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Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

Evaluate the Four Major Curriculum Options

There are 4 major options to investigate when choosing homeschool curriculum.

Match your curriculum to your child.
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Full Homeschool Curriculum Programs

Full Programs Come With All Subjects and All Materials

When choosing homeschool curriculum packages, there are numerous full programs with all subjects included. This is the most expensive option, but for many it fits them perfectly.

Full programs can be compared to choosing a private school, but one that comes to your home. Once you have made your selection, most other choices are made for you. The program will provide all texts or materials for all subjects.

Some may have some flexibility where you can advance or go back a grade for one particular subject. Some may provide the record keeping, have support systems in place, and issue transcripts.

The advantage of choosing homeschool curriculum with a full program is that much of the work is done for the parent.

You might be interested in reading reviews of full homeschool curriculum programs. Major publishers and suppliers with full programs are described.

Single Subjects

Choose Different Subjects from Different Companies

Some parents prefer choosing the individual subjects of their curriculum instead of having a single company choose all texts.

You may like one textbook company for math, a different company for reading and history, and still another for science.

This has the advantage of choosing homeschool curriculum with each subject individually selected for the students' needs. In many cases, it will be the same texts used by those in full service programs, but you select them separately.

Bits and Pieces

Taylor Your Curriculum for Every Subject

The third major option for those choosing homeschool curriculum is what I call the "Bits and Pieces" approach. Some parents select a variety of resources to create their own curriculum for one or more subjects.

For instance, instead of purchasing a Language Arts curriculum, they may choose a spelling book, a writer's guide, a grammar text, a list of age appropriate reading books, and a library card. They create a curriculum for the many great choices that are available.

The sky is the limit in designing your curriculum from the myriads of resources available. The cost will depend on your choices.

The advantage: a creative and flexible education tailored to your child.
As you can imagine, the disadvantage of choosing homeschool curriculum tailored so specifically to your child is the amount of time it may take in designing the program, selecting the materials, scheduling the course of study, and evaluating the outcome.

Flying Solo

Create Your Own!

Yes, it can be done! Shun all the curriculum and books and develop your own from scratch.

Actually, there are a few different philosophies using this option. There are similarities between them, but they have their differences too.

Unschooling is a term popularized by John Holt, an educator and critic who described his approach several decades ago. Forget the textbooks. Live a real life, engage in real tasks, and teach the student what is needed for each task.

Real Books is another philosophy that spurns the curriculum-crowd in favor of educational alternatives. Of Faith and Knowledge is a free high school Bible curriculum we have developed using the Best Books approach.

Want to teach auto mechanics? Would it be better to buy a textbook or simply read the owner's manual of the cars you own?

Home economics textbook or a variety of cookbooks?

An international affairs text or following international news?

Are you an artist, politician, mechanic, or expert in a special field? Perhaps you don't need to buy a curriculum in that field for your student; instead you may be able to write the curriculum yourself. In fact, that is where many of the curriculum choices available came from.

Other Considerations in Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

Having read the four major options for choosing homeschool curriculum, does one of them seem right to you? If so, you have narrowed your search by eliminating 75% of the other choices. (Don't worry, they will still be there in the months and years ahead.)

Before moving on in your curriculum search, there are two other considerations:
  • Do you prefer textbook based instruction or unit studies?
  • What role will computers play in your homeschool program?
See the link below to invesigate more of your homeschool curriculum options further.



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