What Is The Best Homeschool Curriculum?

If you ask even three homeschooling parents what the best curriculum is, you will get at least four answers! But we can simplify that for you by saying it depends on your child’s needs.

The “best” homeschool curriculum is one that fits your child’s unique style of learning and keeps him interested in the material. It should also challenge him sufficiently to broaden his horizons beyond what he would learn at a public school…but not so much as to become overwhelming or stressful.

How do you know when this “fit” exists?

It happens when your child enjoys tackling new material, learns to apply concepts from previous lessons, and builds confidence in his ability to learn independently rather than needing constant oversight and direction from an instructor.

It is essential to keep in mind, though, that the best homeschool curriculum gives you a framework or foundation for your child’s education. You still need to provide some sort of “teaching” component—whether you do this in a formal way with teacher-led teaching aids and worksheets or an informal way where you engage your child’s interest by sharing experiences from your own life (like how Mommy went to college) while guiding him directly toward areas he needs to learn more about (like which courses will get Mommy her undergraduate degree).

36 Tips and Mistakes to Avoid for Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

Are you having trouble deciding which homeschool curriculum is suitable for your child? If so, don’t worry! Here are some guidelines to help you make the most informed decision possible:

1.Choose a Curriculum That Your Child Finds Interesting

The best homeschool curriculums engage children’s interest and curiosity in the subject matter. The keyword here is “engage;” just because there are 30 lessons on fractions doesn’t mean your child will necessarily be interested in those topics. So how do you choose a curriculum that has a good chance of engaging your child’s interest?
Best-accredited homeschool programs
Let your child help pick it out! Take him to visit local bookstores or look over online catalogs of available materials. Ask his opinion about what he sees. See which authors or publishers catch his attention. You’ll be surprised at how much a child will influence your decision once you give him the option to choose!

2.Choose an Educational System That Emphasizes Learning by Doing

Real learning occurs when children interact with the material in some meaningful way, not just read about it passively on a page or onscreen. Try to choose educational materials that emphasize the hands-on application of concepts, rather than a book that is only meant to be read aloud from start to finish.

In other words, look for workbooks instead of textbooks; computer software with guided activities, instead of trial versions that require reading through without any real engagement; and science kits where kids get to see their data change from experiment to experiment, instead of just reading about many different experiments in one large book.

3.Get a Variety of Curriculum Choices to Meet Different Learning Styles

It’s wise to get several options for your child’s educational materials when possible so that he has the chance to engage with a variety of approaches and methods based on their learning style. For example, consider getting some workbooks for basic skills practice (like writing and math facts) and some computer programs or online curriculum for interactive lessons on the same subject matter.

You can also supplement your main course material by looking through books from the library that cover similar topics but use an entirely different approach—for instance, a textbook that explains how photosynthesis works and a magazine article in a science magazine that shows how you can make your own photosynthesis experiment at home.

4.Shop for Quality Materials That Are Easy for You to Use

When choosing curriculum materials, quality is usually better than quantity—pay less attention to the fact that a program comes with 300 activities when it costs $0.25 per lesson and more attention to the idea that a program only has 30 lessons but costs $1 per lesson.

By spreading out your curriculum dollars over several options (rather than trying to find one book or computer program that includes everything), you will almost always get better materials at a better price. As you shop for curriculum materials, ask yourself how much time and energy it is going to take to plan lessons, grade assignments, print out pages of material, etc. The more complex the process is, the less likely you are to use the materials consistently and well.

5.Choose Materials That Match Your Child’s Learning Style

Some schools advocate a “one-size-fits-all” approach to education—that one set of textbooks can be used for every student in all classes at all levels of ability. But homeschooling parents have no such limitation—they can choose different materials that fit their child’s learning style rather than trying to find a single book or computer program that fits everyone’s equally well.

For example, some children are visual learners who do well when reading information on a computer or a television screen. These kids might learn better from books where every other page has an illustration to break up the text (instead of all print) or by watching presentations on DVDs that frequently pause for multi-sensory reinforcement (complete with sound effects and music).

