“What kind of homeschool curriculum should I get?” Boy, that’s a loaded question and it’s never easy to answer. You see, there are a lot of factors involved in selecting the curriculum that will best meet your family’s needs.
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The first step in finding the best homeschool curriculum for your family is evaluating methods and philosophies. That step can’t be skipped because it helps you identify your expectations and goals of the homeschool experience.
Homeschool Curriculum Consult
After you’ve identified the homeschool method(s) you primarily identify with, you can look at the curriculum options that cater to that method.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, spend some time evaluating what’s appealing about those curriculum choices. It’s also a good idea to ask around and see if you can borrow the curriculum you’re considering from another homeschool family. A chance to review in person will help you get a better idea of whether or not that curriculum will meet your needs.
In addition to borrowing curriculum for review, you can also take advantage of curriculum reviews on homeschool blogs to get ideas of how the curriculum works among different family dynamics and needs.
Overview of Curriculum Options
So, what are the curriculum options available for the different homeschool methods? There are so many options out there that it’s downright overwhelming. No need to stress, though. I’ve done the work for you and compiled an overview of curriculum options broken down by methods. Let’s consider it a curriculum consult:
Many curriculum options that line up with the traditional homeschool method double as private school curriculum. Here are a few well-known choices to consider.
These are only a few options for traditional homeschooling, but I like them because they all allow parents to purchase an entire grade-level package or individual subjects only. Other traditional resources like Spectrum workbooks are available for families who need to supplement in specific areas.
Classical Homeschool Curriculum
If you’ve researched homeschool methods and landed on the classical method, you’ll want a copy of The Well-Trained Mind for guidance as you get started. Beyond that, here are some classical homeschool curriculum options for consideration:
- Classical Conversations is homeschool curriculum and community all in one place.
- Memoria Press is good for homeschool families who prefer a packaged classical curriculum.
- Tapestry of Grace offers digital and physical classical homeschool curriculum.
- The Mystery of History, Story of the World, Elemental Science, and First Language Lessons are a few curriculum options that cover specific subjects rather than complete grade-level packages.
Charlotte Mason Curriculum
The Charlotte Mason homeschool method is built on quality literature. Many homeschool families like the idea of that, but it can be hard to implement without some guidance. That’s why curriculum is needed. Here are some curriculum options to consider for homeschooling with the Charlotte Mason method:
- Ambleside Online – Ambleside Online is a free online curriculum based on Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophies. It’s absolutely worth checking out if you’re drawn to this method.
- Simply Charlotte Mason also offers great resources for implementing the Charlotte Mason Method.
- A Gentle Feast – I haven’t personally used resources from A Gentle Feast, but I hear great things about using this curriculum to implement the Charlotte Mason method for kids of different ages.
- Beautiful Feet Books – This curriculum publisher isn’t fully Charlotte Mason-inspired, but it is literature-based and uses lots of titles that show up on formal Charlotte Mason booklists. Because of that, it can be a great fit for Charlotte Mason homeschoolers.
- Sassafras Science Adventures, the Life of Fred math series, and Learning Language Arts Through Literature are subject-specific and Charlotte Mason-friendly choices.
The great thing about unit studies is that they’re easy to create and customize. Another great thing about them is that there’s most likely an existing study out there for your topics of choice. Here are some great sources to know about for the unit study method.
- Techie Homeschool Mom is a great stop for online unit studies.
- Homeschool in the Woods is especially great for history-focused studies.
- Amanda Bennett offers unit studies on tons of different topics.
- Our Journey Westward is a great match for Charlotte Mason-style nature study units.
- Five in a Row is an easy-to-implement book-based collection of unit studies. (We love Five in a Row; I used it for the spine of my daughter’s kindergarten year.)
All in One Curriculum
Not sure you’ve got the time or energy to piece together your curriculum choices? There are several publishers who make it easy on homeschool families by providing a one-stop curriculum shopping experience. Here are a few you’ll want to bookmark:
- Illuminations from Bright Ideas Press isn’t a curriculum, but a guide that allows you to put together a manageable homeschool plan that especially complements classical homeschooling. The bundle option allows you to purchase the Illuminations guide for your chosen year of history and add curriculum subject by subject. Complete with lesson guides and schedules, this option removes the guesswork and hassle involved with curriculum selection and lets you focus on homeschooling itself.
- Sonlight is well-known among Christian homeschool families for its emphasis on learning through literature.
- BookShark is a great homeschool curriculum option for homeschool families who desire a literature-based curriculum, but prefer to keep it secular.
- My Father’s World is worth considering if elements of classical homeschooling, Charlotte Mason’s method, and unit studies are equally appealing to you.
- Heart of Dakota is one to check out if you’re looking for Christian Charlotte Mason-ish curriculum with easy-to-implement lesson plans.
- Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool is a fantastic option for homeschool families. The program itself is fairly eclectic and free. The expenses involved are limited to standard school supplies, a device or computer, and a good internet connection.
- Quick Start Curriculum Kits are a good all-in-one option for families who want more of a traditional flavor.
Use Caution with Curriculum Labels
Now that we’ve looked at several options for homeschool curriculum, it’s important to note that you can still gravitate toward one homeschool method, but use curriculum that bears the label of another method. The label alone doesn’t determine whether a curriculum will or will not be a good fit for your family.
Let me explain: we love using classical resources like The Mystery of History, but we don’t utilize all of the specifically classic elements. Instead, we use the main text and add the other elements when they work for us. It’s never been a problem that it’s classical and we’re not!
With that said, I haven’t touched on many of the available homeschool curriculum options out there, but hopefully this will get you started if you’re in need of a curriculum consult.
This post is from my Homeschool 101 series. Get back to the basics of home education by checking out the other posts in the series:
Homeschool 101: Getting Started
Homeschool 101: Methods Matter
Homeschool 101: Curriculum Consult
Homeschool 101: Scheduling for Success
Homeschool 101: The Socialization Solution
It’s your turn now: do you have advice on selecting homeschool curriculum? Share your thoughts in the comments below!