It’s back to school time! And, if you’re new to homeschooling (or even a homeschooling veteran), that also means it’s time to find the right homeschool curriculum for your student. Sounds scary, right? After all, there are plenty of homeschool curriculum publishers out there, each presenting theirs as the best of the best. But that doesn’t mean it will work for your family. Not to worry…Bridgeway Academy is here to help you find exactly what you need to set your child up for a school year full of success! Here’s what to look for when choosing the right homeschool curriculum for your child.
Know Your Child’s Learning Style
This isn’t the case everywhere, but at Bridgeway Academy, one of the first things we ask of new families is that they take our learning style assessment. We can’t stress enough the importance of teaching to your child’s learning style. It is the first key to unlocking your child’s full learning potential. Why? Because everyone learns differently and at different paces. And when a child is taught in a way that isn’t conducive to their style of learning, they grow frustrated and bitter toward school and learning. And that’s the LAST thing we want.
At Bridgeway, our goal is to develop a child’s passion for learning, not stifle it. Because that’s when they begin to love learning. And they love learning when they do so in a way that best suits how they learn, using curriculum and materials tailored to their learning style. Knowing whether your child is a visual (watcher), auditory (listener), or kinesthetic (doer) learner goes a long way toward finding the right homeschool curriculum that best fits those styles. Here’s a breakdown of each style:
- Visual: This type of learning style needs visuals like graphs, photos, and lists.
- Auditory: Hearing is the key for auditory learners. Recorded lectures are a great way for this learner to succeed!
- Kinesthetic: These learners like to use their whole bodies to learn! Incorporating movement into lesson plans helps this learning style student shine.
Knowing your child’s learning styles will help you narrow down curriculum options so you can find one that will help them learn best. You wouldn’t want to choose a textbook-based program for your kinesthetic learner and a program geared toward auditory learners for your visual learner. Try to match the program with your child’s learning styles and it will help your school year go swimmingly.
How Bridgeway can help: Your child’s entire education with Bridgeway Academy is based on their learning styles. And we have programs and curricula that fit every type of learner. Once you take our learning style assessment, an experienced academic advisor will work with you to identify the best curriculum choices based on your child’s learning style. From there, you can create a tailored homeschool year using our wide variety of Homeschool Academy and Homeschool Live programs!
Do Your Research
As a new homeschooler, you may be intimidated by the vast amount of homeschool curriculum choices. That’s why it’s so important to do your research, whether that involves looking at different websites, reading reviews, or talking to other homeschoolers. Narrow down in your mind what you’re looking for and what would be good for your student, especially once you know your child’s learning style. A great place to research curriculum is at CurriculumExpress.com, where they have everything sorted by grade level, subject, and publisher.
A fantastic resource is independent curriculum reviews performed by seasoned homeschoolers and experts who know their way around homeschool curricula. Some of the best include:
- Confessions of a Homeschooler reviews curriculum often. Check out her website and read curriculum reviews on history, math, and more!
- Another great resource is Cathy Duffy Reviews, a premier homeschool curriculum review website where you can browse the thousands of art, science, language arts, and other curricula at your fingertips. She’s been reviewing homeschool curricula for decades, so you know you’re getting the best information possible! Here’s her recent review of our Discover! elementary curriculum!
- The Homeschool Mom is a great resource for homeschoolers of all experience levels. She compiles curriculum reviews from homeschooling families and publishes them on her website. This allows you to see what families just like yours think of the curriculum they use.
- How to Homeschool has curriculum reviews conveniently sorted by topic and subject, which makes finding specific curriculum reviews easy.
- Our friends at Homeschool.com also post informative curriculum reviews.
How Bridgeway can help: Bridgeway Academy doesn’t settle when it comes to homeschool curriculum. We only provide the best of the best! Why? Because we realize that preparing students for the future means laying strong foundations that lead to mastery, building character, and equipping them with critical thinking skills and the ability to navigate change. That’s why our curriculum standards of excellence are designed to ensure both academic and personal success. Our curriculum is:
- Carefully designed and vetted for at-home learning. All of our curriculum is designed, selected, or supplemented with one goal in mind–to provide the best options for at-home learning. We work tirelessly to bring you a high-caliber curriculum you can count on.
- Family-focused. Our academic team takes the time to ensure all curriculum is student-friendly, safe, and family-focused so you can move forward in homeschooling with confidence.