Other students can adjust to learning only through written words—they may learn better from textbooks that offer lots of practice exercises with answers in the back so they can check their progress in each lesson as they go along, rather than having to wait until the end of the book to see how many problems they got right.

6.Keep Your Curriculum Informed by Using Current Resources

The world of education doesn’t stand still—things are constantly changing in the classroom, and your homeschool curriculum should reflect those changes if you want to keep up. Look at all the materials out there and select ones that will match new developments in teaching styles or educational theories (like using different computer programs or multimedia apps).

For example, many of the newer available resources highlight multi-sensory learning experiences that combine auditory, visual, tactile (touch), and/or kinesthetic (movement) elements designed to appeal to a child’s innate sense of curiosity.

The new technology has also made it easier for parents to learn about each new educational development as it occurs—you can read blogs or subscribe to email newsletters that will update you on the latest developments as soon as they happen. But make sure the information you get is trustworthy before you incorporate it into your homeschool curriculum!

7.Don’t Be Afraid to Change Curriculum Materials When a Better Option Comes Along

How do I choose a good homeschool curriculum?
The realities of Homeschooling are that change is inevitable—kids grow up and their needs change, different subjects become more or less important, assignments need to be adjusted due to the evolving interests of students…and sometimes curriculum materials just don’t work for any reason at all. If your child isn’t feeling challenged by what he’s doing in school (even if he doesn’t complain about it), there may come a time when the entire educational program has to be changed to get your student back on track.

This does not mean you are a “bad” teacher, nor that you have somehow failed at making homeschooling work—it just means you need better materials for the situation. If your child is genuinely struggling with new curriculum assignments and nothing seems to help, don’t hesitate to explore a change in books or other resources before deciding that Homeschooling simply isn’t working.

8.Don’t Overload Your Child’s Schedule With Too Many Classes at Once

If you’re worried about how much time it takes to plan each lesson or do enough practice exercises, remember that overloading a single day with too many lessons will actually take longer than spreading things out into different days of the (school) week.

That’s because a child that gets overloaded with homework on one day will have less energy and motivation to complete the assignments if he has too much work to do in too little time—and the result is usually more unfinished work!

When you divide up things like reading, math, science, and history into different days throughout the school week (i.e., Monday through Thursday), your child won’t be trying to cram all his subjects in overnight—he’ll be able to spread out his studying and assignments, so they don’t feel impossible or overwhelming.

9.Don’t Overload Your Child With Homework Every Night

Just as overloading your child’s schedule all at once doesn’t make sense, neither does giving him too much homework to do every day. Although it’s tempting to give your child extra work so he can get ahead, this is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • Too much pressure on one day will stress him out and make him dread doing any more homework after finishing the daily assignments.
  • If he has too much work to do in one night, he might not finish all of his assignments—and that means incomplete work, which usually leads to poor quality output (for example, papers aren’t proofread or cover pages are left blank).
  • He won’t have enough time in class and at home for personal interests and leisure activities—which might cause problems when the new Harry Potter book comes out or a friend invites him to an afternoon movie session.

10.Don’t Assume Pre-Packaged Homeschool Curriculum Materials Are Going to Be Perfect for Your Child

Just as it’s a bad idea to assume your curriculum is the best fit for your student (there are always better options!), it’s also a bad idea to think that you can make do with whatever has been put together by someone else—it doesn’t matter if this “someone” is an author of homeschool materials or some expert somewhere on the Internet.

Just because someone publishes a textbook doesn’t mean they know what topics and assignments will work for your child! Good curriculum developers take into account their audience when they develop new educational materials—your average home school parent might not be able to anticipate all those variables that affect how your child interacts with the materials.

11.Don’t Assume a Homeschooling Curriculum Has to Be Expensive—Or That It’s Just As Expensive as Public Schools

Although there are plenty of homeschool curriculum packages that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, this isn’t always the case. Most states have support groups and teacher networks for homeschool families, and these organizations often have materials lists based on their own experience in teaching kids at home—for free!

You can also look for online communities where parents who homeschool share resources and get ideas from each other—these free forums are some of the best learning resources available since they’re usually run by seasoned teachers who love Homeschooling and have been teaching kids at home for years.

