How to pick curriculum for homeschool: What is the best homeschool curriculum for elementary through high school (or the best homeschool curriculum for multiple ages)? What are the best homeschool programs? Here’s how new homeschooling parents and current homeschool parents can finally choose the best homeschool program for your family and stop wasting time and money changing homeschool material!
How to pick curriculum for homeschool and looking for homeschool materials seems like a never-ending search for many homeschoolers.
If you ask 20 different homeschoolers about homeschool curricula, you’ll easily get a dozen or so different answers about the top homeschooling curriculum.
But . . .
Before we go any further (and I tell you about how to choose the best homeschool curriculum and why asking about best homeschooling programs is probably all wrong), let’s start at the beginning…
What Is The Curriculum For Homeschooling?
So, what is homeschool curriculum and what does curricula mean? (Curriculum is the singular form and curricula is the plural form.) A homeschool curriculum is a set of learning materials for a particular topic or groups of topics. A homeschool curriculum can be made up of “boxed” materials, where you get everything in one box to learn about that topic, or different learning materials from different sources, including online learning.
For example, you may receive a textbook, a student workbook, and a teacher’s manual in a boxed curriculum. Or, maybe you use a top rated homeschool curriculum for one subject, but homeschool materials that you create for another subject or topic.
There are also computer-based homeschool curriculum (homeschooling online) where the student works through a homeschool program or subject using the internet using a best online curriculum for homeschooling.
Homeschool curriculum examples include:
- Easy Peasy Homeschool
- Horizons Homeschool Curriculum
- Life of Fred Math
- Classical Academic Press
- Calvert Education
- Gryphon House
- Sonlight Curriculum
- Mennonite Homeschool Curriculum
- Abeka Homeschool Curriculum
- And many, many more!
DON’T MISS THE FREE HOMESCHOOL CHECKLIST AND SCHOOL SCHEDULE TEMPLATE PACK BELOW!
How To Choose Homeschool Curriculum
What curriculum should I use for homeschooling?
What homeschool curriculum should I use? Choosing the best curriculum for homeschooling is one of the top questions. However, there is no “one size fits all” top homeschool curriculums or the best homeschool curriculum to suit everyone’s needs. Top homeschool curriculums vary based on your needs and interests and you should take into account how your child best learns before choosing. Good homeschooling programs will meet your personal needs!
Do I have to buy a curriculum to homeschool?
We have great news! You don’t even need homeschooling curriculums to homeschool, especially if you are first getting started! Be sure to check your state homeschool laws for any curricula requirements. Then, start with a homeschool unit study!
What is the easiest homeschool program?
The easiest and best home school programs will vary based on needs and preferences. So, there is no one “easy” homeschool program that fits the needs for everyone. There may be a best online homeschool curriculum that is easy for one homeschool family, while another may pick one of the top rated homeschool curriculums as the easiest. Good homeschool programs are the ones that meet your specific learning needs.
Can I get used curriculum for homeschool to save money?
YES! There are groups, meet-ups and homeschool social groups and pages dedicated to used curriculum for homeschool. You can often find free homeschool curriculum, donated homeschool curriculum, and cheap used curriculum.
WE ARE GOING TO WALK YOU THROUGH HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HOME SCHOOL CURRICULUM BELOW. DON’T MISS THE IMPORTANT STEPS LATER IN THE POST!
Let’s take a closer look at choosing a homeschool curriculum…
How Do You Get Homeschool Curriculum?
There are several ways you can get homeschool curriculum. You can look into purchasing online homeschool curriculum, use a boxed prepared homeschool curriculum package that comes with everything you need, or even looking into free homeschool curriculum options.
You may also be wondering:
- Do I need to read a bunch of homeschool curriculum reviews or can I just buy one?
- Or, do I even really need homeschool curriculum packages? (Can’t I just do it on my own?)
- Are there free homeschool curriculum (or homeschool resources or homeschool websites for free) available?
- And, is there a best homeschool curriculum kindergarten (or the best homeschool curriculum for high school)?
- What are the top curriculum providers, best online homeschools, and top picks for homeschool curriculum packages and affordable homeschooling online?
It’s A LOT.
Let’s break it down . . .
Where To Get Homeschool Curriculum
You can get a homeschool curriculum by:
- Purchasing a “boxed” prepared curriculum that has everything you need for multiple subjects (or one subject).
- Piecemealing a curriculum by purchasing resources from different sources and companies to best meet your needs for each subject/topic.
- Signing up for online courses that provide the outline and/or curriculum.
- Using free online resources.
- Creating your own homeschool curriculum of topics your kids are interested in.
Where can I buy homeschool books?
