Homeschooling parents want the best choice for their kids. While taking into account different learning styles and maybe even special needs considerations, let’s talk about the way to find the best fit for your entire family. The bottom line is that every family is different and needs to find a homeschooling curriculum that works well for them. Here are the questions to ask as you navigate choosing homeschool curriculum.
Choosing the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family
The starting point before you dig down into choosing homeschool curriculum is to consult your state laws about homeschooling and make sure you are meeting the legal requirements. Most states don’t dictate which curriculum you can use, so you are free to design a custom homeschool experience for your kids.
Another factor to keep in mind when choosing homeschool curriculum is that your homeschool doesn’t have to look like the public school experience you had as a kid. Even if you’re teaching different grade levels in your family, there are ways to enjoy a family learning style that is both enjoyable and flexible.
If this is all new to you, then learn how to get started homeschooling in the simplest way possible.
What to Consider When Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
There are a few main aspects to consider when you’re looking for the best curriculum fit for your family. And remember, the best fit can change from year to year! There are so many homeschool options, we’ll help you choose the best one.
You’ll want to consider how your kids learn, your role as the parent, and your current life situation.
First, what are the dominant learning styles of your kids? It can be a challenge to homeschool multiple kids, each with various learning style strengths. Different curriculums cater to specific learning styles. We’ll talk more about this below.
Second, what kind of role fits you as the homeschool parent? Are you a very hands-on homeschool instructor or are you looking for a curriculum that allows your children to work independently? Your role as a homeschool mom will change through the years and each stage of homeschooling. When you have young children, homeschooling does require more direct instruction and help from you. When you have a high schooler or two in your home, then you’ll be able to give them more responsibility for their daily work and learning.
Hands-On or Independent Learning
Finally, ask yourself how hands-on you want to be as the homeschool parent during the school year. Are you also juggling working, volunteering, or caring for a family member during the homeschool day? Are you teaching multiple ages and looking for a way to streamline the process and teach them together?
These are all important questions to ask as you look through popular methods and narrow down a curriculum that will be enjoyable to you and your children, while raising life-long learners.
How do I choose a homeschool curriculum?
Once you’ve thought about your student and their learning styles, your current life situation, and your role as a homeschool mom, it’s time to ask some questions about the curriculum choices in front of you.
Choosing Curriculum Based on Your Worldview
The first aspect to consider when choosing homeschool curriculum is the worldview perspective. In fact, many of us consider the worldview of a homeschool curriculum to be of primary importance. For those of us wanting a Biblical worldview or Christian homeschool curriculum, having this criterion will narrow down the field of appropriate choices. Education is discipleship, and the importance of this cannot be overstated. Worldview does make a difference.
Choosing Curriculum Based on Ease of Use
Another aspect to consider is ease of use for you as the homeschool teacher. Will you need lesson plans? Are lesson plans provided for you? Or is the curriculum open & go. How much time do you want to put into preparation for homeschooling?
Choosing Curriculum Based on Flexibility
Finally, consider if the curriculum is flexible enough for your children to learn at their own pace. Does it include a rigid schedule that makes it hard to ebb and flow with life? Can children with learning difficulties still use this curriculum?
What to Look for in a Homeschool Curriculum
Believe it or not, price should not always be the determining factor in a homeschool curriculum choice. While it’s nice to be thrifty and spend money carefully, sometimes you do get what you pay for. So, approach free homeschool curriculum with a bit of hesitation.
So if price shouldn’t be the main aspect we look at to choose curriculum, what should be the biggest selling point? Homeschool curriculum needs to accomplish your goals as a homeschool family. What does this look like? Let’s consider a few goals that you may have and how an educational program could help you.
Ease of Use and Enjoyable
If you want your kids to enjoy their homeschool journey, then you do want the experience to be enjoyable. There’s nothing wrong with saying that learning should be delightful! What makes a curriculum pleasant rather than dreaded?
For kids, enjoyable curriculum includes that which opens their imagination and engages their minds. It’s also hands-on and encourages family togetherness.
For mom, enjoyable curriculum takes a burden off her shoulders and allows her to enjoy the day-to-day homeschooling much more. Moms appreciate when the planning has been done for them and they can spend their energy engaging with their kids in conversation and learning.
Who doesn’t want to raise life-long learners? We likely all agree that our goal is not to teach to a test or prepare our children for a standardized world. No, we want to give them the good, the true, and the beautiful in their educational experience and help them see that learning is a life-long pursuit.
