Curriculum Following Different Homeschooling Methods
I’ve investigated a few homeschooling programs that interest me both because of their popularity and because of their educational methodology. A few have been reviewed in detail, but others are linked to because they are programs I’d love to review in the future.
Many Christian homeschooling parents are drawn to a classical education and choose curricula that align with this teaching method. Three of the most popular Classical homeschooling curricula I’ve looked into briefly are:
- Classical Conversations – this course is done in many American home schools as children (1) meet weekly at co-ops and (2) do their program with their family at home. Here they learn the trivium and (in the co-ops) can learn and debate together also. However, Classical Conversations is also used in other countries that don’t have CC groups (it sounds like it’s easy enough to do CC in the grammar stage (first stage) of the course, but harder as children start needing groups for later stages).
- Veritas Press – this curriculum is available online and great if you can’t find your way to a co-op or there isn’t one near you (i.e. you are in a country that doesn’t have many groups that use the classical education method like Australia).
- Memoria Press – this program is fantastic if you’d like something mailed out.
I believe these curriculum options all good choices for Christian families from the reviews pages I’ve read. You can also get a free classical curriculum here.
Charlotte Mason Curriculum
- Simply Charlotte Mason
- A Gentle Feast
- Living Books Curriculum
- Ambleside Online
- Charlotte Mason in a Box
- Charlotte Mason College
- My Homeschool
- Charlotte Mason Institute – Alveary
- Higher Up and Further In and
I go through these in more detail on this CM curricula page here.
Free Homeschooling Curriculum Programs
Likewise there are many free homeschool programs on offer. Some of the ones I’ve discovered are:
- Easy Peasy – a free Christian homeschool curriculum (and in my opinion one of the best choices on this page). Some parts of this program are printable, so all the work doesn’t have to be read or performed online.
- Ambleside Online – another Charlotte Mason curriculum (on which many of the CM curricula available today base themselves).
- Puritans Homeschool – a homeschool program based on puritan thinking.
- An Old Fashioned Education – a compendium of ‘free homeschool curricula, literature and textbooks’.
- Khan Academy – huge collection of videos on every subject you can think of.
- Hippo Campus – another big collection of videos targeted to high-school and college-level students.
- Little House Kindergarten – a full kindergarten curriculum used on a pay-what-you-can basis.
- Mater Amabilis – a Catholic Charlotte Mason free homeschool curriculum and
- Freedom Homeschooling – another compendium of free home learning tools (like An Old Fashioned Education). I like this one as it also tells you which sources are based on a Christian foundation.
You can see these reviewed in more detail on this page.
Christian Homeschooling Programs
Given many home educating families are Christians, most are looking for programs which match their beliefs and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Here are 10 options that might suit your family and are options I’d be interested in checking out further:
- Bob Jones University (BJU)
- AOP publications – Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS) or Monarch
- Accelerated Christian Education (ACE)
- Easy Peasy All-In-One
- Classical Conversations
- Veritas Press
- Simply Charlotte Mason (SCM)
I’ve briefly compared these 10 Christian home education programs on this page.
Learn to Read Programs
There are a few great programs designed to help children learn to read easily. Some are paid, while others are free. Also, some are based in a Christian theology, and others are not.
Here are some of the learn-to-read programs I’ve investigated or seen that I’d like to investigate further:
- Phonics Museum App (Veritas Press) – this program has a Christian Classical foundation and children learn to read by following stories that happen in a museum. The makers integrate an appreciation for the fine arts (which is part of a good classical education). It is a paid program.
- McGuffy’s readers – McGuffy’s readers are set of physical readers people have been using for many years (downloadable in a PDF format). Originally written in the 1930s, these readers are famous for helping millions of children to read easily. They are recommended by Easy Peasy as the place to start before beginning formal educational lessons. They’re now available online for free.
- Hooked on Phonics – is an app that teaches children aged 3-7-years-old to read. It seems to be based on more of a traditional style of education. This program is by subscription.
- Reading Eggs (and its version for older children, Reading Eggspress) – is a fun program styled after Candy Crush. This is a paid, secular program that has stellar reviews. It may be a little addictive, but parents say it helps their children read effectively.
- YouTube – I thought YouTube might be a good place to learn to read but I found the videos were swamped with (sometimes inappropriate) advertisements which made me want to look for a package that didn’t fill my child’s head with non-relevant material. The first video I watched had an advertisement every 10 minutes which made me want to look elsewhere quickly.
Of course, there are many other reading programs available, but I’ve found the ones above were particularly talked about among researching homeschooling parents.
The Importance of a Christian Foundation in Education
As a Christian, I’m always inclined to go with a program that has a Christian foundation. This is because every program has a religious basis. That is, even if a program claims to be neutral, it has an ideology they consciously or unconsciously push. Neutrality is perhaps a figment of their imagination, as everyone has an ideological foundation that they stand by vigorously.
Other Important Homeschooling Curricula Related Thoughts
Before diving in and choosing your homeschool curriculum from a review, it’s important to think about whether you can afford a paid curriculum like SOS or Abeka. I’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of free curricula here so you can easily compare what you might get if you choose a free program.
Another thing which will determine the curriculum and educational method you choose is the homeschool routine you’d be comfortable with. Some parents prefer a more rigid routine with a pre-planned homeschooling schedule every week. Others prefer a more flexible option and may use a schedule that they reserve the right to alter if it suits their family.
Other families (who don’t like to be called homeschoolers but prefer the title unschoolers) believe ‘education is a way of life’ and children should lead their own education. These families don’t buy any curriculum at all. Instead they hope their children will learn everything they need to know through everyday life – that is, their life experience (learn more about unschooling here).
It’s important to know what your beliefs and preferences are before you choose a homeschooling curriculum as knowing these will help knock out many options on this page.