One question that I often hear as a veteran homeschooler when I’m talking with new homeschoolers (or people interested in homeschooling) is: “What is the best homeschool curriculum?”
The short answer is: there is no “best” homeschool curriculum. That’s because every family is different. Their goals are different. Beyond that, every child is different. They have different interests. Different needs. Different learning styles. With that being said, there is no one-size- fits all curriculum that will work for every family or child. However, I do believe that every homeschool family can find (or put together) a curriculum that is best suited for their needs. Here are 9 questions to consider when choosing a homeschool curriculum to help you find what will work in your family.
9 Questions to Consider When Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
What are our family’s goals for this year?
This question can help you to narrow down your choices quite a bit. Trust me, there are a LOT of options out there, so narrowing things down can be a bit overwhelming – especially if you are just starting your homeschool journey. Knowing what your goals are can help you hone in on the curricula that would help you meet those goals, rather than detracting or distracting you from it.
Does our family have any special needs that need to be considered?
Another thing to take into consideration is if your child has any special needs. If they have any needs that require special attention, you want to choose a curriculum that takes that into account.
What is my child’s primary learning style?
As we know, children all have different learning styles (kinesthetic, tactile, visual, and auditory).
In other words, they learn in different ways. Although they may not fit squarely into one category – chances are they have definite leanings toward one more than the others. You can learn more about the various learning styles in this post. Once you know your child’s learning style, you should choose a homeschool curriculum that fits. For example, if you have a child that is tactile or kinesthetic, you might want to avoid curricula that mainly consist of desk work and don’t provide any opportunities for hands-on activities or movement.
What is my primary teaching style?
It is also important to consider your natural teaching style. Think about what you enjoy about your role as a teacher and use this information to choose curricula that are most likely to align with that. Another thing to consider is whether you prefer a curriculum that is geared towards independent learning or one that is dependent on instruction from the parent/teacher.
What type of homeschool family are we?
There are a variety of homeschool methods (which you can learn more about in this article) that your family may fit. When choosing a homeschool curriculum, you definitely want to consider this. For example, someone who has leanings towards unschooling will likely not enjoy curricula that are very textbook-intensive.
What is my budget?
Another important consideration is the budget that you have for homeschool. If you are on a shoestring budget, then a curriculum that will cost you several hundred dollars is not likely to be a good fit for you. However, if your budget is pretty high, your options are going to be more open.
You can also save money by using digital homeschool curriculum (read more about that in this post) and shopping annual sales like the Build Your Bundle homeschool sale online with bundles of digital curriculum starting at only $10.
Do I need an all-inclusive curriculum?
Do you need a curriculum that comes with every single thing that you need or are you okay with having to purchase supplementary materials? Some curricula will come with most of the materials that you need, while others will come with the bare bones.
What is our homeschool schedule like?
This really boils down to how much time you are able to dedicate to homeschooling. If you only have a few hours a day to dedicate to it, you probably shouldn’t choose a curriculum that requires you to put in several hours a day to get through. On the flip side, if you intend to devote several times a day to schooling, a ‘bare bones’ curriculum might not be the best fit for you. Read more about homeschool schedules here and here.
Do I need a curriculum that is reusable?
This is definitely something to consider if you have multiple children and are interested in saving money. Especially for those subjects that do not tend to have new information added every year, such as history or mathematics. If you can save money by reusing the same curriculum with all of your children, so much the better!
These are just some of the questions that you should ask when deciding on the best homeschool curriculum for your family. Hopefully, as you answer these questions, you can eliminate the options that are not a good fit until you find the ones that could be a winner.