How to Pick the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family (& Enjoy It)
The best homeschool curriculum is totally out there. You just might need a bit of help to find it 😉
Discover how you can pick the curriculum that works for you and your kids.
Plus, find out how you can enjoy your choice – and what to do if you start to feel unsure.
Finding the Best Homeschool Curriculum Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Looking for homeschool curriculum but feeling totally overwhelmed? Or not even sure where to start?
I totally understand! I remember all too well the feeling of wanting to give up before we even got started. Like, if I couldn’t even figure out what homeschool curriculum to use with my boys, how in the world were we ever going to make this homeschooling thing happen?
Maybe you feel the same way? Or have had similar thoughts holding you back as you sift through the many options of curriculum (online, boxed, apps, and more)?
Modern homeschooling sure does offer a lot of options when it comes to curriculum. And that’s actually a good thing!!
Instead of letting the overwhelm get in the way of you finding and enjoying the best homeschool curriculum, let’s shift that mindset to rejoicing in the opportunities to discover that gem that helps your family thrive with learning at home.
Take a deep breath with me – now slowly let it out. You’ve got this, mama. And here are some tips and ideas to help you go from decision fatigue to confidence in your curriculum!
How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family
No matter where you are in your homeschool journey, it’s important to do proper research when figuring out what curriculum to get. Although homeschooling is flexible, there are several things to consider, like where you live and your budget. (You’ll find more tips and ideas as you read on 😉)
You’ll be so relieved that you took time to make an informed decision. With these smart ideas, you’ll be doing wonderful work to prevent homeschool burnout, comparison (because what works for one homeschooler may not work for another homeschooler), and the need to switch resources (which can save you tons of money!).
The success of your homeschool largely depends on the curriculum you choose to use – based on the needs of your family. Let’s take a look at some helpful things to consider as you explore and pick the best homeschool curriculum:
1. Look at your goals and priorities
Here are some essential questions to ask yourself as you begin to investigate curriculum:
- What is your primary goal for homeschooling? Secondary goals?
- What do you wish to achieve at the end of the homeschool year?
- Why do you want to homeschool instead of enrolling your kids in a public school?
- What grade level (or levels) will you have this school year?
- What type of learning atmosphere would you like to cultivate in your home?
- Do you have a particular homeschool approach (like Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unschooling, Montessori, Eclectic, etc.) that you prefer to follow?
- Do you have any special considerations to factor into your decision making? For example, do you have an erratic schedule or work-from-home?
- What age(s) will you be homeschooling?
- How many children will you be a part of your homeschool this year?
- If working with multiple ages in your homeschool, will you try to group together ages when possible?
- Are you considering a homeschool morning time? If so, what subjects will you cover?
The answers to those questions vary from one parent to the other – and each answer is valid. Your responses will help you decide on the kind of curriculum to choose.
Whatever your goals are, make you have solid ones because when the going gets tough (and it usually does in homeschool world), you’ll need to revisit those goals to regain the motivation to keep going.
2. Check Your Lifestyle
Many people would love to homeschool but can’t find time in their schedule to effectively program. Homeschooling is a time-engaging process. Before you get started, you need to evaluate whether your lifestyle will be in sync with homeschooling.
Will you be able to dedicate enough time to provide hands-on teaching daily?
OR do you have the ability, resources, and finances to outsource your homeschool needs?
3. Understand Your State’s Requirements
What rules guide homeschoolers in your state? Are there specific curriculum recommendations offered by your state?
It is important to check your state’s education requirements (I recommend HSLDA for up-to-date homeschool legal information) before you settle on a curriculum. Some states are very specific about what they want to see in a homeschool portfolio or record.
As a homeschool mom of 5 boys in a state with high regulation (Pennsylvania), I recommend following guidelines in a strict state. I’ve whined and moaned about having to maintain a homeschool portfolio and going through evaluations BUT I’m so glad that we have. I KNOW that my boys are getting what they need in our homeschool and I’m able to relax and enjoy our learn at home adventures. PLUS, it’s been super helpful for one of my older boys who has not only been accepted to an amazing college but also has received a full merit scholarship!
Does your state require specific subjects? You’ll probably need to include language arts, social studies (history), math, and science. Fine arts and music are example of subject areas that you might need but not in a particular order.
