Do you know what it’s like to research and study meticulously before purchasing curriculum? If so, you understand how shocking it can be to realize there may be times when you’re simply not able to find what you need for your kids.
Then there are those times when the issue isn’t so much that you can’t find the right homeschool curriculum for your kids. Sometimes the issue lies with your season of life.
You know, those times when all the resources that worked before stop working because life is shifting and your capacity as a teacher and facilitator changes?
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If you’ve been there before – or are currently there – you’re not alone. We’re in the middle of one of those shifting seasons.
We walked into this year without a science option that felt “right” for my 8th grader and found ourselves incredibly grateful that physics is lumped in with his Life of Fred Pre-Algebra book. It’s not what we initially had in mind for 8th grade science, but hey, something is better than nothing, right?
And history? Well, our curriculum choice for American history should have been a perfect fit. We love the publisher and happily recommend it to others, but it wasn’t what we needed while dealing with hurricane evacuation and transitioning back to semi-normal life in our devastated region.
As you can see, between science and history for my 8th grader, this hasn’t been an open-and-go kind of year in our homeschool. In fact, it’s been a year of streamlining and improvising in order to move forward with our learning plans.
5 Ideas for When You Can’t Find the Right Homeschool Curriculum
So, how do you move forward when you can’t find a curriculum that fits your needs?
If you started your year with some sort of curriculum, take a look at your scope and sequence or table of contents. Use that information as starting point for knowing what to cover this year.
That way, should you decide to jump back in to what you originally purchased, you’ve at least covered some of the same ground and you’ll be able to transition back more smoothly.
More specifically, using your original curriculum as a guide for what to cover allows you to stay on track with the scope and sequence even if you decide to cover the topics in a totally different way for a period. That makes things easier on you and your kids!
If you literally can’t find the right homeschool curriculum from the very beginning of your year and don’t have a scope and sequence to turn to, grab a copy of Home Learning Year by Year. It gives suggestions for what to cover and when for preschool through high school.
Once you have ideas on what to cover next, you can rely on these five ideas to keep you on track with your homeschool year:
1. Read… A Lot
It probably sounds like a given, but reading can go a long way in bridging the curriculum gap. You may even find that simply reading the right books helps your student make connections better than any curriculum could.
If you need help knowing what to read during this time, take a look at book lists for your chosen topic (you can find all of my lists here!) or use the following resources to help you along:
- Simply Charlotte Mason’s Bookfinder – This website is organized by grades and topics and provides living book suggestions.
- Jamie Martin’s Give Your Child the World – This book is a great resource for finding reading suggestions that specifically address history, geography, and other cultures. It’s broken down by continent/region and then by age groups within each region’s selections.
- Gladys Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart and Honey for a Teen’s Heart – These are great to have on hand because the reading suggestions are grouped by age and topic.
2. Put Your TV Time to Work
I know it can be hard to believe, but TV time can be a huge help when you can’t find the right homeschool curriculum. By simply searching your preferred streaming options like YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu, you can cover lots of ground.
Need a little help getting started? Take advantage of my Learning Through TV blog series; I’ve done all the work for you there. 🙂
3. Get Hands-On
Hands-on learning opportunities like games, kits, subscription boxes, and in person classes are great ways to press on when you can’t find the right homeschool curriculum.
For example, for science you can use subscription kits like Groovy Lab in a Box or Science Expeditions. If you’re not feeling a subscription is the best solution, consider a kit that covers a specific science topic like Crayola’s Color Chemistry Set, the Magic School Bus Human Body Kit, or a Snap Circuits set for electronics.
You can also look for help with specific topics by seeing what’s available locally. It’s always possible you can bridge the curriculum gap through a co-op class or clubs and events at a local museum or library.
4. Enhance with Field Trips
Along with local co-ops, museums, and libraries, field trips are another great way to move forward with your learning plans when the right curriculum isn’t around.
Look for any typical field trip spots like science centers, zoos, government offices, and historic sites. Spots like TV stations, art galleries, factories, nature centers, and universities can also be fun and really insightful.
Just remember to check all websites for visitor or educator information to be sure you don’t need to make special arrangements in advance or provide your homeschool ID card for admission.
5. Learn Topically Via Unit Studies
Topical units are a great way to keep learning when you can’t find the right curriculum, regardless of the reason! In fact, we’ve added unit studies to sprinkle in more science for my big kid and satisfy my youngest’s desire to incorporate more science into her days. A unit study that combined both kiddos was just what we needed.
These are particularly a good fit for us because, while they’re written for elementary kids, they have extensions in each lesson for middle schoolers. We won’t be able to use these units for the long haul because high school is approaching quickly, but they’ve been a huge help in this season!
All that said, unit studies make it easy to keep learning when you can’t seem to find a comprehensive curriculum that meets your needs.
If you need help finding unit studies, be sure you’re following on Pinterest. I’m always adding new ideas to my Unit Studies board.
One last thing…
Lastly, don’t forget the documentation! Have your kiddo use a simple notebook to journal or narrate what he’s learned. If you’d prefer a documentation option with a little more direction, consider a Notebooking Pages Membership or check out the topical notebooking packs.
In closing, remember that curriculum is just a tool for learning. It’s nice, but not a necessity. You can absolutely forge ahead without it and learn just as much (maybe more) if you’re willing to experiment and take advantage of the learning opportunities available to you.
What about you? Do you have tips or ideas about what to do when you can’t find the right homeschool curriculum? Leave a comment and let us know!