The Siren Call of Curriculum Catalogs

Have the curriculum catalogs starting filling up your mailbox yet?

I like catalogs; it’s fun to look at what’s new and different, or what I’ve seen before but might be more applicable or interesting as my kids have gotten older. I usually browse through the catalogs, dog-ear some pages, and check out a few products more thoroughly online.

I don’t need all-the-things. But I sure do like them.

resisting the siren call of curriculum

Now that I’ve been doing the homeschool thing for 8+ years, I’ve learned that I really do NOT need all-the-things.

However, all-the-things look so lovely in the catalogs. All those glowing reviews. {sigh} And wouldn’t it be nice to just have it all planned and I could just check all the little boxes as we go? I could keep track of all those checked boxes in a pretty little organized homeschool mom binder, and record-keeping would be so easy. Have I mentioned how much I like lists? And organization? And binders?

Lists and check-boxes and detailed plans are perfectly wonderful and perfectly perfect for some families. But over the years, we’ve learned that’s not what works best for us. Relaxed interest-led learning that sometimes borders on unschooling is what works for us. Which means I don’t need such detailed plans and lists. {I do use a binder for all my homeschool mom-ish stuff and record-keeping, etc; I just don’t need to refer to it every day.}

You are the educational expert in your home.

Here’s my point, friends: YOU know what’s right for your family. Let homeschooling friends and groups and bloggers inspire and encourage you — but don’t fall into the comparison trap. Use those curriculum catalogs as a resource — but don’t change what works for your homeschool just because it looks so great in the catalog.

You are the expert in your homeschool. You are the best person to parent your children. You are the one who is up close and personal with your kids. You know what works for this season of life for your family. No one knows those things better than you do. So seek wisdom from above, study your kids, and do what works in your home. Period. {Preaching to myself here, too!}

sticky note

Now write that down on a sticky note and slap it on your notebook for when you start homeschool planning!

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Such a great post! I love the shiny catalogs, too. Sometimes I go through them and circle things as if they are toys I want for Christmas. Then, at the end of it all. I make myself throw them away. 😉

Amy Stults

This is perfect timing. We received a big fat science catalog from Nasco yesterday and are trying to refrain from going crazy!

Christine B.

Oh…what a well timed post. I just love searching curriculum, and flipping thru those catalogs. Perhaps I am a bit of a curriculum junkie-ha! Thanks for the reminder that I need to be a bit more grounded in what works best for MY family.

Chandra Regan

I totally agree with you! That’s what I love about homeschooling…we can tailor the learning to our kids and don’t have to push them into any boxes. This coming year I have created my own curriculum for two subjects: art (which will include projects as well as learning about art history) and Thailand History/Geography/Religion. I want my daughter to learn all about her homeland country. Although she lived there for 13 years of her life, they didn’t really learn much about Thailand in school. So excited to do something new and fun, which she’d never get to learn at public… Read more »

Karin Katherine

This was so timely! And true! Oh how I love the catalogs. I file them like books and revel in circling with my sharpie marker but you don’t need it all. That’s true. Let’s not talk about all I have purchased and never used—or the things I purchased for 3 grade levels ahead of where my kids are…ya know for when they are at that grade level. Because what if they don’t have it anymore? Or whatever reason I used to justify purchasing something 3 grade levels ahead of where my kids were. I haven’t met a homeschool mama yet… Read more »

Lady Lilith

I so agree with you. There is no one and nothing better then a parent. Although I send my girls to school for socialization, when they come home, I do the real academic education.
There is nothing like a parent when it comes to knowing what is best for the kids.