The best teaching curriculum depends on a number of factors. Some things to consider when choosing a teaching curriculum is how closely it aligns with what you hope to teach. The methods it uses for instruction should be methods you feel comfortable using, and the materials should appear interesting and well designed. A curriculum makes up a great deal of any learning program, so it is important to choose one that you, and your students, will enjoy.
The most important part of choosing a teaching curriculum is choosing one that aligns with what you plan to teach. Each state has its own content standards, and expects certain concepts to be taught to students. Whether you are teaching a classroom or homeschooling one child, it is important to choose a teaching curriculum that meets the content standards for your state. Fortunately, curriculum development companies realize this, and can let you know if their curriculum meets the standards for particular states. Many of the larger curriculum publishers have different versions of textbooks and lesson plans for different states.
The next step in choosing a teaching curriculum is finding one that you are comfortable using. Some curriculums rely heavily on one particular teaching method, such as using phonics to teach reading. Others use a whole-language approach. While both methods are effective ways to teach reading, the one that the teacher is most comfortable using will be the best choice. Other differences in the curriculum may not be as obvious. Some may rely heavily on worksheets, while others rely more on written assignments. Again, one is not necessarily better than the other, but the method must be one that the teacher is comfortable using.
Finally, consider how appealing the teaching material is. With younger children, bright colors and interesting pictures can make learning more interesting, and help hold the interest of the child. Older children often like textbooks that offer sidebars that include related interesting tidbits, particularly in subjects such as science and history. The student does not get to choose the curriculum that is used, but a conscientious teacher will seek out books and study materials that will hold the child's interest.
Many curriculum publishers will provide you with a sample of their curriculum so that you can review it on your own. Take your time to read the content, look at the proposed assignments, and see how closely the testing materials align with your own state's annual standardized testing. It makes sense to invest time initially in choosing a teaching curriculum, because each publisher builds on his or her content from year to year. Making a choice you are happy with once means that you will not have to review curriculum year after year.