- Homeschool curriculum sites
- Library book sales
- School book sales
- Homeschool group sales (online and in person)
- Garage or yard sales
How do you create a homeschool curriculum?
How do I start a homeschool curriculum? Some people decide to make their own homeschool curriculum because, even after reviewing a best home schooling program, they still find it lacking.
Here’s How to Make Your Own Homeschool Curriculum:
- Decide on the topic or subject.
- Understand your method. (Do you prefer textbooks and workbooks or do you like books and documentaries or do you prefer online courses—or a mix?)
- If you need a guide, check your state guidelines for the grades/levels you need. (For example, our state public schools required that fourth grade classes cover state history. I thought that would be cool to add to our fourth grade homeschooling, too.)
- Research sites online for resources.
- Start with a unit study. It’s the easiest (and best) way to create a homeschool curriculum tailored to your child’s interests.
Is there free online homeschooling?
Is there a free homeschooling program? YES! There are plenty of options for free homeschooling (even top home school programs), free printable curriculum for homeschool, and sometimes you can even find free online homeschooling courses and programs through a variety of sites and businesses.
Be sure to check out: Can You Really Free Homeschool? (These 27 Resources Say Yes!)
Do I need a homeschool curriculum for kindergarten?
A homeschool curriculum kindergarten is not necessary. Like, at all. Hours of workbooks and textbooks is not what your homeschooled preschooler or kindergartner should be working on.
Be sure to check out: How to Homeschool Kindergarten WITHOUT Crushing Creativity.
If you’re wondering How do I sign up for homeschooling?
START HERE before reading the rest of this post.
SO . . .
Is your homeschool head spinning yet?
What if I told you that you’re starting out by asking the WRONG homeschool curriculum questions?
Asking questions like, “What is the best online curriculum for homeschooling?” or “What’s the best homeschool online?” is like starting in the middle … and it’s something no one ever talks about!
You’ve likely heard (or thought) one or more of the questions we listed above because choosing the best homeschool curriculum is one of the biggest homeschooling questions (and it drives most homeschool parents insane).
However, searching for a homeschool curriculum can be a time and energy suck and leave you frustrated.
MOST HOMESCHOOLING MOMS AND DADS GO ABOUT LOOKING FOR HOMESCHOOLING MATERIALS THE WRONG WAY!
(Yikes. Sorry for the truth bomb.)
But, I HAVE GREAT NEWS!
Searching for the best homeschool curriculum doesn’t have to leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. . .
We’re going to walk through the homeschooling curriculum options questions to ask so that you’re not
- Wasting time.
- Wasting money.
- Making mistakes.
How To Pick A Homeschool Curriculum
So, how do I choose a homeschool curriculum?
Honestly, the top homeschool programs or the best home schooling curriculum depends on a few things.
And, I want you to figure these things out before you go searching for a bunch of homeschool curriculum reviews, OK?
You’ll thank me later.
Don’t worry! I’m going to walk you through exactly how to do it!
How To Choose Homeschool Curriculum Step-by-Step
Choosing curriculum for homeschooling will depend upon factors that are specific to your family.
When choosing homeschool curriculum, keep these important things in mind:
- What are the curriculum requirements for your state. (Always check your state laws before doing anything else with homeschooling!)
- How many kids are you homeschooling? Are there any special learning needs?
- What type of curriculum do you want? (Online, boxed, all-in-one, independent, a mix, etc.)
- What subjects or topics does the homeschool curriculum need to cover?
- How do your children best learn? (And, how do you “teach” or lead?)
- What is your budget?
The Problem With Choosing the Best Homeschool Curriculum
Homeschooling parents spend a crazy (and frustrating) amount of time on the topic of homeschool curriculum packages.
Don’t believe me?
Scroll through any homeschooling group on Facebook and you will see dozens and dozens of posts on the topic of homeschool curriculum.
If you’re new to homeschooling (or just researching how to get started homeschooling), this one topic alone can be enough to make you throw up your hands and say, “FORGET ABOUT IT!”
But, I have some great news!
We’re not going to get overwhelmed or get bogged down in all of that!
Instead, I’m going to show you how to FOCUS and MOVE FORWARD so that you FINALLY find the best homeschool curriculum for your child (without going insane).
Let’s get started! Grab a pen and paper or open your notes app so you can jot down some thoughts as we go through each step!
Steps To Choosing Best Homeschool Curriculum
1. Understand what homeschool curriculum you are required to use.
The first thing you need to do before even researching or changing curricula is to understand what is required by your state or area.
You can do this by researching the homeschool laws for your state (or area).
If you are required to use a specific curriculum or to follow specific guidelines for homeschool curricula, then that takes a lot of the pain out of your search for the top picks for homeschool curriculum.
