How To Use That Curriculum You Purchased

New homeschoolers ask me often, “So what curriculum should I buy?” But homeschooling is really more about HOW to use curriculum than WHICH to buy. 

I’m so happy to be able to share more about HOW to use curriculum in this episode of my podcast!

How to Use Curriculum

Let me start with the caveat. If you’re someone who wants to homeschool WITHOUT a purchased curriculum, you’ll get plenty of ideas about teaching and learning in this episode, too. Creating your own allows for optimum flexibility. And it’s actually easier than you think. Keep on reading!

When my family first started homeschooling in the 1990s, there were no Waldorf-inspired homeschooling curriculum available for purchase, believe it or not! Nowadays, we seem to have the opposite problem. Too many options.

Here are two key takeaways from this episode:

  1. It really doesn’t matter which curriculum you purchase. 
  2. There’s truly no such thing as “open and go” curriculum.

What Is Curriculum Anyway?

There are actually several components to consider here.

  • The curriculum you purchase: This is how we most often think of curriculum. It’s the ink on paper curriculum. 
  • The curriculum you plan: The “open and go” curriculum is a myth of sorts. We must always  look at the materials, whether we’ve purchased or prepared our curriculum, and make adjustments for our daily and weekly planning. 
  • The curriculum you teach: What is actually taught on any given day.
  • The curriculum that is learned: What your child or children take from the experiences and ideas you’ve offered them.

The idea of curriculum is multilayered. And there’s  certainly a lot going on AFTER we’ve purchased or planned the curriculum for our children. Teaching and learning are dynamic.

So, if our end goal is for our children to grow and develop certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes, it helps to see that the ink-on-paper curriculum is really just the beginning of the dynamic process of homeschooling, of teaching and learning. 

I think this is an important distinction to make whenever we talk about curriculum.  We can clearly see that it’s really not about what you buy, but rather, how you use it. 

It’s our highest calling and our job to look at our children, and bring them what they need.

How to Use That Curriculum You Purchased

Here they are…

My tips for how to use that curriculum you purchased:

  • Use it as a resource or reference book.
  • Use it as a model to put together your own blocks or units of study.
  • Use it to learn homeschooling techniques

The two most important skills we can learn as home educators are: the skill of flexibility and the skill of observation. 

Remember, curriculum is multilayered and dynamic. It is ever changing as our children grow and change. And it’s not about teaching our kids to “know about” things. Rather, it’s about designing experiences and inviting our children in. So that we can cultivate creativity, curiosity, and connection!

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ~ William Butler Yeats

You May Also Enjoy…

  • Here you’ll find encouragement and tips to jump in to your homeschooling lessons with bravery and confidence, rather than endlessly searching for ideas: It’s More Important to Be Present Than Perfect. 
  • Interested in learning how to use and customize curriculum in more depth,  with coaching and community support? Come join me and a wonderful group of homeschooling parents inside Inspired at Home. This monthly membership is chock full of masterclasses, weekly group coaching calls, community and accountability – all to help you improve your homeschooling skills in the midst of life with your family and children.

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How to Use That Curriculum You Purchased



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  1. For those that want to experiment with making their own curriculum, but feel like they could benefit from some of the things that a purchased curriculum offers (like getting ideas for ways to teach), I’ve found that most curriculums offer some kind of downloadable free lesson as a sample. It’s extremely helpful for figuring out whether or not the full curriculum will be a good fit for your family, and it’s also a great way to get a couple of new ideas for without making a big investment.

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