12.Don’t Mistake the “Need” to Homeschool With the “Want” to Homeschool

This is another of those homeschool myths that seem really appealing but end up hurting a lot of parents in the long run. If you believe your child needs to be homeschooled, then you’re going to spend a lot more time trying to do everything yourself instead of researching what will work best for both you and your child.

It’s much easier (and cheaper!) to find someone who can help or guide you when you’re figuring out where to begin, rather than trying to do everything alone! Homeschool support groups, parent forums on social networking sites like Facebook, or even hiring an experienced homeschool coach can help you immensely if you’re new to this whole thing!

13.Don’t Resist Going Through the Homeschooling Process in One Big Leap, Even If You Can Do It Quickly

No one likes to go through a big transition without some help, especially when they’re trying something very unfamiliar. This is another of those homeschool myths that seem appealing but end up hurting parents—it’s much better to give yourself plenty of time to research what will work best for your family, rather than rushing through phases and months as quickly as possible. There are usually no “right” or “wrong” ways to homeschool; the only thing that matters is figuring out what works best!

14.Don’t Assume Your Homeschooled Child Will Be in “Educational Limbo” While You’re Figuring Out How to Do This Right

Although it’s true that Homeschooling is a unique process and requires some getting used to, most kids do fine during the transition until things get more regular—it rarely takes them long to figure out how this “school thing” works.

If you’re struggling with what to teach at first or feel like your child is falling behind, don’t worry! There are always variations in kids’ abilities, so there will be no permanent harm done if you take an extra month or so to adjust your schedule and teaching style. Just remember not to rush through everything as quickly as possible, as this is never a good idea for anyone.

15.Don’t Attempt to Make Homeschooling Fit Your Needs Instead of the Other Way Around

It can be tempting to try and make homeschool work in any way you can—especially when you’re struggling with your child’s progress or need some extra help! But it’s important not to overlook what works best for your child.

If your family really has no time each day for school but does find time during vacations and other breaks, that’s okay! This is more than enough if all else fails—just remember that doing things differently doesn’t mean failing at all!

Embrace homeschooling as the unique educational experience it is, and don’t make yourself feel bad or crazy for doing things differently than someone else.

16.Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Year Off if You Need It, Whether That Means Taking Half a School Year or the Entire Thing

What are the top homeschool programs?
Yes, it’s true that most homeschool families still meet their state’s minimum requirements by taking half of the school year off—but it’s also very possible to take even more time off and still make progress!

There are always benefits to taking some time off each year from your school schedule; you might end up with more options for field trips, social events, and learning activities in the long run between breaks (and these can be just as fun!). If taking extra days or months off seems like a good option for your family, don’t hesitate to do so! And remember: doing things differently doesn’t mean failing at all.

17.Don’t Have an Attitude of “I’m Right and You’re Wrong,” Because There’s No One Right Way to Do This, Even If You Want There to Be

Homeschoolers can be very opinionated about their methods or how they approach specific educational issues—but no right or wrong works for everyone (even if it seems like there should be)!

This has been a homeschool myth that has caused many unnecessary arguments between parents and other family members over the years—and the solution is simple: focus on finding what works best for your child, not proving that you’re right and someone else is wrong! It’s a little easier to do this when you remember that even the most basic homeschool methods with very little structure can still be successful (this is true for every type of homeschool!).

18.Don’t Feel Like You Have to Spend as Much Time Teaching Science as You Do Math and Reading

There are probably more options available today than ever before for teaching science, especially if you aren’t easily able to incorporate it into your home each day. If you already have a good deal of math and reading time during your week, there’s no need to spend additional hours on what might feel like “extra subjects.”

Although it helps kids get more material covered in their school years, spending too much time on each subject (or in each category of subjects) can be dangerous for a child’s natural learning ability over the years. Instead, consider your own strengths as a parent and do what works best for your family!

19.Don’t Forget to Take Lessons from Things You’re Doing Right Instead of Only the Mistakes You Make

It might feel like you’ll never get it right when you’re homeschooling—and that will probably happen at some point! It does take time to learn how to teach kids well, especially if they have special needs or are very scattered about their interests.

