Monday, January 13, 2014

What Homeschool Books Should I Buy?

One of the benefits of homeschooling is having the ability to choose your own homeschool books. When shopping for homeschool books, you have to decide whether you want to buy a pre-designed curriculum set, or if you want to piece your own curriculum together by purchasing individual books. There are pros and cons to both choices, and while one choice may be perfect for one family, that same choice may not be good for yours. It’s important to have a clear picture of both your goals and your available resources.  

Benefits of Pre-designed Homeschool Curriculums

  1. Time: Picking out individual homeschool books for each and every subject that you want to teach is a giant time sink. It’s even worse if you aren’t really sure what you are looking for. Some parents may have a specific idea, such as wanting to use Singapore Math as their core math system. Knowing what you want helps you target your search. If you are unsure, choosing individual books can be exhausting and discouraging

 2. Money: With some comparison shopping, you can find some very reasonable rates on pre-assembled curriculums. Buying a bundle of homeschool books is usually cheaper than buying individual books from different programs.

Negatives of Buying Pre-designed Homeschool Curriculums

  1. Lack of Customization: You may not be able to get exactly what you want. If one subject of the whole package doesn’t fit your philosophy, or is not the right material for your child, you may have to supplement the package with extra material. This can make be an extra expense.

 2. Difficult to Change: If after you start using the materials, and you find they are not what you expected, it can be a very big problem trying to change books mid-level. Replacing an entire curriculum can set you back loads of money, and it can set back your child’s learning.

Benefits of Buying Itemized Curriculums

  1. Customization: You have the ability to design the program exactly how you want to. You can buy or create materials such as workbooks or reading books that fit your family’s beliefs, and you can make sure each book lends itself to your child’s strengths.

 2. Adaptability: If something is not going well, it’s easier to change directions. You are not stuck in a pre-established system, and you can alter your materials much easier.

Negatives of Itemized Homeschool Books

  Basically, the opposite of the positives. It’s time consuming and expensive. It also requires more experience than buying a whole set does, because you need to know what you are looking for. As you can see, there is no universal answer for what is best when you are looking at which homeschool books to use. One family may have limited financial resource compared to another which will weigh in their decision making process. Another family may have a parent with lots of experience in purchasing homeschool supplies compared to a new family. Whatever you choose, you have to make sure it’s the correct decision for your family, not for everyone elses. Be sure to do plenty of research, and remember, whatever you choose, you can always enhance the core set with supplementary material.