Why I Keep Using an All-in-one Curriculum After Homeschooling 5 Years

When we first considered homeschooling, we were living in a state which has charter schools that partner with homeschoolers. I thought homeschooling under the umbrella of a charter school was a great way to start our homeschool journey. I'd have someone to hold my hand through the second thoughts and doubts!

Sadly, we moved right before our oldest child's kindergarten year and thus found ourselves on our own in a new state without charter schools.

I still wanted a program that could hold my hand, at least for the first year. Without a charter school option, I was thrilled to discover all-in-one homeschool curriculum options. The program I bought provided the guidance I craved as a new homeschooler. With the help of that curriculum, I started off on the right foot and had confidence I was doing it right!

Fast foward five years. I'm still homeschooling, and—surprise—I still use an all-in-one homeschool curriculum. 

The Homeschool Comparison Game

With such vibrant online and local homeschool communities, it's easy to compare ourselves with others and wonder if we’re doing enough as homeschool parents. These communities are wonderful for inspiration and making connections. However, if we're not careful, comparing ourselves to others in our communities can cause unnecessary worry and stress.

Is an All-in-one Curriculum Cheating? Or Lazy?

After our first year of homeschooling, it felt like I was cheating by continuing to use an all-in-one curriculum. I watched many of my new homeschool friends labor over lesson plans:

  • spending hours putting together the perfect book list for every subject
  • hunting down deals for every book or resource that they couldn't find at the library
  • saving YouTube playlists of supplemental videos
  • juggling and revising yearly, monthly, and weekly assignment schedules

I envied their attention to detail in planning their homeschool year. It sounded like something "real" homeschoolers are supposed to do.

On the other hand, it also sounded tedious and overwhelming. In fact, I absolutely did not want to go through that much work in planning our school year.

I then realized one big difference. Using an all-in-one curriculum didn’t make me a lazy homeschool mom. It didn't mean that I wasn't as dedicated to homeschooling as my friends. It simply meant that I had a different vision for creating a rich experience for my family.

Using an all-in-one curriculum didn’t make me a lazy homeschool mom. It didn't mean that I wasn't as dedicated to homeschooling as my friends. It simply meant that I had a different vision for creating a rich experience for my family.

Our Foundation Frees Me to Plan the Extras

An all-in-one homeschool curriculum gives me a foundation on which to build. That foundation is built by people who have far more knowledge and expertise in crafting an educational program than I have. By using this foundation, I can use my time to plan the extras that create a rich homeschool experience for my kids. I have time to plan field trips, nature adventures, group classes, extracurricular activities, and so on. I have time to follow my kids’ interests and put together activities and projects for them.

Why I Keep Using an All-in-one Curriculum After Homeschooling 5 YearsOur core homeschool subjects are mapped out for us. I don’t have to spend time creating our daily, weekly, or yearly schedules for each subject and then stress if I fall behind in that work. Even though the schedule is done for me, I don't have to strictly follow it. I use it as a guide. I am free to slow down, speed up, or alter it in a way that works best for our family. It's there as a foundation—not as shackles.

Finding Personal Balance Between Homeschool and Life

I believe that all homeschool parents should have their own interests apart from homeschooling. By using an all-in-one curriculum, I have time and energy for other obligations and hobbies:

  • tending my garden
  • teaching gardening classes
  • volunteering
  • managing our family’s finances
  • writing articles for my blog

It’s important that my kids see me doing these things that are for me. They see me learning about things that I’m interested in, troubleshooting problems with my hobbies, and teaching other people. They see that Mom is a person with her own needs and purpose in life—beyond being a mother. 

And they get the advantage of a happy and fulfilled mom who gets to recharge with her hobbies instead of a cranky and burned out mom who spends every free second on homeschooling.

It's okay for the line between homeschool and the rest of life to be blurry, but it's important for us to occasionaly step outside the homeschool parent role and pursue other activities. It's just as important to help our kids do the same, especially as they get older and their interests become more varied and time consuming. Using an all-in-one curriculum frees up my time to help them explore their interests outside of our core subjects.

Just imagine...If you didn't have to put together your curriculum, piece by piece each year, what would you do with the time that you save? What adventures would you go on with your kids? What crazy things might you do when following your kids' interests?

Using an all-in-one curriculum as a veteran homeschooler isn't cheating or being lazy. It's simply using a foundation built by others upon which you can build your own vibrant homeschool experience.

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About the Author

Terri KercabTerri Kurcab is a homeschool mom who lives in Nevada with her husband and their two daughters. Nature has provided the cornerstone of their homeschool journey which began in 2013. National and State park visits, mountain hikes, and outdoor-based learning adventures are what Terri and the girls can be found doing most often. When homeschool is not in session, you can find Terri in the garden or spending time with a good book and a cup of tea. Her blog, Homeschool Gardens, is where she shares her family's homeschool and life journey.

   

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