As a homeschooling parent, you want to know how choosing the right homeschool curriculum actually works. Maybe you’re brand new to homeschooling. Or maybe you’ve been doing this a few years, but you’re still struggling to figure out how to go about this process. Either way, I have a few ideas and tips to make choosing a homeschool curriculum a little easier!
If you’re a cut-to-the-chase kind of person, then I have good news for you. There is a short answer here. Here it is: Basically, there is no way to know for sure if a curriculum will work for you until you try it out.
I know that for some of you, that’s totally not the answer you want to hear. But hang with me, because I still have 3 very important things to think about to help you get you started. Let’s tackle those, and after that I have some great resources to make the decision even easier for you.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.
Choosing a homeschool curriculum that considers your values
We can lump just about any curriculum into two categories: Christian or secular. When I started homeschooling, I knew that I wanted to instill Christian values in my son. Because of that, I first started looking into curriculums that were labeled as Christian. But even if you’re a Jesus-loving mama like me, you don’t have to choose only Christian curriculum for homeschooling.
I love weaving Scripture and elements of Christianity into everything that we do. With that being said, we all know that certain topics, like math, can be very cut and dry. Subjects like these don’t have to be labeled as Christian even if you want to protect your child from secular/worldly ideas. It’s more important to choose Christian curriculums for subjects that are easily manipulated and swayed toward non-Biblical beliefs, like science or history.
Choosing a homeschool curriculum for your child’s learning style
Some kids are visual, some are hands on, and some can master a concept by simply listening. I think most of us would agree that those natural listeners are a little more rare, right?!
Every child is different. That is why asking yourself how your own child learns is important when it’s time to choose a curriculum for homeschooling. Is there is a skill you have already taught your child? It could be anything: letter identification, how to fold a towel, how to tie their shoes. Think about if there was a specific moment where something finally clicked. During that moment, what were you/they doing? Were you modeling something for them? Were they practicing it themselves? Or maybe you were explaining the steps in great detail? This is a way to get a clue as to what your child’s learning style is.
If your child is very young, you may not know yet. And that’s totally okay and normal! Try a curriculum that uses a good blend of styles. You’ll find a few at the end of this post.
Choose something that fits your lifestyle
I have experience in making mistakes regarding this part of choosing a curriculum. After two years of using an open-and-go math curriculum, I then switched my oldest son to something with more crafts and manipulatives. In theory, doing more hands on activities is fun. But I had just had a new baby, and it ended up not fitting our season of life at all. We ended up skipping quite a bit and it still took us a while to get through! I learned the valuable lesson of considering our current lifestyle.
If you want your homeschool to integrate well, then choose a curriculum that fits your lifestyle and schedule!
Curriculum ideas and recommendations
This is probably the part you’re really waiting for. It’s exciting, I know, but let me make a quick disclaimer: I have not tried every single curriculum listed here. Also, some of these are only suited for elementary age kids, which is what I am currently teaching. But I have done lots of research! (The homeschool curriculum research vortex is a thing.) I have also talked to other homeschooling mamas about how and why these curriculums fit for them. And I do have personal experience with most of the curriculums on this list.
I can go way more in depth here, but the purpose of this list is to get you started. You can also take my best suggestion and take Silo & Sage’s The Curriculum Core mini-course, which will allow you to dive even deeper. You can also find lots of great channels on YouTube, where there are tons of reviews and videos where you can peek inside the curriculums. (I have some on my channel too)
Teaching Textbooks incorporates online work and is more hands-off.
The Good & The Beautiful is an open-and-go that incorporates multiple learning styles.
Reading Eggs provides self-paced lessons for online/mobile learning.
Masterbooks is Charlotte Mason/reading focused with some hands-on activities.
A Beka offers worksheet based, traditional learning.
All About Reading/Spelling is all-inclusive and holds your hand through the teaching process.
Gather Round Homeschool is an excellent option for teaching multiple children at once.
Remember, choosing curriculum is almost always a process of trial and error, but I am hoping this is a jumping point to get you started. If you purchase something and it doesn’t work, then there is always still someone out there in the homeschooling community looking for it. So always look to sell or donate, and it won’t go to waste!