I started out here reminiscing about how homeschoolers used to depend on in-print curriculum reviews, but that there weren't so many of them that you couldn't make a reasonable choice; especially on a tight budget. And now the sky seems to be the limit.
also pointed out that if you got stuck choosing, you might find at least temporary help by plugging in to pre-written booklists and schedules. Which aren't at all bad things, and they're certainly better than (like the Duchess) throwing everything in the bowl and hoping for the best.
Madeleine, Gwendolyn, Jane and Clothilde,Choosing and using is not really such a mystery. You just need to follow sound educational principles and, so to speak, write your own recipe but don't let it send you up on a sky-high mountain of cake batter. And I warn you that, as soon as you beckon them, hordes of Principles, Systems, and Methods, right, wrong, beautiful, silly, contradictory, and time-wasting ones, will immediately swarm your castle and beg admittance.
Caroline, Genevieve, Maude and Mathilde,
Willibald, Guinevere, Joan and Brunhilde,
And the youngest of all was the baby, Gunhilde...what was I saying...oh yes, as Peg Bracken said, then you are "for it."
But as Charlotte Mason said, it's up to you which ideas you choose to let through the gates. Invite the good ones in, and drop the portcullis on the rest.
what Ray Bradbury said in Fahrenheit 451, that it wasn't really necessary to make books illegal, because most people had already stopped reading, didn't care anyway? You don't have to bite people's cell phones in half to make your point; reading for knowledge, and going beyond the elementary reading stage (see How to Read a Book), is a little less hard on the orthodontics. Search for treasures, and don't limit the search to "children's areas."
i. Natural obstacles for physical contention, climbing, swimming, walking, etc.
ii. Material to work in––wood, leather, clay, etc.
iii. Natural objects in situ––birds, plants, streams, stones, etc,
iv. Objects of art.
v. Scientific apparatus, etc." ~~ Charlotte Mason
In other words, explore the kingdom. I know, I know, what was a simple list for her seems full of contentious obstacles for some of us: clay's messy, wood takes tools, streams are wet, and what's with that et cetera at the end? But, to put it in a better way, we gain something, even maybe something Charlotte didn't have, by having to make a conscious choice to make the natural, messy, and risky available to our children.
And you know how Charlotte Mason finishes off the "Educational Manifesto" from which I drew that last bit about Books and Things?
Illustrations from The Duchess Bakes a Cake, by Virginia Kahl.