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Successful Homeschooling, Issue #03 -- Choosing Curriculum
April 09, 2008

As the traditional school year comes to a close, it is time to start making curriculum decisions for the next school year. In addition, many of us are preparing to attend homeschool conventions and curriculum fairs in our states.

In This Issue:

  1. Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum
  2. Navigating a Homeschool Curriculum Fair
  3. Studying Weather
  4. Oops!

Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum


With so many options for homeschooling curriculum, it can be difficult to make a decision. Follow these simple steps to find the right curriculum for your child.

  1. The first step in choosing curriculum is deciding what you want to teach. Will you use formal curriculum for some subjects and not others? Will you combine different aged children in non grade-specific subjects such as science and history? Make a list of your curriculum needs for each child.

  2. The next step to choosing curriculum is understanding your child. Think about your child's learning style, and how you want to teach. This is known as your homeschooling method, and will give you a starting point for choosing curriculum.

    Here are descriptions of different homeschooling methods, along with lists of popular curriculum providers.

  3. Next you will want to obtain details about specific programs. Contact homeschool friends to see if you can take a look at their curricula. View samples online and ask questions on homeschool forums.

    Homeschool curriculum fairs are great places to view materials up close. My favorite place to find suggestions and opinions is

    In coming months, you will have a chance to review your favorite materials here at Successful Homeschooling.

    Navigating a Homeschool Curriculum Fair

    Book Fair
    Last week we registered for our local homeschool curriculum fair. These events are one of my favorite outings, second only to dinner at our local Mexican food restaurant.

    Here is my strategy for navigating homeschool book fairs:

    1. Set a budget for how much you will spend on materials. Bring that amount of money with you in cash to avoid impulse buying and overspending.

    2. Make a list of each child's curriculum needs. Distinguishing between needs and wants can help you prioritize your purchases. For example, you need a math textbook, but that rocket kit you want can probably wait until next year if you run out of money.

    3. Visit the hosts' website to find a list of vendors. Study each vendor's website or catalog to become familiar with their products. Make note of items you want to view and/or purchase, along with any questions you may have.

    4. Search out the lowest price for items that interest you. My favorite online resource for finding new materials at a discount is Rainbow Resource. Some great places to find used books are and local used book sellers, such as Half Price Books.

    5. Turn your notes into a list of the desired product, the lowest price you have found, the location you found that price, and any questions or concerns you have. Put the list in order of priority so you know which vendors to visit first.

      This printable book fair planner will help you with that process.

    6. Take your list with you to the book fair. Make notes on your planning sheet as you talk to vendors so you will have accurate information when making decisions. Ask the vendors if they offer discounts or free shipping if you purchase the day of the fair, and consider these discounts when making price comparisons.

    7. Don't buy under pressure. For two day conferences, spend one day looking and the next day making purchases. For one day fairs, spend the morning looking, and the afternoon making purchases.

    8. Set aside money in your budget for unplanned purchases. I usually find new (and irresistable) products at the event. I also like to bring home treats for the children.

    Here are some additional ways to make the most of a homeschool book fair. Here are some tips for navigating homeschool conventions.

    Studying Weather

    Last month we talked about creating a lifestyle of learning. Spring's changes provide great opportunities for learning through nature. Here are some ideas for studying weather:

    • Track rain fall using a rain gauge. You can buy one like this or build one on your own. Make a chart showing the amounts of rain fall for each day. This is also a great time to study the water cycle.

    • Track changes in temperature using an outdoor thermometer. Record the temperature at a specific time each day. Graph your results to show day to day changes.

    • Observe the wind using chimes, windmills and pinwheels. Expand your study to include information about flying objects, such as kites.

    Spring is also a great time to buy insect kits, such as those offered by Insect Lore.

    Last week, we mailed a coupon to receive caterpillars for our butterfly habitat. I'll document our experiences on my homeschool blog.

    Next month, we'll discuss ways to set up backyard nature habitats. In the meantime, here are some other homeschool science activities.


    After sending the March issue of Successful Homeschooling, I realized it was mistakenly mailed under February's title. If you missed the March newsletter, you can find back issues here. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

    As always, if you have been helped by our website or newsletter, please spread the word via homeschool group, e-mail, website or blog.

    Thank you for subscribing to Successful Homeschooling!

    Enjoy the journey,


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