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Are You on the Hunt for Homeschool Curriculum? Read Our Curriculum Guide for Info & Suggestions



Defining -or Redefining- Curriculum


Whether you're gearing up for the start of the school year or making a switch mid-year, determining what homeschool curriculum you plan to use can take up a lot of mental energy. It's a common source of excitement, as well as stress, for homeschool parents everywhere.


When thinking about curriculum it might be helpful to consider what the word curriculum actually means. The word curriculum often gets defined in terms of a package of books or an online program (often costing hundreds of dollars), that teaches things in sequence and whose standards can be defined and confirmed by others. While that is definitely a type of curriculum, it's not the only type.


A broader definition of curriculum is that it is a planned course of study. A curriculum is the expectations for what will be taught and what students will do in a program of study. It is all the learning which is planned and guided, whether it is carried on by a sequence of instruction in textbooks and an online program like traditional schools often do, or it mostly consists of trips to the library and classes at your local learning center or YMCA. As a homeschooling family, your curriculum can include whatever you want it to. You can choose unique textbooks and programs designed by homeschoolers for homeschoolers, and you can follow your child's interests when creating your curriculum. Your math curriculum might include math workbooks, along with YouTube videos, video games, board games, card games, and knitting (math can be integrated into almost anything). Your English curriculum might have no books at all and consist entirely of audiobooks, podcasts, movies, series on Netflix, and field trips, based on how your child enjoys learning. You have the ability to choose and create a curriculum that works best for your children, and your family. Please feel free to think outside the box. And lastly, assembling your homeschool curriculum can also be done affordably. It doesn't have to break the bank.


We've provided some links to sites that can help guide you in choosing and creating a curriculum for your student. We hope you enjoy this list. Please share any ideas you have with us at Info@HomeschoolConcierge.Com. All our lists and guides are living documents that we update periodically with new information.



 

Homeschool Curriculum Reviews & Resources


Homeschool Review Sites:

  • Visit Cathy Duffy Reviews - Cathy Duffy has been reviewing homeschool curriculum since 1984. You can use her advanced search functions to really dig in and find her reviews for the type of curriculum you’re looking for. Her site also allows you to create a free account and then create lists of her curriculum reviews per subject, per grade level, etc. We hosted Cathy Duffy for a free live Homeschool 1-on-1 webinar on June 9, 2021. You can watch that on-demand for free here.

  • The HomeschoolMom.Com - Visit this site to view their extensive amount of Homeschool Curriculum Reviews submitted by homeschooling parents. You can search by subject or publisher. You can also submit your own review there.

  • Rainbow Resource Center was started in 1989 as a curriculum recycling service to help stretch the homeschooling budget. They are now one of the largest homeschool curriculum companies in the US. We hosted two of Rainbow Resource Center’s curriculum consultants for a live webinar in 2021. You can watch that webinar here. Their FREE curriculum consultants are available to consult with you on curriculum options. Their extraordinary homeschool community site with video reviews and blog articles about homeschooling is a great resource to assist you in choosing a curriculum.

  • Use your social media resources to help you find curriculum recommendations. Search all of your homeschooling FB groups by keyword, for the name of the curriculum you're considering to read what others have to say. If you can't find any feedback for the product you're considering, then create a post in your groups and ask others what they've experienced with that curriculum.


Homeschool Concierge Curriculum Support:


 

Homeschool Curriculum Favorites


Beautiful Feet Books (K-12): History through Literature - Josh Berg runs the company his parents Rea and Russ founded in 1984. ⁣Beautiful Feet Books is a curriculum that was brought to homeschoolers by homeschoolers. It focuses on Charlotte Mason-inspired history and literature curricula and offers comprehensive teacher guides. Their motto is: Ignite Wonder. Connect with Your Kids. This is a motto that truly speaks to the core of homeschooling, from those having lived it and who continue to serve the homeschooling community with heart and passion. Watch our Homeschool 1-on-1 webinar with CEO Josh Berg of Beautiful Feet Books, from April 8, 2021.


