The Best Homeschool Curriculum

The best homeschool curriculum – does it really exist? I whole-heartedly believe that yes, the perfect curriculum for you and your child does exist.

Since each family is different - different children, different learning styles, different situations, what works for one family, may not work for another. Luckily, there are many different types of curriculum and a wide variety of products for you to choose from.

Problems occur when we try to choose a program because everyone else is using it, or when we let it run our home school. Curriculum is a tool to help us instill a love of learning in our children. It guides us as we teach our children about themselves, God, our past, our future, and the world around us.

Before choosing a program for your family, consider the following points to help you pick the perfect products for your child, and you.

1. Identify Your Child's Learning Style

Knowing your child's learning style will help you choose the the best homeschool curriculum that will work most effectively with them, and save you time and money!

The three basic categories of learning styles are: kinesthetic, auditory, and visual.

Kinesthetic learners like direct involvement - they learn by doing. 

Visual learners discover best by seeing and watching demonstrations.

Auditory learners learn through verbal instructions from others or self. They like to talk!

One reason why we took our daughter out of school is because she was a kinesthetic/auditory learner and sitting behind a desk all day didn't work with how she learned. She loved moving, interacting, and communicating while she learned.

However, with a room full of other students, this is not an ideal way to conduct a public or private school classroom. Homeschooling, though, allows you the freedom to teach and your students to learn, in an environment that compliments their learning style.

If they love to touch, let them touch. If they love to write, let them write. If they love to draw, do projects that incorporate their strengths, while learning the concepts they need to. Learning should be fun, not restricting!

2. Recognize Your Preferred Teaching Method

There are a variety of homeschooling or teaching methods. A few include: Literature Based Learning, Homeschool Unit Studies, Student-led, Workbooks, Traditional Textbooks/Workbooks, Computer-based Learning, Online Learning, Unschooling, Classical Education, Charlotte Mason, Eclectic Homeschooling, and others.

Most methods can be tailored for your child's individual learning style. For our family, we have always used a variety of teaching methods - it depends on the child, the subject, and our family situation. We have used the traditional method for some subjects, online, computer-based courses, literature-based, and homeschool unit studies, depending on the ages of my children, the course, or our family situation.

Personally, I have never really liked the traditional textbook method - it is too labor intensive for me and my family's schedule. However many, many families love, and successfully homeschool, using this method. Our family loves unit studies, yet, some parents do not enjoy using this method at all.

How a curriculum is laid out, is important - basically, you have to LOVE the curriculum you choose, as you are going to use it everyday, for the next 180 days or so.

When my two oldest were in middle school, we transitioned from unit studies to a student-directed program - unit studies no longer were the best homeschool curriculum option for our family. It was a pretty crazy time in our family - my mom was in hospice, and I had a newborn baby. I needed to find curriculum that would allow my family to continue homeschooling, yet didn't require a ton of parent teaching time.

3. Research Curriculum

Weeding through the different curriculum options can be time consuming but rewarding, when you find one that fits perfectly with your family.

Curriculum comes in a variety of ways from traditional textbooks to computer based homeschooling curriculum to internet programs. Learning about each option, reading reviews written by parents who use it, or learning first-hand how the particular program works with a friends' children, are great ways to find out if you might like it for yourself. 

Some area groups host curriculum nights, where everyone brings the curriculum they use, so other parents can learn about the many different options available. If your group doesn't host an event like this, take time to ask others what curriculum they use, why they choose it, and what they like, and don't like about it. Knowing the pros and cons of a program will help you make a better decision. Perhaps some friends would be willing to let you try it out for a few days, too.

You can also find sample lessons on most publisher's websites. Take time to try them out with your kids - that's what they are there for!

You can also find sample lessons on most publisher's websites. Take time to try them out with your kids - that's what they are there for!

Also, you do not have to stick to one publisher. Creating a customize education for your child, is a benefit of homeschooling!

4. Create Your Budget

Many times the best homeschool curriculum is not the most expensive one or the prettiest one. It also may not be accredited curriculum.

The best homeschool curriculum fits within your budget and meets your family's needs.

Slash your home schooling costs by figuring out your budget and creating a home school material list before starting to purchase supplies and resources.

This is especially important if you are planning on going to a homeschool conference; it will prevent over spending and limit impulse buys. Specials abound everywhere, especially at homeschool conventions, but a bargain is never a bargain, if you don't have the money or if it's not exactly what you need!

Make sure the product is exactly what you need and want. It's so easy to over-spend and purchase resources that you will never use. Also, when purchasing homeschool curriculum, make sure you find out any additional supplies that are needed.

For example, when purchasing math curriculum or a science program, you may need to invest in additional materials like math manipulatives, or science equipment, like test tubes, beakers, or a microscope to perform science experiments.

Some programs may end up being less expensive by requiring items that you will have around your home. Some curriculum options will be crossed off your list, simply because they don't fit within your budget.

You can also purchase used curriculum to save money. Purchasing used home school curriculum can be fun, rewarding, and money-saving but make sure you know what you are buying before handing over your hard earned cash!

The Best Homeschool Curriculum?

Doing some research, reading reviews, and asking questions, will help you make wise choices when choosing the best homeschool curriculum and resources for your family.

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