Hello, homeschooling friend! This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you an Art of Homeschooling Classic from the archives. As you consider your curriculum options, gather resources, and start to lay out your homeschool lessons for the fall, you might be wondering, “Can I create my OWN homeschool curriculum?”

Yes, you CAN!

You can create your own homeschool curriculum to meet the needs of your kiddos and your family rather than purchasing a curriculum package that you might end up using only part of, or even abandoning halfway through the year.

You can also customize the curriculum resources you already have on your shelf to build a homeschool plan that’s just right for you and your kiddos.

This episode will help you develop an understanding of what curriculum is exactly, and help you wrap your mind around the idea of building your own curriculum. So you can feel confident and take the lead on your homeschooling journey.

Enjoy this Art of Homeschooling Classic! And be sure to skim the highlights below for updated links and suggested resources.

We ALL Start with Buying a Curriculum

Like so many other homeschoolers, I started off my homeschooling journey by buying a curriculum.

The curriculum box arrived and I eagerly dove in. And, I realized almost right away that what I had purchased was not as “open and go” as I thought it would be.

I worked hard to prepare, but we fell behind a day or two here and there. Then after a few weeks, we fell behind even more. And I ended up feeling like we were never going to finish it all!!!

There were meltdowns from everyone and I just felt like something was wrong with me. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this homeschooling gig.

And before ya know it, I was researching curriculum again! Ugh!

I know I’m not alone, right?!!

So this is when I started to consider that maybe I could homeschool without a curriculum.

The first step on my journey was to really consider what curriculum is. That’s such a good question, isn’t it?

How I Define Curriculum

We usually think of curriculum as a package or binder we purchase to teach a specific grade.

But there are several deeper levels to the idea of curriculum that are important to understand as you begin to explore creating your own curriculum and crafting your own homeschool lessons.

Here are four different ways of thinking about curriculum:

  • Planned curriculum: This is the one you buy OR the one you write for yourself. The plan on the paper for each month, week, or day.
  • Taught curriculum: This consists of the interactions between you and your child and the learning content. It’s what you bring to your child in the moment of teaching and learning.
  • Emergent curriculum: Here’s a newer pedagogical term that I’m fascinated with! This is really a whole philosophy of teaching that encourages being responsive to a child’s interests and needs and adjusting as you go. I think this is what many homeschoolers are aiming for. As we all know, life is fluid and dynamic and teachers rarely teach exactly what’s planned ~ no matter what setting they’re in.
  • Learned curriculum: This is the most important element of the curriculum because this is what matters the most! It’s what the children truly absorb from what we teach and from the learning experiences. It’s also the trickiest because it’s often hard to measure what a child takes from the lessons we teach. We often don’t know what they retain from the lessons and activities. This is yet another reason that learning is quite mysterious and magical!

How to Create Your OWN Homeschool Curriculum

I’ve worked with many, many homeschoolers and I’ve observed that most homeschoolers only use about 30% to 75% of their purchased curriculum material.

Back when I was homeschooling, resources for homeschoolers ~ especially Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers ~ were scarce! Whereas today, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and there are so many curricula and resources to choose from. Almost too many!

Here are a few tips to consider when purchasing, customizing, or creating your own homeschool curriculum:

  • Find your own path and make the teaching and learning fit your journey.
  • Be the leader of your homeschool as you learn your own way of bringing the learning alive for your children. Your own way of planning, engaging, and enjoying your homeschool life. Make the journey your own!
  • Give yourself permission to change things as you go along, keeping in mind that the most important curriculum is the learned curriculum. Start with that in mind and work backward.
  • Use the curriculum as guidance. Or, as an example of how someone else taught a certain subject, block, or grade. Experienced homeschoolers can give you similar guidance. But you decide what will work for your children.
  • Remember that the children themselves are the curriculum. As homeschoolers, we are in the perfect position to look at our children and discern what they need each day and each lesson.

And before you even open that curriculum package, empower yourself to make the decisions that are best for you, your family, and your children.

Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves.”


Be the Leader of Your Homeschooling Journey

No matter what curriculum package or resources you own, choose to purchase, or create, you are the leader in your homeschool.

You will find your way and grow over time. 💜

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” 


Support for Your Homeschooling Journey

If you want support along the way, check out the Inspired at Home community where you’ll find courses, coaching, and community to help you build a homeschool life you love that’s simple, inspiring, and doable.

I find that if you start with detailed block planning or simply following a curriculum as is before you create your own framework or overarching plan, you reach for too many resources or tend to overthink everything.” 

~Testimonial for the art of homeschooling’s plan it out course

Inside Inspired at Home, there’s a treasure trove of over 40 masterclasses including Plan It Out, my signature course for planning an awesome homeschooling year without needing to purchase expensive curriculum.

More to Explore from the Art of Homeschooling

  • Check out Episode #54 all about how to customize your homeschool curriculum and invite more engagement if you’re interested in tips for bringing more hands-on learning no matter what curriculum you’re using.
  • If you want to embrace the fact that there’s really no open-and-go curriculum, have a listen to Episode #51 so you can discover what to do instead.
  • And if you need tips on how to use the curriculum you purchased, check out Episode #28 where I remind you that the two most important skills we can learn as home educators are the skill of flexibility and the skill of observation. 

Rate & Review the Podcast

If the Art of Homeschooling Podcast has inspired you, I’d LOVE it if you could rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast player! Reviews can be left on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Podcast Addict, or Stitcher.

Or simply pop on over to lovethepodcast.com/artofhomeschooling and choose where you want to leave your review.

And if you want to show your appreciation for the Art of Homeschooling Podcast, you can buy me a cup of tea!

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