Blossom and Root (PreK-4): Creative, Nature-Based, Secular Homeschooling - Blossom and Root was started by homeschooling mom, Kristina, in 2015. She wanted to share her home education journey with other nature-based homeschooling families. Blossom and Root is a secular, hands-on, creative, and adaptable curriculum. They offer Preschool through 4th-grade packages, as well as Book Seeds (STEM-centered, nature-based mini-unit studies.)


BookShark (K-10) - BookShark is a complete, literature-based homeschool curriculum developed for students from pre-k through high school. Their curriculum uses a variety of educational resources including literary fiction and nonfiction, biographies, illustrations, and hands-on experiments to deliver an engaging and complete education that extends beyond textbook memorization. BookShark combines a proprietary History, Science, and Language Arts program with a range of math options, including Math-U-See, Saxon, Singapore, and RightStart, to ensure you have everything you need for an entire school year—36 weeks.

If you are a fan of Sonlight curriculum but need a secular version, BookShark may be just what you are looking for.


Moving Beyond the Page (K-10)- Moving Beyond the Page (MBTP) is a totally unique, secular, unit study approach based on constructivist theories of learning that primarily targets gifted children in grades K-10, however, many students of all abilities and skills have thrived using this curriculum. Each year's curriculum is designated with an age range rather than a particular grade level. Creativity and critical thinking are highly emphasized throughout the grades, and in my experience, this helps children of all ages become deeper thinkers.


MoxieBox Art: Art Subscription boxes (K-12) - Each MoxieBox focuses on one lesson which consists of four or more steps that can be spread out over the course of a week or a month to serve as a daily art lesson for students. In addition to expanding their skillset, each child will finish their monthly lesson having created their own unique masterpiece to cherish and display in their own home! MoxieBox has a museums page, an art game, and a page dedicated to supplemental information about their lessons, Moxie U. Watch our Homeschool 1-on-1 webinar with Jim Warner of MoxieBox Art, from April 29, 2021.


Oak Meadow - (K-12) Many families cite their Waldorf influence as a special strength of Oak Meadow. While their approach adopts many aspects of Waldorf, they do not strictly adhere to Waldorf methodology, practices, or content areas. Oak Meadow's cofounder Lawrence Williams was a Waldorf class teacher, and there is a strong Waldorf influence in the early grades. Students use Main Lessons Books, learn to knit and play the recorder, and learn their letters and numbers through stories. However, their curriculum has evolved over the years to provide a standards-based curriculum that will satisfy homeschooling regulations across the country. Their K-12 curriculum provides a very creative, experiential curriculum that is playful in the early grades, rigorous in the upper grades, and engaging for all students. We enjoyed Oak Meadow when we were experimenting with Waldorf Education with our younger children and later when we were looking for a holistic approach to traditional education for our high schoolers. Families looking for a curriculum that adheres more closely to Waldorf principles, content, and sequence may want to consider using Christopherus or Live Education.


Pandia Press - This popular homeschool publisher offers a wonderful collection of history and science curriculum series. Several of the authors are fellow homeschool parents, like Blair Lee, the Real Science Odyssey author who also founded the popular homeschool parent group, S.E.A Homeschoolers (Secular Eclectic Academic Homeschoolers). All of Pandia's curriculum is written from a perspective that assumes and supports homeschooling.


Sidenote: quality homeschool curricula written by homeschool parents is gaining popularity in hybrid homeschool programs that serve families who have exited a public school system but aren't yet ready to homeschool on their own.This is one small example of how an educational revolution that originated in the homeschool community is expanding beyond our borders. As we reject the status quo of educational pedagogy written for an environment that doesn't apply to our students and rewrite (literally) the norms of education to match how our children learn, educators from more traditional environments are encouraged to explore new curriculum for their students. This is a win-win for families and students everywhere as it is contributes to a diversity of educational options.

Story of the World - This curriculum offers an extensive collection of texts, workbooks, tests, and recordings that present the history of the world from ancient times to the modern ages as a series of narratives. The audiobooks are great for kids who are natural audio learners. You can put this on while they play with legos or while driving. The activity books are chock full of fun, hands-on lessons to go along with the audio or book learning. While this curriculum is technically secular there are a few chapters in Volume 1 that assume a Christian worldview. To remove all mention of religion would be a disservice to the study of history, and most of this curriculum is acceptable for secular homeschooling.


