Choosing the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family
Curriculum is one of the most overwhelming parts of homeschooling. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love when it comes time to pick out the new year’s homeschooling curriculum. It is like Christmas day! However, it is so stressful sometimes! There are so many choices and it can be super overwhelming! I have learned so many different things throughout the years. I have picked up tips and tricks along the way to make things go a little smoother, and to reduce some of the overwhelm! Here’s how to choose the best homeschool curriculum for your family.
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What Subjects Should I be Teaching?
The subjects that should be taught to your child should be listed on your state’s board of education website. I have listed the common subjects that should be taught each year starting in the elementary years.
Language Arts (Grammar, Spelling, Reading, Writing, etc.)
History/ Social Studies
Other (Art, PE…
*Check with your local board of education. Some states will require your subjects to align with public school education.
Textbooks vs. Living Books
To start, we will discuss textbooks and living books.
Textbooks are the books similar to what you would use in public school. It is a book full of a set curriculum that you follow throughout the year.
Ex. Saxon Math
|Saxon Math 5/4 Homeschool Kit, Third Edition|
Living books are stories that are told in an interesting way by the author. They are books that are not just dry facts. For example, stories and events in history could be woven throughout the book, or it could simply be a biography about a historical figure.
Ex. Ben and Me (A story of Benjamin Franklin)
There are plenty of online learning options out there. Online learning is a curriculum that is done completely online. There is little to no preparation involved in this curriculum.
Ex. Monarch, Time for Learning, K-12
Where to Purchase Curriculum
My favorite place to do my curriculum shopping is Christian Bookstore. They have great prices and have pretty detailed previews of all the curriculum. (By far the best previews that I have seen.) I like to see inside the curriculum before I make my purchase! Even when I use another place to purchase my curriculum, I still use
Christian Bookstore to do some research.
This one is the closest to Christian Bookstore, but they don’t have as wide of a selection. I also think that Christian Bookstore has slightly better prices.
Ebay is great for purchasing used curriculum packages. If you go for a curriculum like My Father’s World or Heart of Dakota, you can find used packages for steals!
Facebook Curriculum Buy, Sale, Trade Groups
These are another good place to find used curriculum, and sometimes nearly new! Scamming does happen however, so just be aware of the site rules, and make sure the seller is following them. For this reason, Facebook groups are usually my last resort. I have purchased a few items from them, and never ran into any problems. That doesn’t mean that it can’t happen though.
Stores such as Mardels sell curriculum. This gives you a chance to look inside!! We have no stores that sell homeschool materials in our area, so I just stick to ordering online.
Places like A beka, BJU, Milestone Books (sells Rod and Staff), Demme learning, All About Learning, and etc. can be a good option, too. The pros to buying straight from the company is that they usually give a more in depth look into the curriculum and they sometimes offer specials that other retailers may not offer. The cons would be that they may not offer free shipping, and you can’t purchase everything in the same place. (Which I really like to do.)
New Vs. Used Curriculum
So, you may be wondering the benefits of using new curriculum vs. using used curriculum. Well, I am going to give you the scoop, and let you decide for yourself!
New Curriculum Pros
No wear and tear. (writing, missing papers, etc.)
The latest updated version
May stand up against wear and tear for longer.
New Curriculum Cons
Used Curriculum Pros
Cost! You can get it for a fraction of the cost.
Helping out another homeschool family.
Used Curriculum Cons
Could have wear and tear.
May not last as long.
There are some things we always buy new, like workbooks and consumables. I also don’t mind buying Math brand new because it will be passed down through all 4 of my children.
What do you do with curriculum while you are not using it? Well, for some people, the answer would be to sell it. (We will cover that in a bit.) But, if you are wanting to use the curriculum for multiple children, you may want to store it.
We store our curriculum in large totes.(We typically only keep the curriculum that we love.)
Wherever you choose to store your curriculum, make sure it will be safe from water damage, dust, and anything else. You don’t want your curriculum to be ruined the next time you pull it out for a child to use.
So what’s right for your family??
If you haven’t already figured out your child’s learning style, you should do that>>here. Learning and teaching styles are important in figuring out what kind of curriculum to use. Also, decided on a homeschooling method. (Read more about homeschool methods here.) All those things play an important role in picking out the best curriculum for your family.
Other things to consider:
What is your budget?
Do you want your children to work independently for the most part?
How much time do you have to dedicate to homeschooling?
In the end…
It may take a few tries (or so) to find something that really works well for your family. So, don’t think it has to happen the first time you purchase a curriculum. Some people find what they are looking for early on in their homeschooling journey, and they stick to it. Others (like me) take a bit longer to find that perfect fit. It is perfectly ok if you have to switch curriculum out several times before you find what is best for your family.