I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

When to Switch and When to Keep Your Curriculum

Written by Jessica.

One of the amazing things about homeschooling today is the vast amount of teaching and learning resources within reach. The homeschool curricula market is a huge one, and the dizzying array of choices reflects that. No matter your teaching style, the needs and abilities of your children, your budget, or what your core values and beliefs are, there is - quite literally - something for everyone. I know that I have logged more hours than I could possibly count reading about and researching curriculum options for every subject, for each of my kids.

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Spoiled for Choice

This abundance of choice can be overwhelming when coupled with the glowing reviews from others. Whether reading blog posts online or talking with fellow homeschoolers in person, a homeschool mom's head can be easily turned by all the clamoring and competing voices.

Have you tried _____ for reading? My kids are excelling with it and testing multiple grade levels ahead!

I wouldn’t teach math without _____! It is amazing and has transformed how we do math!

Did you see what _____ has just come out with for history? We are switching to it this year because it is Just.So.Good!

How do we make sense of all the choices? Should we read every review? Look at every new product? Second-guess every purchase we make? Jump from curriculum to curriculum? Stick with what works?

Not One-Size-Fits-All

Back when I was a classroom teacher, I had to teach with the curricula my school district had chosen and purchased. I could definitely supplement with other materials (and any good classroom teacher will do that) - but the majority of my teaching was done with curricula that I didn’t have a direct hand in choosing. Curricula in traditional schools, for the majority of students, is “one-size-fits-all,” and it doesn’t matter if a curriculum isn’t a good fit for some or if there is something better that could be used.

Avoiding the one-size-fits-all approach to education and being able to customize to the needs and abilities of our children is one reason why many homeschool. This freedom to choose curriculum is all well and good – except when it becomes a hindrance!

Sometimes making sense of the sheer amount of curricula options and weighing the pros and cons of each can be burdensome.

When to Switch Curriculum

There are many very good reasons for changing a particular curriculum. Sometimes all that it takes to make a difference in a school day, or in an entire school year, is to find that “just right” fit.

If you are new to homeschooling, you may find that you need to change curricula more frequently at the beginning of your journey until you gain real-life experience about how your children learn and what kinds of teaching methods work best for your family.

If your child struggles in a particular subject or has a special need, sometimes you'll need to try a variety of curricula until you find the one that meets them where they’re at.

If your children OR you have “the blahs” about a certain subject, sometimes changing curriculum will inject much-needed excitement and interest into that part of your school day.

If you are going through a particularly busy or challenging homeschool year, you may need to switch to something that allows for more independent work from your children or that is less hands-on/activity-based while you’re short on time.

If you homeschool for the long haul, you may find that your original plans need to change. Even your go-to curriculum or publisher that worked well for your family for years, may not work as your children grow older and develop different abilities, needs, and goals.

When to Stick with the Curriculum You Already Have

Just like there are many very good reasons for changing the curriculum, there are just as many reasons for sticking with what you’ve already purchased or already have experience using. Here are a few reasons why it might not be worth switching:

Your curriculum is already working great.

In other words…if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it! After homeschooling for many years now, I see the value more and more in selecting a curriculum that you love and then sticking with it for the long haul. It creates continuity, the learning spirals more naturally year to year, and there is less likely to be gaps in what was taught. Further, I become more experienced using the materials and can tweak or improve upon them. Just because you read or hear about something that sounds fabulous, doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to make a change. If your curriculum is already working well, consider sticking with it!

Someone else is raving about it.

If you are homeschooling, there is little doubt that you have already researched all the different learning styles and educational methods that there are and have chosen curricula for your family based upon that information. If you have done your due diligence in this area, be at peace with your choices. There are lots of different ways that children learn, lots of different theories on education, and lots of curricula to choose from – and no family’s homeschool is ever going to look identical to another’s. Focus on YOUR kids and YOUR family’s needs.

Someone else is succeeding.

Just because a curriculum is working really well for someone else’s family, doesn’t mean that what you’ve chosen for yours isn't working! If you know that you are having success with your curriculum, feel confident about your choices. Don’t waste time being drawn into comparison and second-guessing your already completed decisions.

You don’t have time to switch.

There are some seasons in life (new baby, adoption/foster care, moving, a new pet, health issues, financial struggles, juggling many commitments outside of the home) when changing curriculum may be the last additional thing you need on your plate. Beginning any new curriculum means assembling all your materials and getting familiar enough with it to actually use it. If you are already in an overwhelming season, your time might be better spent using well what you already have. You can always add in small “extras” in the form of supplemental workbooks, worksheets, books, learning games, etc.

You cannot afford to make another purchase.

It can be frustrating when you want to purchase additional or different curricula for your homeschool but you just don’t have the money to do so. This is a time for getting creative, finding free or inexpensive materials online to supplement with, borrowing or making your own materials, and making do with what you have already. Supplemental workbooks, worksheets, books, and learning games can generally be had for free or inexpensively. For example, if you aren’t happy with your math curriculum, rather than scrapping it completely, you can find or make materials specifically targeted to the areas you’re most concerned about (ex. fractions, long division, decimals). In this way, you’re not making a new, major purchase, but just beefing up what you already have.

Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about homeschool curriculum over the years, it’s this: there is always going to be something shiny and new!

The homeschool curricula market will always grow and improve while there is demand.

Fellow homeschoolers will always enthusiastically share what is working for them, whether to benefit others or just because they are excited about it.

By distinguishing between needing/wanted new curriculum, having peace and confidence about the curriculum we’re already using, and identifying when it’s the best time to make a new purchase and when it’s the time to better use what we already have, we can save much time, worry, and energy – and in doing so, better enjoy the homeschool journey we’re on!


  1. Great post with lots of spot on suggestions, whether to keep or change up your curriculum, all in perspective!

    1. You can't always change your curriculum, but you can change your perspective about it.
      Actually, those words can be used for many areas of life.