Just when I was beginning to understand the different choices open to me, I attended a homeschool convention/curriculum fair. WOW. I attended many workshops at the fair and gleaned a ton of valuable information, but also heard that there are actually homeschool moms who put together their OWN school materials! And other moms who don't use ANY CURRICULUM AT ALL! This was the first I had heard of this, and it sounded wonderful, but I just wasn't ready.
To allay my insecurities I purchased a complete packaged curriculum. As we worked through the year (and as God worked on ME!), I began to gain confidence and was able to eliminate or add materials according to what worked for my kids. The company I chose provided a nice little schedule to work from each day, but actually encouraged users to view the schedule as a guide only, and customize it for their family's needs. As the year progressed, I found myself relaxing with the schedule and not seeing it as a binding law.
Because my children thrived on the program we used, we are using it again this year. I still like having that daily schedule as a safety net! However, I have found to my astonishment that my children actually prefer a workbook for grammar and spelling, even though they HATE workbooks as a general rule! I have made that change and I am (gasp!) planning my own writing assignments. This type of mixing and matching materials is called Eclectic Homeschooling, sort of a "Cafeteria Plan" approach to your homeschool curriculum.
If you are comfortable with making your own curriculum from available materials, or you're a Super School Mom who can make ANYTHING into curriculum, wonderful!!!! But, if you are like me and are too insecure to start without a gameplan, then please be VERY(!!) careful about choosing your pre-packaged plan. A good schedule allows room for flexibility. I was fortunate in my choice, but I knew another new homeschool mom who chose a curriculum that made her feel like a slave to her daily schedule. She quickly burned out, and as a result she is sending her children back to the public school this year : (.
The links on this page will show you some of the options that are available to you for your children's education. If you aren't sure about a particular curriculum, you can get a second opinion by clicking here:
Homeschool Reviews Online: Curriculum Reviews