Do you feel like you are drowning in homeschool curriculum choices? You’re not alone. The simple task of Googling “homeschool curriculum” will take you down a rabbit hole with pages and pages of ads, reviews, “top 10” lists, and curriculum websites. It’s overwhelming to weed through all that information, especially if you are new to homeschooling. But don’t worry, this post will help you avoid being overwhelmed by all of the different options available.
Here are some tips to help sort through everything and find what works best for your family’s needs:
Decide whether you want a faith-based or secular curriculum
Starting with this will help you narrow down the field quite a bit. We are secular homeschoolers, and finding a homeschool science curriculum that aligns with our beliefs was a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, secular homeschoolers are growing exponentially, and many more resources are out there than in years past. For those of you that are faith-based, you will find a plethora of curricula available to you.
Consider how your child learns best
VARK is an acronym for visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic learners. Understanding which learning modality your child falls under (they can be multimodal, too) will help you find the curriculum that will work best for your family.
For visual, you will want a math curriculum with lots of graphics and examples; for kinesthetic, you’ll want a curriculum that uses manipulatives for hands-on learning, or if your child is multimodal, then something that uses both graphics and manipulatives would be ideal.
For aural learners, you’ll want to find something that has plenty of audio and video content rather than just text-based material. If your child is an avid reader, they may prefer interdisciplinary, literature-based curricula.
Other aspects to consider, does your child work best independently or with your guidance? Are they more of a slow, detail-oriented learner, or do they prefer to take in the whole picture and work quickly?
Determine what your teaching style is
Do you prefer a more structured approach, with an outline and lesson plans? Or do you prefer a less regimented teaching style that’s more open-ended?
I am somewhere in the middle, depending on the subject. For Math and Science, I need more structure since those topics are not where my strength lies, whereas, with Language Arts and History, I like a more open-ended curriculum with plenty of options.
No matter what your teaching style is, remember that it doesn’t have to fit just one curriculum perfectly–and plenty of options exist!
Set a budget
It’s important to know your budget. Some curricula are extremely affordable, while others are outright astronomical. Knowing your budget will help you deter impulse buying and ensure you get the best deal possible.
You can easily find used homeschool curricula on Facebook and eBay if you don’t want to make a big commitment, or if your budget is flexible enough, consider picking up a few different curriculums that meet your needs, so you have options.
And don’t fret if you purchase a curriculum that doesn’t work for your family. We have all been there at some point, in fact, I have a plastic crate I’ve dubbed “The Box of Homeschool Doom” where I store all the curriculum that didn’t work for us. Hopefully, one day I’ll get around to selling them online to help recoup the cost.
Look for a curriculum that is aligned with your state standards
Depending on your state, you may have to align what you teach in your homeschool with their standards to continue homeschooling. Some states are very flexible with homeschooling, while others have more restrictions, so it’s really important to research your state’s laws to understand their requirements.
Find a curriculum that matches the topics you want to teach
Perhaps you’d like your kids to study Latin, or maybe you want to teach your kids about the Holocaust. Whatever it is, ensure the curriculum contains content and lessons for those specific topics. Some folks like to refer to The Well-Trained Mind to help guide them on what to teach each year, while others prefer to delve into topics based on their children’s interests.
Read reviews and ask other homeschoolers about their favorite curricula
You may have friends already homeschooling; most likely, they’ll be more than happy to share their knowledge and experiences with homeschooling. You can also ask these friends to borrow their curriculum to see if it’ll work for your family.
It’s also wise to read reviews on curricula before deciding which one is best for you. Cathy Duffy Reviews is a great starting point for when you begin your search.
Finally, try out different curricula until you find one that works best for you and your family
Trial and error are key to determining which curriculum works best for your family. Some curricula will work better than others, but that doesn’t mean the one you’re using isn’t great!
There are so many options available when it comes to homeschool curriculum. With all of these choices, how do you decide what is best for your family? I’ve provided some considerations that will help guide you as you sort through the various curricula and find the one that best fits your needs and preferences.
However, the truth about finding a curriculum that checks off all of your boxes, that your kids will LOVE, and that does not need supplementation is like looking for the Fountain of Youth. It’s not gonna happen, but you will find what works best for your family.
What has been your experience in finding a good fit? Share this article on social media or email it to friends who may be looking for advice about choosing homeschooling materials.
Curriculum we love and use
The MCT Language Arts Curriculum
A+ Interactive Math (use THEHOMESCHOOLFRONT for a discount on their Family Math Package)
Scientific Connections through Inquiry
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.