Overview: Are you in the thick of
Textbook or online or self-made — oh my!
The possibilities for
Especially when you are on social media and hearing about what everyone else is doing. Sheesh! Talk about intimidating!
What you need is a list of criteria for how to choose
Doesn't that sound amazing?
Also, it's helpful to have a place to record your research, so as you narrow down your options, you can easily refer to what you know about each one. I've gotchu covered! Keep reading to find out about a free download that will help with that!
I do need to take a second right here to say that all of this
Here are criteria I have always used when in the throes of
I have several things that I look for in a
First and foremost, a
curriculum has to jive with my WHY for homeschooling.
Do you have a WHY, otherwise known as a mission statement? This is a crucial piece of the homeschool pie — and especially when it comes to homeschooling high school. If you haven't developed your WHY yet, then read this: Why Should YOU Homeschool High School? Crafting Your Mission Statement.
For us, we are most concerned about our kids' character development, and therefore any
Your WHY will immediately help you cross many curricula off the list of possibles. It makes ALL of your decision-making easier!
Not too much teacher involvement or preparation.
Even in the younger years, there were only certain subjects I was willing to be very involved in — such as math and reading. The others, I felt, could be done fairly independently. When kids are in middle and high school, I look for
As easy on the budget as possible.
Because of our somewhat large family, buying new
A lot of people talk about customizing for each student, but that was not practical for us. It's OK, y'all, to do what is best for the entire family. There are plenty of ways to customize
And for that matter, textbooks are often a very valid choice, regardless of what others say about “doing school at home” as if that's the “wrong” way to homeschool. I wrote a guest post about that here: In Defense of School at Home.
Usually of a fairly challenging difficulty level.
But here's a caveat about this: This was MY criteria, and notice I said “usually.” If you need an easier option for whatever reason, that is totally fine. In fact, with some subjects we DID choose
Gets good reviews from those that have used it.
I always try to read lots of reviews for any product I am considering. Usually the user reviews will have more detailed information than the sales material from the publisher. I like to know the nuts and bolts of how a
- The Well-Trained Mind forum — I use the High School and Self-Education Board frequently to search and find out what others think about a specific
curriculum. Sometimes I'll ask a question myself. There is also a K-8 Curriculum Board, although I've not been on there.
- Rainbow Resource Center — Their catalog every year is always larger than phone book size, and it is chock full of lengthy descriptions and reviews of the products they sell. All that same information is available at their website.
- Christian Book Distributors — They have user reviews at the bottom of the page, after the usual write-up about a product. They might also have sample pages and/or lessons that you can download.
- The website of the publisher or author of the
curriculum— Here, too, you might find sample pages and/or lessons. You might also be able to email or call them if you have any questions that are not answered elsewhere.
- Cathy Duffy Reviews — Back in the day, Cathy Duffy started by writing an actual book of
curriculumreviews for homeschoolers. Now, her thorough reviews and explanations for about a gazillion different products can be read online. She also does have an updated version of her book; it not only includes reviews but also information about how to determine your homeschool philosophy and your children's learning styles, and other helpful information to guide you in choosing curriculum.
- The It's Not that Hard to Homeschool High School Facebook group which I founded almost 5 years ago. It has become an amazing place for asking about
curriculumoptions. Try the search function first, then if you don't find enough info, ask a question for yourself.
- For earlier grade levels, the It's Not that Hard to Homeschool K-8 Facebook group is also a great place to get real reviews from real people.
- Also, Amazon has sure come a long way when it comes to selling homeschool
curriculum. You can find reviews on there, too, though be careful of whether or not they are from legit users or just someone who received compensation for writing one (often in the form of free product).
I know my own
But do use this list as a springboard for developing your own criteria for
Also, I hope this will reassure some of you that we don’t have to go looking for the most advanced or complicated
In our homeschool we ended up with a lot of textbooks and workbooks that could be done mostly at home — even for high school. We had very few online classes, and we did no dual enrollment, AP, or honors courses AT ALL. And yet those of my kids who have graduated have all gotten into college just fine and received merit scholarships to boot. So don’t stress over doing all. the. stuff, ok?
My book Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School has chapters about everything you do and don't have to do to homeschool high school and get your kids into college, plus lotsa other information that will ease your mind! Take a look here: Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School: Practical Principles for a Firm Foundation.
But wait, there's more help for your
curriculum planning! And it's not a Ginsu knife! LOL!
Hey, while you’re doing the
It’s purple and pretty and has space to write down all your notes as you decide what to use for next year. You can print multiple copies and use it for every subject. And if you hang onto them, then if something doesn’t work with a
Happy researching! You've got this now! I have confidence in you! HUGS!
- Our Main Reason for Homeschooling: Character Development - January 18, 2024
- Homeschool Transcript Essentials: what you need and DON'T need! - January 13, 2024
- Dear Mom of a High School Senior - January 13, 2024