Simple Tips for Modifying Your Homeschool Curriculum

boy reading a book
Getty Images

Choosing homeschool curriculum can be a process of trial and error. Sometimes, despite our best research, it becomes clear that it’s time to make a curriculum change.

Unfortunately, changing homeschool curriculum can be expensive. What do you do if it’s clear that the curriculum you’re using isn’t working for your family, but you can’t afford to purchase all new materials right now?

There are some options.

You may wish to seek out inexpensive or free homeschool resources to fill in the gap until you can afford to purchase new materials or you might try creating your own homeschool curriculum or planning your own unit studies.

Another viable option is one that many homeschooling families use regularly, even with curriculum they love: tweaking.

Tweaking homeschool curriculum just means that you’re using the curriculum as a guide, but adding the personal touches that make it more useful and enjoyable for your family.

If you’re stuck with some curriculum choices that clearly aren’t working, try some of the following ideas:

Include more hands-on activities

If you’ve got kinesthetic learners, you may need to include more active learning to add some zip to an otherwise dull curriculum. There are many simple ways to add hands-on learning activities to your homeschool day. 

You could:

  • Build models instead of labeling a diagram in a book
  • Take a field trip
  • Create a 3D map instead of labeling an outline
  • Go outside for nature study instead of just reading about plants and animals
  • Act out your history lesson, complete with costumes
  • Prepare a meal from the country or historical period that you’re studying

Engaging all the senses through hands-on activities can be a fantastic way to add life to a boring curriculum.

Add quality literature

When I was in school, I thought history was incredibly boring, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! History is fascinating – when it’s taught the right way. Why memorize boring names, dates, and places when you can read the stories? Try historical fiction, captivating biographies, and engaging period literature.

It’s not only history that can be enhanced by good books. Read biographies about famous scientists or inventors. Read math story books that make abstract concepts more meaningful.

The stories of the people, places, and events that make up the topics your kids are studying can add meaning and passion to a watered-down synopsis.

Use videos and other digital media

Kids are captivated by screens these days, so it makes sense to capitalize on that. Visit your local library to check out videos and documentaries related to the topics you’re studying. If you have them, utilize membership sites such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

YouTube can also be an excellent source of information. My teens have enjoyed many of the Crash Course videos. (You may want to preview these as they sometimes contain course language and questionable humor.)

There are also countless apps that may make topics more relatable through the use of games and virtual experiences, such as virtual dissections or virtual chemical reactions.

Modify the curriculum

It’s okay to use as much of the curriculum as you can and to modify it to meet your needs. For example, if you’ve purchased an all-inclusive curriculum and you like everything except the science portion, try something else for science.

Maybe you don’t mind the writing assignments, but the topics are boring. Let your child choose a different topic. If your math curriculum is confusing to your child, look for different methods (including hands-on math activities) for teaching the same concepts.

If the curriculum includes lots of written reports that your child finds tedious, let him sum up the same ideas with an oral presentation or by blogging or creating a video about it.

When you discover that your chosen curriculum isn’t a good fit, but you really can’t afford to replace it, tweaking it to suit your family’s needs may get you by until you can afford to make the switch – and you may discover that you really don’t need to completely change after all.

 

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Bales, Kris. "Simple Tips for Modifying Your Homeschool Curriculum." ThoughtCo, Feb. 4, 2016, thoughtco.com/tips-for-modifying-homeschool-curriculum-3572229. Bales, Kris. (2016, February 4). Simple Tips for Modifying Your Homeschool Curriculum. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-for-modifying-homeschool-curriculum-3572229 Bales, Kris. "Simple Tips for Modifying Your Homeschool Curriculum." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-for-modifying-homeschool-curriculum-3572229 (accessed November 19, 2017).