If you homeschool for any length of time, you’ll inevitably struggle with the idea that a fresh curriculum might be better for you and your child even if you are having no problems with your current curriculum! That maxim about the grass appearing greener on the other side of the fence can apply to homeshool too.
Why We Chose BookShark Homeschool Curriculum
My oldest loves history and reading, and we chose BookShark for that exact reason. While using BookShark, my son received a strong historical overview of the time period that we were studying, but he also got plenty of excellent historical fiction related to the events he was studying in history.
Each day, he spent time in his room reading on his own. Later in the afternoon, after my youngest two were done schooling, my son and I read our current read aloud together. Sometimes even the younger kids listened in, asking questions and commenting on the book. BookShark fit our family perfectly, and we all enjoyed it.
The Temptation to Switch Curriculum
However, our family doesn’t live in a homeschooling bubble. Catalogs from various publishers come in the mail, and I often read other homeschool moms raving online about different science or history programs. Unlike years ago, today there are a myriad of curriculum options for a homeschooler.
Last summer, when I was reading a book about homeschooling high schoolers, I saw mention of a curriculum I’d never heard of before. Like any good homeschooling parent, I hopped on the computer to research this company.
It sounded like such a great program! There was a lot of history, perhaps even more than BookShark programs because this alternative included more non-fiction along with their list of historical fiction. I contemplated buying this curriculum for a while before I finally took the plunge.
Within two weeks of using this alternative homeschool program, my son and I both knew I had made a huge mistake!
Why We’re Back to BookShark
True, the other curriculum did win high points with us for the interesting non-fiction selections that gave my son an even deeper knowledge of history. But honestly, that was the only advantage this curriculum had over BookShark.
We missed so many features of BookShark!
As a teacher, I missed BookShark’s easy all-in-one, open-and-go format. With the other curriculum, I had to spend ninety minutes to three hours every weekend, choosing my son’s assignments and laying out a schedule for him for the week. I didn’t have time for that! With BookShark's Instructor's Guides, I could simply glance at what was coming up for the next week. Prep took almost no time.
Both my son and I also missed the questions BookShark includes at the end of each reading. The other curriculum didn’t have that and instead relied on students doing projects or lapbooks to show their comprehension — neither of which my son enjoyed. While BookShark has projects and lap books, they are optional add-ons and not essential to the program.
We missed the historical fiction in BookShark. Because the other curriculum was so heavy on non-fiction, there were fewer novels to read. While my son loves history, he also loves reading fiction, and he really missed the quality fiction books he was reading with BookShark.
After only two weeks, we set aside the other curriculum and are happily back to BookShark. Now, though I may still get catalogs and read others’ comments online, I can rest assured that BookShark is the best curriculum for us.
About the Author
Melissa is a homeschool mom to three kids. BookShark is her primary curriculum, and she and her kids love it! When she's not homeschooling, she's either shuttling kids from one activity to another or working from home as a freelance writer. You can read more about Melissa's homeschool journey at her blog Moms Plans.