4. Understand Learning Styles and Interests
The learning styles of your children will be key factors in determining what kind of curriculum you will choose. Every child is unique and they have different learning styles and interests. Of course, your kids may have to learn some things that they might not enjoy as part of the curriculum’s plan. But, you have the freedom to choose the curriculum that matches their interests well.
If your kids love science subjects, for example, get science-based kits or curriculum. The curriculum will include numerous scientific lessons, activities, and experiments that will keep your kids excited throughout the year. It will also include other critical and essential lessons and topics that your children need to learn in that particular grade.
Unit studies are fantastic ways to weave different subjects in one theme.
5. Understand Your Teaching Style
Your teaching style also matters when choosing a homeschooling curriculum.
Do you love being active teacher? Or do you want to give your kids autonomy to study on their own?
Your teaching style ideally should sync with your children’s learning style. Remember that this program is for their benefit. If they love doing something, tweak your teaching style to accommodate that. For instance, if your child loves listening and you do not like reading out loud, get them some audiobooks they can listen to and enjoy.
An active parent can opt to go for a traditional curriculum. This curriculum mirrors what your kids can expect to find in a normal classroom setting. You will have defined lesson plans, structured assignments and quizzes, and a specific teaching path.
6. Check Your Budget
Homeschooling curriculum can be expensive. You also need to buy a good bit of resources when you’re a beginner homeschooler. It can feel quite overwhelming. You should figure out how much of a budget you have for homeschool supplies before you embark on this journey. You can spend a lot of time searching for a curriculum and just when you get the perfect one, you realize that it’s out of your budget.
Be realistic about how much you’re willing to spend and start scouting for something within that range.
Don’t be worried if you need to buy a more inexpensive curriculum than you intended to initially buy. You’ll be surprised to learn that there are free homeschool curriculum(or very affordable) curricula that provide the same value as the pricey ones. Khan Academy is a fantastic free resource to boost your child’s education.
You can ask other homeschool families for recommendations on where to buy the curriculum and homeschooling resources at a discount if you’re looking to save money. Read curriculum reviews. Consider the best online homeschool programs and online courses.
Another thing to consider is boxed or all-in-one curriculum. At first glance, it may seem like these homeschool resources cost more. After years of homeschooling, I’ve discovered that these approaches can save you money (if you stick with them). A few top picks that I’ve heard amazing things about include:
- Memoria Press (follows a classical model)
- My Father’s World
- BJU Press
- Alpha Omega
Before Choosing the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family…
After considering all the factors above and settling on a specific curriculum, you should do several things before making your final decision:
- Speak with other homeschool parents
Try to network with other homeschoolers, especially in your region and school district. You’ll get tips and tricks to make your homeschooling successful when you start. You might also need some inspiration and motivation when things go wrong. This kind of connection helps many parents avoid homeschooling burnouts.
- Talk with your family members and friends
Your family members will play a key role in making homeschooling successful in your home. Once you begin homeschooling, you’ll have started on the path to life-long learning at home.
The support of your family members and friends can be helpful as you embark on this journey. Tell them what you expect of them and how they can contribute to the success of the homeschooling program.
- Talk with your kids
Your kids can help make the homeschooling program a much more enjoyable experience when they take ownership. Loop them into your plan from the beginning.
Let them know what you’re planning to do and hear their thoughts on the subject. If they’re agreeable to helping, ask them to find creative ways to make learning fun and you’ll never have a boring day homeschooling.
It’s Time to Enjoy the Best Homeschool Curriculum for YOU!
WooHoo! You’re on your way to discovering and delighting in resources that can help you make life and learning fun at home. With these tips and ideas, you’ll be feeling good about your purchases – and knowing that you have a fantastic start to building your homeschool toolbox.
Now, go ahead and enjoy these special times with your kids as you watch a love of learning unfold and grow 😊
Do you have any questions about finding and enjoying the best homeschool curriculum for your family? Please let me know in the comments area at the bottom of the post and I’ll be happy to help!
I agree with your point of view. First of all, we must determine the interest of the child. In fact, it is also very important to choose a good learning method. I think it is more important to cultivate the ability of children to learn independently!