classical Education.
My post, Ten Best Books for Homeschool Moms, can provide resources for you if you are defining your style, or if you just need some encouragement!
Once your style is defined you can seek out resources to help you further your homeschooling goals.
Do not waste time on something that doesn't fit with your homeschool vision and style!
Read Blogs Critically and Sparingly
This advice is ironic, considering I am a homeschool blogger.
I spend VERY LITTLE time reading homeschool blogs. There are just a few that I read with regularity:
- Amongst Lovely Things
- Simple Homeschool
- Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood
- Pioneer Woman Homeschooling (she's a CC mom!)
Anyone can start a blog and dole out homeschool advice. I like to make sure a blog is well written, visually appealing, and lines up with my values and homeschool methods. Is the person's writing consistent with my vision and goals?
When purchasing any products from a blogger I like to be able to SEE SAMPLES, and have personal recommendations/testimonials on the site.
*Sara Mackenzie's Read Aloud Revival Membership is one of my favorite homeschool resources... it is of such value in our homeschool!
*Tricia Hodges' Chalk Pastel Curriculum is a gem of a resource for art instruction... it is well thought out and written with Tricia's mom - an accomplished artist - doing many of the tutorials.
And of course I am a fan of my music appreciation curriculum, SQUILT. I have been an elementary music teacher, piano teacher, and now I'm a homeschool mom. I have degrees in music education and educational leadership.
SQUILT is my baby - it is my mission to bring you QUALITY music materials that are AFFORDABLE!
Less is MORE
I love that Classical Conversations promotes memory work, a reading program, math program, and that's pretty much it (in the early years). Anything else is GRAVY.
Really, our kids don't need a lot more than that.
You know I'm a fan of containing all of our homeschool resources (at least the BOOKS) to one bookshelf.
A few GOOD resources used consistently are much better than many that you might not even get to in a year (or two!).
If you aren't fairly POSITIVE your child will use and benefit from a curriculum, then DO NOT BUY IT!
Make the librarian your new best friend.
Take advantage of those homeschool friends and co-ops where you can borrow materials before you invest.
Less is MORE!
Attend a Homeschool Convention
This can be a double-edged sword.
You must have A LOT of self control at a homeschool convention (especially the vendor hall), but it is a great place to see resources, spend time looking through them, talk to curriculum authors, and find out what will work for your child(ren).
I discovered the Heroes of History series and bought ten of them at a convention a few years ago. Those books are LOVED and have stuck with both of my children.
I also had a chance to speak at length with a Memoria Press representative in May at a convention, and decided to use First Form Latin with my son. Being able to ask questions and look at the product was SO HELPFUL.
Take advantage of a homeschool convention in your area -- and use my tip: go with a set amount of CASH into the vendor hall. Do not take your credit card!! This way you won't get into trouble and/or buy things you really don't need.