Once the decision to homeschool has been made, the next big decision is HOW to do it. I'm always a little hesitant to answer that because what works for one family doesn't always work for another. I could never be an unschooler like the mother I posted about yesterday for example. We each have different goals and situations that will direct our choices. But curriculum is a big concern. We don't want to waste our money or time making unwise purchases that will frustrate us or our children. So with that in mind, here's how I view the curriculum options that are available.
I love soup. Making it and eating eat. So I will use soup as an analogy to describe the options available.
Canned Soup. This is the pre-packaged curriculum that comes complete in a box. It has all the essential nutrients necessary to teach your children but lacks some of the flavor. There is minimal preparation involved. All the preparation has been done. Just heat and eat. There are seasons of life where it is just nice to reach on a shelf and get something that does the job. Function over flavor without some flexibility.
Soup Starter. This is the unit study approach. You want a good curriculum with some flavor but you need a boost to getting things going. With a unit study approach you get the main ideas from others but you must supply the meat and potatoes. This is a bit more flavorful than canned soup but will require you to do a little more preparation and planning. There is a little more flavor than canned soup but your also putting in more effort.
Homemade Organic Soup. This is the unschooling approach. Without a doubt, home grown, homemade has freshest ingredients. Just as in organic gardening you are willing to grow things up naturally to get them. That means you supply plenty of time for your child and create an environment where learning takes place naturally. This soup tastes great and is full of flavor. But just watching the soup simmer is difficult for some parents. And even a soup that simmers can get burned if left alone too long.
I realize that no analogy is perfect. Neither is this one. But it does help me in different seasons of my homeschool journey I have used each of these three different methods to prepare my children. And I have done different things with different children. That is the blessing of home educating. Just as there is no one right way to prepare soup there is no right way to educate.
But just as with any meal...it is always best to to seek the hand of the creator of the food. Ask HIM to direct your path and be content with the pot of soup HE gives you to tend to.