When do you start planning next year’s curriculum list? Right about now. We’re about halfway through the school year, a bit more, and I have a pretty good idea of what is working and what we’ll need to change.
If something is working for my children, I know that I’ll just be using the next level next year which is easy peasy. It’s those subjects that we’re having issues with where I have to spend some more time thinking it through.
When I first started homeschooling, I’d spend hours researching new curriculum, like a kid in an online candy store. There are so many choices now for each subject, it makes it a lot more difficult to narrow down your choices.
Once March comes around I start thinking about what I’d like to use for next year. Why? I try to buy everything I can use before I buy new.
This means I scour the internet looking for used books. This does make purchasing curriculum more labor intensive but I have to, in order to make our homeschool budget work.
I’ve spent far too much time on homeschool forums so I have a good idea of what is available. I have favorite vendors so I know who to turn to when I need help.
What is my thought process?
I take a look at how my child is doing in each subject.
- What has my child learned so far?
- Is he retaining what he has learned?
- Can I tweak the curriculum to make it work?
- Is my child enjoying and learning from it?
If I am not satisfied with the current curriculum, I need to look for something else for us to use next year. I may finish the year with the current program or use a supplementary program for the rest of the year depending on how it is going with the current one.
I then take a look at the books I already have, can I use it with this child? Can I tweak it so it will work? I do this for each subject.
If I can’t then I need to purchase something. I have a list where I have the prices of each item priced at what it would be new, that way when I’m looking I know I start making purchases in March and April since we get our tax return at this time. I am able to delegate some of that money to homeschool curriculum without straining our finances.
I try to purchase everything by June, over the summer I find the homeschoolers are not as active on forums and used sale boards. If I need to buy new material I make all my purchases in August so that I have time to plan before we start the new year in September.
Buying used curriculum is more work and definitely takes more time, with possibly more headaches if you run into the wrong seller. However, I’ve only had one instance where I lost contact with a seller and PayPal refunded my money. The savings that I get from purchasing used materials than new are worth it to me.