Don't Let Decision Fatigue Lead to Bad Curriculum Choices

succulent plants overlap in a random pattern
  • What’s for breakfast?
  • What should I wear today?
  • Where are my car keys?
  • What should we do today?
  • Do you want to sign up for Scout Mom?
  • What are we getting the kids for Christmas?

Decision fatigue is a real thing. When you consider that we moms get the above questions 30 times per hour, there’s no debate that our brains are tapped out, and we cannot make another decision. As they say, "I can’t even."

What is decision fatigue?

I’m going to take a guess that you probably have this because you’re probably a mom and you probably homeschool. It’s that feeling when we’re the waiter at a restaurant asks us if we would like more water, and we freeze because we have no idea.

With all that is in us, we cannot answer a simple yes or no questions. Our brain is stressed out. If anyone asks us to make any more decisions, we are may curl into a ball and hide in the closet.

Why decision fatigue leads to bad curriculum choices

Our homeschool days are affected by our decisions. Unfortunately when we are overwhelmed, we make hasty decisions that are often poor ones. 

When we choose curriculum, there is so much to think about:

If we have multiple kids, take all those decisions and multiply them times the number of kids. Soon we throw in the towel and use all the same curriculum that we’ve always used even if it’s not working for our children because changing seems too overwhelming.

Or we make an impetuous decision, seeing a curriculum with a pretty cover and press order, not even realizing what we’ve just bought. Please tell me I’m not the only one that’s gotten a box of curriculum in the mail that I didn’t even really remember ordering! I just knew we needed spelling books so I clicked one.

How to avoid bad curriculum choices

It’s true there are so many choices of curriculum out there, and most of them are truly amazing products. We need to be smart about the choices we’re making and think about how we’re spending our money. Here are a few ways we can do this.

Stick with the tried and trues.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? Be open-minded, but if something is working really well for you and your kids, just stick with it. Don’t be too swayed by the next best thing in the homeschool world.

Let your children help you make decisions.

The beautiful thing about homeschooling is we don’t need approval from a school board. That’s awesome! But sometimes it’s nice to have a little back and forth with your kids about what curriculum you’re using everyday. If they are absolutely hating something, you might need to follow their lead and find something new.Have a meeting and talk about options and take note of their opinions.

Limit your choices.

Stick with companies you know and trust to limit your choices. Don’t feel like you’re stuck with only these choices though, broaden your search if you’re not finding what you like.

Take your time.

You are the homeschool mom and you make the decisions. Don’t let the calendar or the public school system or what other homeschoolers are doing make you feel hurried. Take your time in picking what curriculum you use. Hasty decisions could lead to a waste of time and money.

Ditch all curriculum for a while.

Sometimes it’s ok to just do your own thing for a while. Skip the math books altogether and print fact sheets off the internet for a while or have your kids play store and make change for their lessons. It’s ok to do this for a while if you need a breather from your current curriculum or if you need more time to choose.

Other ways to save your brain

Don't Let Decision Fatigue Lead to Bad Curriculum ChoicesChoosing curriculum is just one of many things we have to make decisions about. Our meals, what we wear, how to prioritize each day--these are all happening every day! But there are easy ways we can save our brain power for more important choices.

Have a streamlined menu.

Make pastas on Mondays, Mexican on Tuesdays, soups on Wednesdays, etc. to help you not have to make many decisions. Your menu is practically planned for you.

Choose your outfits a week at a time.

On Sunday nights, set out clothes for each day of the week for yourself. This will save you time standing in front of the closet wondering what to wear.

Have one errand day.

Try to do all your running around on one day. Gather what you’ll need in your car during the week, like library books and things to return and you’ll be all ready to go on errand day.

Have an evening checklist that you follow religiously.

Each night, make your coffee for the next morning, set out your clothes, set out the breakfast dishes, and make your to do list. You’ll wake up feeling like your personal assistant got everything ready for your morning.

When people say they have mom brain, decision fatigue is part of what they mean. They’re overloaded with having to make decisions. Don’t let brain drain have a negative effect on your homeschool. Take your time, don’t freak out, simplify where you can, and choose wisely.

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About the Author

AliciaAlicia Hutchinson is the homeschooling mom to four.  She and her children love reading and history and exploring outside. They are just settling into their new home in the Minneapolis area, where they just relocated from North Carolina.

You can read more about Alicia and their homeschooling adventures, current projects, and thoughts on motherhood at her blog living well + learning well..