But don’t hold onto all the “mistakes” you make during this time; instead, think about what’s working and use that positive input for your next year! It’s okay to make mistakes, and even small ones don’t mean you won’t be able to homeschool successfully. Just keep in mind that doing things differently doesn’t mean failing at all.

20.Don’t Judge Yourself or Others for What You’re Doing (or Not) with the Time Available

This is a lesson we all need to learn when it comes to our children: it’s never okay to judge how another parent approaches their child’s education or schooling choices; that’s not something others should ever get involved with!

Granted, most people think they know what works best for kids—but this can only lead to too many unnecessary arguments between parents who do things differently than each other. And there are other things you can do to help keep yourself from feeling this way.

21.Don’t Feel Like You’re a Bad Parent if You Have More Kids Than Your Neighbors Do, or Less

Your family might have more kids than your neighbors do in order to make it work (and keep the children busy) or less! It’s perfectly fine for families to have as many children as they feel is right given their situation and resources—or vice versa.

There are no hard-and-fast rules about how many kids should be in each home; what matters most is that everyone feels like their needs are being met by the parents when it comes time to move on with their own lives. And remember: doing things differently doesn’t make you a “bad” parent at all!

22.Don’t Feel Like You Have to Meet All the Standards Out There, Especially for Homeschooled Children

You shouldn’t feel like you have to meet any specific homeschooling standards unless it’s essential to you or other people in your life. Even if you only use a few curricula from time to time, there is no need for this type of stress; these days, you can do just about everything without using anything that comes in book form (and when it comes to meeting school requirements with standardized testing and others, there are many places where children can be tested online).

No matter what method of teaching your kids uses or how they spend their days, their childhoods are special, and they’re all growing into successful adults.

23.Don’t Look at the Kids That Are Getting Homeschooled by Other Parents as Less Than Your Own

You might have a friend whose child is taking classes outside of Homeschooling, such as with another family or at a local school—but do not look down on your children because of this! It’s okay if you don’t see eye-to-eye with other parents about how to teach kids best;

Homeschooling is what works best for our families, and everyone has different ideas about it. If you need help making your days more productive, try out some online curriculum that covers everything you’ll need during the year without adding too much stress to the whole process.

24.Don’t Rely on the Internet or Other Materials to Teach Kids Everything, but Do Use Them Frequently!

There is a lot of information on the Internet that can help you teach your children many things from home. In fact, there are so many different programs you can use for this purpose—and they’re no less valuable than quality curricula (although these might be lacking in some areas).

Think about letting yourself connect with other parents while still getting your lessons online; it will make Homeschooling feel more fun and social after a while!

25.Don’t Let Other People Tell You How to Do Homeschooling, and Listen to Your Child’s Needs Ahead of Your Own

Do not let other people tell you how you should homeschool! Many parents and outsiders will feel like they have an opinion about how kids should be taught best—but no one can tell you what is suitable for your own family or what works best over time.

Instead of listening to others, focus on your child’s needs and how they can be addressed better over the long run (and as always, make sure that you read all the fine print before signing up for any curriculum program). Not only will it lead to a more knowledgeable parent in the end, but also a happier child at the start!

26.Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Other Parents for Help or Advice if You Need It; Homeschooling is a Big Undertaking and There Are Lots of People Who Can Help

Homeschooling can be tough—but don’t feel like you have to do it alone! If you’re feeling incredibly stressed, consider asking another parent for help (or advice if you want to see how they do things differently).

Remember: Homeschooling should always be fun! So don’t let other people’s opinions get in the way of what makes your family happiest and most content; enjoy the time doing whatever works best when it comes down to a day-to-day basis.

27.Don’t Let Anyone Tell You What to Do or How to Homeschool; Not Only Will It Cause Some Serious Stress, But It’s Also a Waste of Time

The most stressful part about Homeschooling is when other people tell you how to do it. Unless you’re getting advice from another parent who has a firm grasp on what works best in your situation (i.e., the way they homeschool themselves), don’t even consider taking their word for anything!