- Designed for independent study. Instruction should be conversational, interest-grabbing, and interactive, which sets the foundation for students to become independent learners. It must also provide ample opportunities to apply learning to life so that students are able to fully process and understand what they are learning.
- Ensures mastery of foundational skills. We recognize that mastery is essential to future success. Therefore, skill-building courses must provide repetition and review as well as frequent and ongoing practice and assessment to ensure every student is ready to take the next step.
- Develops critical thinking and problem-solving. Our curriculum includes instruction and assessments that focus on problem-solving, application to life, global awareness, breadth of thinking, and creativity.
- Includes parent resources/instructor guides. You’ll be happy to know our curriculum and courses come with homeschool-centered parent resources or Bridgeway-grown instructor guides and tools to help you and your child excel.
When looking for an elementary school curriculum that covers all of the above bases, look no further than our Discover! curriculum for grades 1-6! Discover! is specifically crafted to encourage and nurture independent and critical thinking skills in students. Exploration and discovery are built into every lesson, which includes special sidebar activities that provide real-world connections as well as opportunities to review key concepts and skills, dig deeper into topics, and explore beyond the page. Kids choose what fits them as they move through each lesson.
For your peace of mind, fully developed, one-to-one instructor guides make it easy to keep students on pace, create deeper conversations, and provide additional activities and challenges that leverage their unique strengths. With Discover!, you will gain the confidence to educate your children with a curriculum program designed, from the ground up, for the homeschool environment.
Discover! curriculum includes:
- Visually stimulating imagery and friendly content voice that keep the pages turning
- Engaging activities that bring learning from the page to real life
- Easy-to-use and inviting, consistent lesson structure that builds student and parent confidence
- Real-world connections that draw students into the lesson
- Alternative activities and assessments that leverage each child’s unique strengths at the youngest levels
- Creative extras that encourage practice, reflection, and interests
Learn more about Discover! here.
Define Your Teaching Style and Understand Schedules
It’s just as important to have your teaching style in mind as much as your student’s learning style. If math isn’t your strong suit (a struggle many can relate to), and you’re having a hard time explaining math concepts, consider enrolling your child in a full-year mathematics live online class. There are plenty of other amazing ways your student can learn the subjects you’re just not comfortable teaching.
When it comes to a schedule, well…sometimes life can get in the way of homeschooling. So, before you choose a homeschool curriculum, look at the year or semester ahead to determine how much time you’ll have to invest in teaching. If you have a lot of time to spend homeschooling, look for programs that allow you to interact with your kids. If you’re working part-time (or full-time) or involved in multiple activities, it might be a good idea to look into programs that allow your kids to learn independently. Or maybe you should check out live online classes where the teaching and grading are done for you. Trying to do a homeschool program that involves more time than you or your kids have to invest can lead to a rough school year.
Identify Your Student’s Needs and Interests
Including what your student is interested in helps make lessons fun and engaging, and it keeps them wanting to learn. Use your child’s interests to choose the most engaging curriculum and supplementals. If they’re into building or science, it might be worth checking out some STEAM/STEM curricula. Is your child a history lover? Then take a look at some history-specific curricula. Because when your student pursues their passion, they enjoy learning that much more.
On the other hand, if your student struggles with a certain subject, look into curriculum choices that help address those challenges. Do they struggle with numbers and math? (Sorry to pick on you, math…) Then pick a curriculum that breaks down math concepts in an understandable way to help them fully comprehend what they are learning. Or maybe your child truly loves and grasps math. (We made up for it, math!) Look into math curricula that are harder and will challenge him/her. There are hundreds of different curriculum options that cover a wide range of levels; your job is to choose which one will help your child learn best.
Set a Budget
Finally, you need to have a budget in mind when looking for the right homeschool curriculum so you know what to consider and what to walk away from. Because if you don’t, you may wind up on a curriculum shopping spree that melts your credit card. Talk to your family about curriculum needs and wants, then set an amount you can spend without stressing. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a high-quality curriculum.
Deciding on the right homeschool curriculum and courses for your student may seem like a difficult task. But if you follow the steps laid out for you here, you’ll be just fine. And don’t forget…Bridgeway Academy is ready to help! When you enroll with us, we make understanding your child’s learning style a critical first step. From there, you and your academic advisor will be able to make a more informed curriculum selection that sets your child up for success in the classroom. To enroll or to speak with an experienced homeschool curriculum expert, call (800) 863-1474.