One of the best ways to encourage this life-long learning is to use literature-based homeschooling.
What does literature-based homeschooling mean? This homeschool philosophy uses engaging living books, not boring textbooks, to help children learn. Students connect through story and are able to better remember what they’re learning. Plus, it just makes homeschool more enjoyable!
Literature-based homeschooling acknowledges that students are naturally curious about the world around them and ready to learn. As homeschool parents, it’s our job to make curriculum choices that encourage that love of learning, natural curiosity, and joy.
Literature-based learning also brings context to the information your child is studying. So, instead of reading a dry history textbook filled with names and dates, your child might learn about an historical event or time period in history by jumping into books about the people and places that inspire our imaginations from that era.
Multiple ages together
While traditional school will segment children into grade levels, homeschooling parents of multiple children know that many subject areas can be taught family-style. Subject areas are skill-based or content-based. When you use literature-based homeschooling to cover the content-based subjects, then you can easily group children of different ages together.
The beauty of using one History / Bible / Literature program for multiple kids is that it makes homeschooling a large family very doable. When you opt for this approach, you really only need a separate math, science, and language arts course (specifically phonics or spelling) that is at the appropriate level for each child.
Another huge benefit of using a literature-based homeschooling style with multiple children is that you will be able to interact and discuss what you’re reading out loud with your children. While doing so, you’ll have many opportunities to disciple them and help their character formation. This is how homeschooling becomes just a natural extension of parenting and not an added burden. Using the right homeschool curriculum will allow you to have many of these natural interactions every day with your child.
What Makes a Homeschool Curriculum Good?
Different homeschool curricula comes with its own philosophy and style. While nothing may be a perfect fit, you should look for a program that aligns with your family’s educational goals and priorities. Here are some aspects to consider when figuring out if a homeschool curriculum is a good fit for you:
- allows your children to work at their own pace
- perfect fit for this season of homeschooling
- includes fun activities that engage your kids
- includes many opportunities for interacting with your children
- not stressful for the homeschool mom to plan or use
- the educational methods help children with comprehension and understanding
Homeschool Curriculum Packages
The beauty of complete homeschool curriculum packages is that there’s no guesswork. Everything you need is included. Plus, your daily lesson plans are already mapped out, so you don’t need to figure out what to do each day.
Sonlight allows you to enjoy homeschooling while providing many benefits in its complete curriculum packages for preschool through twelfth grade. Here are a few of the awesome benefits.
Curriculum for Preschool through High School
Many families don’t like to start and stop curriculum because their children outgrow the available levels. Once you start using Sonlight, you don’t have to worry about your kids outgrowing the curriculum, because there are resources available for grades K-12.
Sonlight even offers an open and go preschool program filled to the brim with living books. High school students learn best the way even young children learn best: through great books.
No Prep Work
Don’t have time to lesson plan? No problem! Sonlight’s Instructor’s Guides synthesize all the various books and strands of learning and connect it all for you with open and go daily lesson plans. There’s no need for you to spend a ton of time getting ready to homeschool each day.
Build a Foundation with History, Bible & Literature
You can start with a great foundation of History, Bible, and Literature with multiple ages. Then add in science, math, and language arts. In the early grades you’ll also add in phonics. The high school years will include extras like electives and foreign language. But with a literature-based history as the main foundation, you can craft the rest of your homeschooling around it with multiple ages and grade levels.
All Inclusive Curriculum Package
When you choose the All-Subjects Package from Sonlight, you’re getting absolutely everything you need to teach one student for one school year! This includes every subject, plus all the materials you’ll need. It also includes 36 weeks of planned-out lessons in the Instructor’s Guide. But did you know that the instruction is also customizable to the specific needs of your children?
Sonlight gives you a structured approach that you can trust, while still allowing for flexibility and customization. Your children will be able to grow a love of learning as they engage with great literature. And this is how you know you have chosen the best homeschool curriculum.
Sonlight is a complete, literature-based, Christian homeschool curriculum with every subject for students from Preschool through high school. Our curriculum uses a variety of materials to deliver an engaging and complete education that extends beyond textbooks and memorization: literary fiction and nonfiction, biographies, illustrations, and hands-on experiments. These resources come with thorough lesson plans and notes, so that you can enjoy successful homeschooling. Customers who buy from Sonlight enjoy a liberal arts education that produces critical thinkers who are ambassadors for Christ with a heart for the world. Visit us online and request a FREE catalog today!