Doing so can cause unnecessary stress—and will only leave you feeling like something isn’t right whenever other people try and tell you otherwise. After all, you’re the parent here—and ultimately, no one cares more about how well your child learns than yourself!

28.Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative about the Ways You Teach Your Children at Home; There Are So Many Different Methods and Resources Available—Even Online!

How many hours a day should I homeschool my child?
The terms “educational methods” or “style of homeschooling” are often thrown around in a way that can leave parents feeling stressed, worried, and upset. Instead of relying on curriculum alone, why not get creative about trying different things out?

Try some online programs for fun one week and then decide if you want to buy more materials; just make sure whatever you do is super fun with your child. This will help you drum up their enthusiasm for learning!

29.Don’t Feel Like You Have to Stick With the Same Homeschool Strategy FOREVER

If something feels like it’s not working, don’t be afraid to experiment with something new! Not only can this help you learn about how your child learns best, but it can also make the whole experience much more fun.

For example, if your child is having a hard time grasping math one week, try letting them do a reading program instead (or vice versa). Just find out what works and what doesn’t when it comes down to helping them progress in their own way—and then embrace that!

30.Don’t Feel Like You Have to Use ALL the Same Tools for Homeschooling in One Year; Pick Some Different Ones Every Few Months or So and Then Build on That Success

Just as your child continues to grow and change as they progress through childhood, so too will your homeschooling strategy need to change to keep up with them. Remember: you’re homeschooling for them—and not yourself!

31.Don’t Feel Ashamed If You Decide to Send Your Child Back to School; Not Every Family Feels Right About Homeschooling in the Long Run

The most important thing about Homeschooling is that it’s something you feel completely comfortable and happy doing for your family over the long term.

That being said, if you ever decide that this isn’t working out for you (or worse yet, if your child wants to go back!), don’t let anyone pressure or convince you otherwise! It takes quite a bit of bravery and confidence for any parent to homeschool their child in the first place—so don’t feel guilty if you ever change your mind!

32.Don’t Be Afraid to Learn How to Teach Your Child at Home; The More You Know, the Easier Things Will Become

The best way to make sure that you’re homeschooling with confidence is by learning how to teach your child effectively and efficiently. If you’re worried about being able to do this on your own, just turn off the TV or computer for a little bit and pick up some educational resources online or a book from the store. Remember: there’s no shame in doing what it takes!

33.Don’t Forget About the Overall Benefits of Homeschooling; It’s Not All About the Education

Homeschooling is about so much more than simply getting your child to learn a pre-determined curriculum—it’s also about raising them into happy and healthy people. Ensure that you remain conscious of this as time goes on because it can help put a lot of needless stress behind you!

34.Don’t Avoid Homeschooling for Financial Reasons; You Can Find Budget-Friendly Ways to Get What You Need

It’s no secret that Homeschooling is not the most budget-friendly thing in the world…but don’t let this stop you from giving it a try. After all, there are tons of resources out there designed to help make Homeschooling possible whether you’re on a budget or not—and by looking for coupons, shopping at discounted stores, and so on, you can save money wherever you can.

Check out High School of America’s homeschooling options for high schoolers

35.Don’t Forget That Your Own Husband or Wife (or Partner) Can Be Very Hands-On With the Homeschooling if You Need Some Extra Assistance

Don’t let Homeschooling become too much work for one person in your family—if it does, then try to convince another parent (or any of your friends!) to help out!

Just make sure that they are educated about what you need them to do beforehand…and that they know how vital their role is! It’s not just about helping you out—it’s also about helping your child learn!

36.Don’t Let Your Child Overwhelm You With Their Homework; They’ll Likely Skip Most of It Anyway!

Homework is a huge part of Homeschooling…but don’t let it overwhelm you! After all, if your child doesn’t feel like doing the work upfront, then they’re probably not going to do it at all—and that’s okay.

Make it fun for them (even if you have to bribe them with video games or something!) and keep things light and easygoing so that learning becomes just another part of their day instead of overwhelming responsibility.

Resources and References: