For many new homeschool moms, one of the most commonly asked questions is: How do I choose a homeschool curriculum?
While it’s a great thing that there are literally thousands of different homeschool curriculums to choose from, it can be really overwhelming to narrow them down and pick the best one for your kids!
In this article, we’re going to walk through two major steps to choosing your homeschool curriculum, both with five smaller parts.
Here they are:
- Step 1: Beginning research
- Understand your kids’ learning styles
- Think about your preferred teaching style
- Consider your lifestyle and possible homeschool schedule
- Learn about different homeschooling methods
- Set a budget
- Step 2: Start looking at homeschool curricula
- Research curriculum options
- Read curriculum reviews
- Ask questions in homeschooling Facebook groups
- Discuss curriculum with homeschool mom friends
- Visit a local bookstore or teacher supply store
Many people want to start their search for the right homeschool curriculum with Step 2.
But when you take the time to do Step 1 first, you’re so much more likely to end up choosing a homeschool curriculum that’s a great fit for you and your kids!
So let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?
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How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum Step 1: Beginning research
This beginning research phase is incredibly important! Before you even start looking at homeschool curriculum, make sure you’ve done these steps. They can help you save SO much time, energy, and money!
Understand your kids’ learning styles
Identifying your child’s learning style is one of the most important things a new homeschool mom can do.
There are four major types of learning styles:
- visual learning style
- auditory learning style
- reading/writing learning style
- kinesthetic learning style
While some researchers believe there are several more learning styles types, the additional learning styles are often different combinations of the four major learning styles listed above.
While kids can have more than one particular learning style, most authorities agree that kids do have one predominant learning style.
Related post: How to Determine Your Child’s Learning Style
Free Homeschool Resource Library
If you’re not sure what your kids’ natural learning style is, we’ve got a simple, one-page Learning Style Assessment available for you in the Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library!
Think about your preferred teaching style
Next, it’s super important to have an idea of what type of teaching style you prefer.
Do you see yourself as a really hands-on teacher? Do you think coming up with lesson plans sounds fun? Does setting up art projects, field trips, or unit studies get you pumped?
Or would you rather be more of a facilitator and allow someone else to do the actual teaching – often in an online or video format?
There are plenty of curriculum options available for both types of teaching styles (and all the teaching styles in between too!).
Consider your lifestyle and possible homeschool schedule
Another important consideration in choosing your homeschool curriculum is thinking about your lifestyle and possible homeschool schedule.
You don’t have to have a daily homeschool schedule set in stone to choose a curriculum, but having a general idea is helpful!
Related article: How to Create Your Personalized Homeschool Mom Daily Schedule
For example, if you work outside of the home and your kids are older, you may want an active, online curriculum that starts at a particular time of day that requires them to log on at a certain time.
Or if you work from home part-time and have meetings from time to time, you may consider a homeschool curriculum that allows for more flexibility in scheduling.
Research different homeschooling methods
There are seven generally-accepted homeschooling methods that most homeschool families fall under. They are:
- Charlotte Mason
- Unit Studies
To learn more about each type of homeschooling approach, read this article here from The Best Schools.
Set a budget
Setting a budget for your homeschool curriculum is hugely helpful.
For one year of homeschool, it’s likely you’ll spend anywhere from $350-$750 on the curriculum for one student.
But curriculum costs can vary widely based on many different factors.
For example, if you’re purchasing an all-in-one curriculum, you may spend less money than if you buy a brand-new, separate curriculum for each subject.
Or you may choose to enroll your homeschool student in an online program with monthly recurring fees, which would make your up-front costs much less than buying an entire curriculum in one go.
Additionally, you may be able to find some curricula secondhand or deeply discounted.
You may decide not to purchase a curriculum, but create your own unit studies for one subject, such as science or history, instead. (For more information on creating your own unit studies, read this article here.)
How to Choose Your Homeschool Curriculum Step 2: Start looking at different curricula
Once you’ve done everything in Step 1, you’re ready to start choosing your homeschool curriculum!
Again, when you’ve done the work in Step 1 to:
- identify your child’s learning style
- thought about what type of teaching style you’ll use
- get a rough idea of your daily homeschool schedule
- decided on a general homeschooling method
- set a budget
You’ll likely find that choosing your homeschool curriculum will be much easier!
Research curriculum options
As you begin to look for curriculum options, we recommend using the information you’ve gained from Step 1 to narrow your curriculum search.
You’ll get much more refined answers if you search for “all-in-one homeschool curriculum” than if you just type “homeschool curriculum” into your Internet search bar.
Here are a few more search ideas that return really specific results. Use them as a guide in doing your own online searching!
- elementary homeschool math curriculum for visual learners
- classical homeschooling science curriculum
- language arts online homeschool curriculum
- best free kindergarten homeschool curriculum
- Montessori homeschool curriculum for middle school
Read homeschooling blogs and curriculum review sites
Once you’ve found some homeschool curricula you’re interested in, it’s a great idea to start reading some real-life reviews from others who have used them.
There are several places you can find homeschool curriculum reviews:
1. Curriculum review websites
One of the most well-known homeschool curriculum review sites is maintained by Cathy Duffy, a veteran homeschooler who has been in the curriculum review business since 1984! Her site is HUGE and has tons of information!
2. Read homeschooling blogs
Another great option for finding curriculum reviews is to simply type the title of the curriculum you’re interested in and add “homeschool curriculum review” into a Google search.
You’ll likely be able to scroll through TONS of great homeschool blogs and get the perspective of someone who’s actually used that curriculum already!
3. Check out Amazon reviews
While you may not expect it, there are lots of homeschool curriculum options available on Amazon.
That’s why it’s a great idea to also visit Amazon, type in the curriculum that you’re considering, and see how many customer reviews come up!
Ask questions in homeschool FB groups and forums
Doing a quick Facebook search for homeschool groups in your area will most likely bring up several different groups to join.
Related article: The Best Advice for How to Start Homeschool
You may consider introducing yourself as a newbie homeschooler and then ask for curriculum recommendations.
Or, even better, you could ask for specific feedback on the homeschool curricula that you’re considering. Maybe someone will have some really specific feedback to give or even let you take a look at the curriculum too!
Discuss with homeschooling friends
Ask your homeschooling mom friends what type of curriculum they use or have used in the past.
You could describe your child’s learning style or give information about what your daily homeschool schedule will look like.
Getting their honest opinions on their homeschool curriculum will be hugely helpful because you know that, as your friend, they have your best interest at heart.
Sometimes there is nothing like having the opportunity to look through the actual resources and curriculum themselves.
If you’re having a hard time choosing your homeschool curriculum, definitely consider taking an afternoon or weekend morning to spend a few hours thumbing through different resources in person at your local Christian or homeschool bookstore.
Final thoughts about how to choose your homeschool curriculum
Before we finish up, it’s really important that we leave you with a few last pointers about how to choose a homeschool curriculum!
First, give yourself some time.
This way you’ll be able to work through Step 1 and do the initial research that will help make your curriculum search go so much more smoothly.
Second, don’t let yourself get stuck in perfection paralysis.
There really are TONS of homeschool curriculum options out there, and it can definitely be overwhelming to choose the right one for you and your kids.
Once you’ve done the work, go with your gut, make a choice, and do your very best with it!
Finally, remember that homeschooling is flexible.
If you choose a curriculum and it doesn’t work out, that is OKAY!
One of the beauties of homeschooling is that you can always switch to something else (and you can probably sell your used stuff too!).
You can do this, mama! We hope you’ve found this guide about How to Choose Your Homeschool Curriculum to be very helpful! Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
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