Review of Homeschool Textbook Publishers
Do you like traditional textbooks with well-defined content, teacher's guides, exams and quizzes, and answer keys? There are a number of homeschool publishers that provide graded materials for all subjects.
Abeka Book Homeschool
is one of the largest suppliers of homeschool materials. Originally written for private Christian schools, the company has been selling to homeschoolers for several decades.
Abeka Publishers is located in Pensacola, Florida and is associated with Pensacola Christian College. They also have a K-12 Christian school, for which their materials were originally published
Abeka's textbooks are colorful, visually appealing, and popular with families who prefer textbooks.
Alpha Omega Homeschool
is a Christian publishing company that publishes curriculum for preschool through high school for homeschool and private schools.
The backbone of the Alpha Omega Curriculum is the Lifepac. Textbook material has been divided into one year's content for each subject area into ten chapters. Lifepacs are available in five main subject areas for each grade: Language Arts, Math, History and Geography, Science, and Bible.
can be called the grandfather of homeschool curriculums. This program is secular, traditional textbooks, and covers all subjects for K though 8th grade. Originally designed for the children of foreign diplomats, this curriculum was one of the first available when the modern homeschool movement started.
Review of Homeschool Unit Study Publishers
Unit studies are different from textbooks. They are often student-directed offering the student a multitude of choices and how to study a given topic and how to demonstrate the depth of their learning.
Compare unit studies and textbooks
You can design your own unit studies or purchase unit study packages that others have designed for you.
The curriculum providers below have provided full, integrated unit studies for homeschool families.
Before listing some of these more popular programs here are a few terms you will often see:
- Integrated - Integrated refers to the fact that multiple subjects are studied with one central focus. For instance, if the topic is Ancient Rome, their history, geography, literature, spelling and other subjects will be studied with the theme of Rome.
With many unit study providers, history is the organizer for the chronology of their studies. Science may or may not be included in their study. Math generally is NOT included in the majority of commercially available unit studies.
- Multi-Level - This refers to the fact that multiple students in multiple grade levels can study together. It is the opposite of graded curriculum which is for one or maybe two grades.
- Hands-On - Almost an insult to include this, because most people realize that hands-on activities are three dimensional, kinesthetic learning activities. Try learning sculpting or piano from reading a book!
While almost all unit studies have more hands-on activities than traditional or textbook providers, the amount and quality of activities may differ between the different unit studies. If this is an important factor for you, pay careful attention to how many hands-on projects are provided in one week's time.
Also be aware that many publishers put Arts & Crafts projects as art or as hands-on activities. There is nothing wrong with this, unless you happen to have a student who is not particular fond of crafts. Those who are will likely be delighted with the program. But it is possible to do frequent craft projects without truly studying art or becoming familiar with other hands-on life skills.
My Father's World
My Father's World provides curriculum packages for preschool through highschool. Packages come with a teacher's manual and all materials for the students. Items can be purchased separately. This program integrates Language Arts, History, Science, and Bible. Math and reading are taught separately.
My Father's World is one of the more economical full unit studies packages available for homeschool families.
Sonlight Christian Curriculum is a comprehensive, literature based program for children in K4 through highschool. At the heart of their program is an Instructor's Guide which comes in a very large three ring binder. There is a different instructor's guide for each grade. The daily/weekly schedule and all teachers notes are in the guide. Sonlight has one of the strongest (probably the strongest) emphasis on literature. If your student loves historical fiction this is a definite curriculum to check out.
Tapestry of Grace
Tapestry of Grace is another comprehensive unit study for Kindergarten through 12th Grade. More than the others, Tapestry really successfully provides a curriculum where 1st graders and 12th graders are studying the same era of history, and both covering content appropriate for their academic and maturity level. There curriculum is classical and cyclic (meaning at repeats at deeper levels.) They also have a unique feature of allowing families to purchase one nine week unit at a time which spreads the cost of the program out.
Hey! What About Science?
Science is treated differently by different unit study programs.
Some unit study publishers have families purchase separate math and science programs. They might "include" science and/or math in that they sell the textbooks, but these subjects aren't necessarily incorporated into the theme the family is studying.
Some unit studies, such as My Father's World, include science as it's own hands-on subject through the course of study.
If you would like to include science as a unit study (instead of a textbook-oriented subject) consider using MatchCard Science, the hands-on homeschool science unit study.
Just getting started with homeschooling? Our series on How to Homeschool will get you on the right track.