If you are not required by state laws to follow a specific homeschool curriculum, YAY YOU! You can have full control over what your kids learn.
That’s also where it gets tricky.
You’ve noticed by now that the homeschool curriculum search is overwhelming. (That’s why you’re here, after all, right?)
The trick is to find the perfect curriculum for your family while not losing your sanity.
Sounds amazingly easy, right?
To do this you need to become crystal clear on what you need (including the requirements from your state) and then follow very specific steps (like the ones below) to keep from being overwhelmed and purchasing (or using) curricula that won’t work longterm for you and your family.
2. Understand how you teach and how your kids learn.
If you understand how your kids learn best (and how you “teach”), it will save you time and keep you from wasting money on home schooling curriculum that doesn’t fit the learning needs of your family.
Understanding how your child learns is a very important part of the homeschool curriculum process.
If you understand how your child BEST learns, you eliminate choices (which means saving time and money!).
Take a minute and think about how your child likes to learn (or each of your children). If you’re unsure, spend a week or so observing your child.
Is she more of a quiet, in-the-corner reader type?
Does he like technology and prefers watching videos online?
Does your child need your complete involvement with very little independent studying?
Then, repeat the process for how you like to teach or lead your child.
If you don’t enjoy textbook readings and workbooks, chance are your child won’t enjoy those things either!
WE COVER LEARNING STYLES (& MORE!) IN THE WORKBOOK, IF YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO TAILOR CURRICULA TO LEARNING AND TEACHING STYLES!
3. Know your budget for homeschool curriculum and homeschooling materials (and stick to it!).
Now, let’s consider your budget.
Packaged homeschooling curriculum, books, and online courses can quickly add up–some are even into the hundreds of dollars.
Without specific planning, buying a homeschool curriculum can even break the budget, especially if you are homeschooling more than one child on varying subjects and curricula.
YOU MUST GO INTO YOUR CURRICULUM RESEARCH KNOWING YOUR TOTAL BUDGET.
You need to consider the budget for each child, budget per curriculum, and total budget.
And then, NO MATTER WHAT, you need to stick to that budget.
Even if you find the OMGosh PERFECT CURRICULUM.
(We cover the dangers of what I like to call SCS, or Shiny Curriculum Syndrome, in the workbook. If you pick that up, you’ll learn more about how to stay away from that!)
►If it’s out of your budget, you need to move on because it isn’t the perfect curriculum for your family.
4. Determine your curriculum topics and type.
Before moving forward and searching for a homeschool curriculum (including reading homeschool curriculum package reviews–you’re not ready yet!), you also need to create a tentative homeschool schedule for each child.
Your schedule should include the topics each child will cover for the current (or upcoming) homeschooling year.
If you make a column on one sheet of paper for each child and then list out their subjects for the year, it is easier for you to see if there is an overlap.
Any overlap means that you can buy one curriculum and share among the group — you’ll just need to adapt the learning for each age or stage.
For example, if you’re using the same history curriculum for a 6 year old and a 12 year old, maybe while the 12 year old writes an essay on the topic then the 6 year old can draw a scene (or you can make a lapbook) about the topic.
Consider these when searching for the best homeschool curriculum:
• Do you want an all-in-one (“boxed”) curricula that covers multiple topics (English, Math, etc.) where you get all the materials shipped to you?
• Are you looking for remote learning options like an online curriculum or video-based curriculum?
• Do you want/need a homeschool curriculum that helps you track grades and progress?
• Are you OK with mixing and matching curricula (using one curriculum for math, another for language arts, etc.) to find the best combination?
Again, when thinking about TYPE of curriculum (boxed, online, etc.), you need to keep in mind the requirements for how your children learn and how you “teach.”
5. Start the curriculum search.
The first thing that you need to remember is to put a time limit on your homeschool curriculum research.
Don’t just brew up a nice cup of tea and sit down in front of your laptop for the evening to research homeschool curriculum.
Hours later, you will find that you’ve fallen down the homeschool curriculum rabbit hole and you can’t get out.
And, chances are, you will be none the wiser (but you’ll be plenty frustrated).
Instead, set a 15 to 30-minute timer for each homeschool curriculum or child.
If you need a math curriculum for Johnny, search ONLY math curricula that meets Johnny’s specific needs (and your “teaching” style) — no need to waste time perusing language arts stuff!
Once the time is up, move on to the next curriculum search.
Do not spend more than 30 minutes because it will only add to your confusion and overwhelm.
I’m not trying to be trite when I tell you to relax, but just R E L A X.
You’re not making a life or death choice for your child.
You’re choosing a tool to assist your child in learning.
When you start to think of it that way, you’ll take some of the pressure off of yourself!
FREE CURRICULUM CHECKLIST