Timberdoodle (TK-12) - Timberdoodle, a family-owned company, has been finding crazy-smart supplies for homeschooling since 1985. Their goal is to offer unique and innovative homeschooling items that are fun for kids and parents. There is a special emphasis on engineering, hands-on, and thinking-skills products that kids love. Their Curriculum Kits contain specific things for each grade level, but they help families customize what works best for their children -- free of charge! Our favorite thing about Timberdoodle's kits is that they have taken the time to bundle the homeschool community’s favorite curriculum and project kits all in one package for easy ordering and simple use for families.


Wild Learning, home of Wild Math & Wild Reading (PreK-5) - Wild Learning is a nature-based, hands-on outdoor curriculum inspired by the Forest School movement for kindergarten through fifth grade. It covers all of the essential, practical math (Wild Math) & reading skills (Wild Reading) taught for that particular grade level, in a realistic, down-to-earth, yet invigorating way. There are plenty of suggestions for games and hands-on learning for each grade level. Wild Learning is full of observations about children's developmental stages and suggestions for parents to match their approach with where their children are. In the Kindergarten curriculum, Rachel recommends parents ask their children to explain why they're doing something a particular way. They probably have a reason why they're doing something and if we can figure that out, we can best help facilitate teaching and learning. LOVE this approach! Watch our Homeschool 1-on-1 webinar with founder & author Rachel Tidd, from June 29, 2021.




 

Tips for Those on a Budget


  1. Determine your overall budget. If you have more than one child that you're homeschooling, then break that down per child. This isn't the fun part, but doing it first is a good way to get grounded.

  2. Next, make a checklist to focus on the most needed products and programs for your child/children. Do you desperately need to find a new math program? Then designate this as a priority. Is your child asking for science tools to do experiments at home? Then make that a priority, too. This checklist will allow you to bypass all of the pretty, shiny products you want to snatch up and buy right away, but which don't truly serve your child's learning needs and may bust your budget.

  3. After you've determined your budget and your most needed products/subjects, then take a break to think outside of the box for a minute. Consider ways that you can obtain the most-needed things affordably without sacrificing quality. If you can't do that and have to buy those primary things new, then, next begin to evaluate things you already have that might work well for other subjects and areas of study. Have you been holding on to years of Dover Coloring Books unsure when to use them, meanwhile your child has grown into a big colorer?? Well, maybe this is the year that you homeschool history through coloring books (we've done this, and it was awesome!). Don't forget to consider the links we've listed below in our Free & Affordable Curriculum Options & Resources for the items on your checklist. You might be surprised by the quality of some of these free resources.

  4. Once your budget and checklist have been completed, then you can move on to looking for sales or discounts. Check out Homeschool Buyer's Co-op, and ask in your homeschool FB groups if anyone has seen a sale/discount on the things you're looking for.

  5. Execute your purchases and allow yourself to indulge in pure, unadulterated unboxing joy when your new homeschool curriculum purchases finally arrive!!


 

Free and Affordable Curriculum Options & Resources


  • Little Free Library - The world's largest book-sharing movement. Visit their map to find a Little Free Library near you.

  • Use your local library for amazing resources, book rentals, digital book rentals, homeschool resources, classes, and activities for kids and teens -- all for free. Visit the Library of Congress' find your local library page.

  • Visit our FREE Homeschool Curriculum Resources Page to read about the plethora of free homeschool curriculum resources before you make a curriculum purchase. This document is a must-read! It's organized by category and grade level and includes tons of resources, including homeschool freebie sites at the bottom.

  • Rainbow Resource Center offers bargain books, and a clearance section. Don't forget to check their main page, there's almost always something on sale.

  • Consider renting curriculum from Yellow House Book Rental


 

We hope this has helped you narrow down some curriculum choices, and has given you a better understanding of what curriculum can include. Please share any resources related to your favorite curriculum resources by emailing us at Info@HomeschoolConcierge.Com. Happy homeschooling, everyone. :)




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