What is your lifestyle? This is the very first thing you need to ask yourself. Your family's lifestyle will have a great deal to do with which choices may be best. If you like to be on the go, certain curriculum choices will not work with that. For instance, if the materials are not very portable, you're going to have a big problem. If you choose an online curriculum, you need to have Internet access at all times, even when you leave the house. An active family might benefit from free schooling or unschooling. Designing the curriculum yourself can be beneficial with many lifestyles, as it's customizable. However, some people may not have the time needed to fully commit to this. Be sure to consider your family's lifestyle and habits when you make your decision.
Can you commit to this plan all year long? Unless you are an experienced writer, you probably cannot write your child's entire curriculum at the beginning of the year. You'll probably need to do it in segments year-round. Can you commit to this? Will you? You may be feeling ambitious at the moment. But if you have a habit of starting major projects that don't get finished, this may not be the best method for you. However, if you're known to plow ahead even through tough projects, writing your child's own curriculum might work for you.
Do you know the state standards? This is extremely important when writing your child's lessons yourself. You should know what the standards are for the area you live in. You can find those out by by checking with the Department of Education in your state and also by checking to see if your state has adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) does not support having a national system like this. However, since it has been adopted, it is wise to follow at least the core standards. Depending on your state, it could also be the law to follow them. The HSLDA has a handy list to help you figure out what the legalities of homeschooling are in your state.
Is there a better option? When choosing between writing your child's curriculum or other methods, be sure you are making the correct decision. In some cases, a curriculum customized and written by the parent may be the best choice. In other cases, the child may learn more effectively another way. Weigh all your options and make the choice based both on your child's needs, as well as your ability to effectively teach your child using that option. There are ways to customize your child's education (such as combining materials) without having to develop an entire curriculum yourself.
Does this actually work? As someone who has used this method before, I know firsthand that it can definitely work for the right family. However, be prepared to be fully committed and very busy. If weighing all the options doesn't scare you away and it sounds like something that will fit your family's lifestyle, then go for it. If it doesn't work out, you can always move on to the next method. While writing the curriculum myself was a great option, because I also write for a living, I found that in order to have more time with my kids, it wasn't the best option for us. I would be spending entirely too much time writing. While I still write lessons and design games for them on occasion, I no longer do it full time.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network