A Beginner’s Guide to Homeschool Programs (Curriculum Options)

Welcome to the world of homeschooling, where homeschool program choices can feel overwhelming. As a homeschool parent, it’s common to feel lost among the many programs available. But don’t worry! In this guide, I’m here to help. I’ll give you knowledge and insights to help you navigate the options. My goal is to show you how to choose a homeschool curriculum that’s perfect for your family – one that really sparks your child’s love for learning.ย 

Rebbecca Devitt

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.

In this article we’re going to take a look at the following types of curriculum choices:

  • free, cheap, and more expensive curriculum
  • homeschool method driven
  • accredited vs non-accredited
  • self-paced and hands-on homeschool curriculum
  • family style
  • curriculum by subjects
  • easy and more rigorous programs
  • all-in-one homeschool choices
  • offline and online homeschool programs
  • best programs by age
  • preschool options and more…

I’ve also scattered interesting curriculum roundup videos through the article from my youtube channel that I know you’ll love.

By the end, you’re going to have a thorough understanding of what’s out there. Let’s get started!

A Beginner's Guide to Homeschool Programs (2023) ๐Ÿ˜ (Instagram Post (Square))

Affiliate Links Used in this Post.

Free, Cheap, and High-End Programs

When considering the cost of homeschooling, curriculum costs usually make up a large part of your homeschool budget.

And that’s probably a good thing considering you’ll be using your program for hours each day.

You want it to be good.

Free Homeschool Programs

But homeschooling curriculum is unlike many areas of life.

You really can get a free meal!

That is, the free homeschool programs available are of high quality, and parents can rely on some of them to give their children a good education.

However, books won’t have the same quality as other programs, and you’ll usually have to read lessons online or print black-and-white PDFs.

Some great choices for free programs include:

But, if you have a small budget, there are other options.

Cheap or Affordable Homeschool Programs

Spending a little bit on a homeschool curriculum means you get access many more electives, support and training resources.

Some great affordable programs are:

These options are great, but sometimes you want a program that really excites you with quality printing, video lessons, or other special features.

More Expensive Programs

And that’s where your higher-end curriculum comes in.

These programs come with well-printed textbooks, video lessons so parents don’t have to teach themselves, or other perks.

Some great options are:

Homeschool Programs by Method

Homeschooling means you can choose a way of homeschooling that works for your family.

This is called a homeschool method (do a quiz here if you don’t know what method will suit you or read this article).

Charlotte Mason Method

Charlotte Mason programs emphasize living books, nature study, and hands-on experiences. Options include:

These is one of the most popular home education methods.

Classical Method

Another very populular homeschool method is the classical method.

They emphasiz the study of classical literature, history, and critical thinking skills. Options include:

Eclectic Method

Combines various educational approaches to create a personalized curriculum. Options include:

But maybe you’re after a curriculum with a familiar sort of feel. This is how traditional programs feel.

Traditional Method

These follow a structured curriculum with textbooks and assignments with or without video lessons. Options include:

These all have video lesson options that allow kids to teach themselves for the most part with video lessons. BJU Press and Abeka offer physical workbooks also.

Literature-Based Method

Learning through engaging books, integrating reading and discussion across subjects. Options include:

Sometimes there is an overlap between some methods such as the literature-based approach and the Unit Studies approach.

Unit Studies

Unit Studies programs focus on exploring topics in-depth through cross-curricular activities. Options include:

Unschooling

These allow children to learn naturally based on their interests and curiosity.

You can use no curriculum, but many unschoolers find having a broad curriculum is helpful if children want to explore certain subjects.

Good options include:

Unschooling is a great option for some parents, but it can be scary if you’re concerned about holes.

Accredited vs Non-Accredited

Many people want an accredited homeschool program. Traditional education says this is a way to make sure you cover all the subjects a child will need for life.

While the majority of homeschools don’t need accreditation (accreditation is a fancy word for studying in an online school – so it’s not really a homeschool), some parents like it.

These programs come in accredited and unaccredited versions:

But studying with an accredited program is not always so flexible because you have items you must tick off.

Self-Paced curriculum

Self-paced curricula offer more flexibility.

Homeschoolers can work faster than normal (for example if a child is gifted or quite academic) or slower than normal (children with medical conditions or special needs).

Check out this list of homeschool curriculum programs that are self-paced:

There are so many more self-paced options. That’s because they’re so popular and helpful for homeschoolers.

Hands-On Options

Hands-on homeschooling options are also popular among home educators.

This approach helps children learn with their hands, involving more than one learning style. Curriculum known for hands-on learning are:

Hands-on curriculum programs are fantastic but difficult if you have a large family.

Family-Style Homeschool Programs

If you have a larger family, good options are ones you can do with your whole family.

Or , if children can homeschool themselves, they are curricula with broad subject options.

These include:

If your children are older, Schoolhouse Teachers offers lots of choices for all grades.

Curriculum by Subjects

Many parents look for curriculum providers that offer the best program for a particular subject.

Here are some favorites of mine for certain subjects:

But, it can be a lot of work and research choosing every subject from different providers. So, choosing a whole year’s worth of All subjects might be better suited.

All-In-One Homeschool Programs

That’s where all-in-one (or full) homeschool curriculum programs come in. They offer you all the subjects you’ll need, making shopping easier.

Some of the best all-in-one homeschool programs are:

Keep in mind that most companies offer several subjects, but not all programs offer all subjects.

Easy and Rigorous Programs

Some homeschool programs are harder than others. Easier options might suit students with medical or special needs, while harder programs might suit gifted students.

More Rigrous Programs

These curricula are known for being a little more rigorous than the average pace set in most schools:

BJU Press and Apologia are perhaps slightly more rigorous than normal too.

ย Easier Programs

Some programs are slightly easier, making them perfect choices if young children are listening in. These include:

  • Masterbooks (Charlotte Mason – Charlotte Mason programs tend to be easier)
  • Five in a Row
  • ACE Paces – one of the easiest homeschool programs as students do this one independently

These curricula are known for being a little easier than the average pace set in most schools:

Offline and Online Homeschool Programs

Then you can classify curricula into computer-based or unplugged homeschool curriculum programs.

Offline/Boxed/Mailable

Choosing a hardcopy curriculum means your children spend less time on screens. Given this often causes addiction, many parents prefer an offline homeschool program. Some options include:

But, these paper-based homeschool programs leave a trail (or should I say trial) of papers all of the place which can frustrate parents.

Online Homeschool Programs

So then there are online curricula where parents can have automatic grading and record keeping. These programs include:

Best Homeschool Programs By Age

Some curriculum programs do an outstanding job of catering to specific ages. These are just some of the ones I can think of:

This doesn’t include the all in one curriculum programs that cater to all ages (see above).

Preschool Options

Then there is preschool homeschool curriculum.

I honestly think the best program to use here is just play. But, there is a curriculum for even that!

But there comes a time when most homeschool parents want to start getting into formal learning a bit more with our children.

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

And that’s when kindergarten comes in. You can use so many programs for kindergarten.

Here are some of my favorites:

Learn about how to choose a homeschool curriculum here. Everything from self-paced, all-in-one, history, science, math, accredited, online, unplugged, offline, and hands on programs!

Q&A : Common Questions About Homeschool Programs ANSWERED

You may still have some questions about what to buy and when.

Here are some common homeschool FAQs to consider.

Q: What is a homeschool program?

A: A homeschool program refers to an educational approach where parents or guardians take responsibility for their child’s education at home, following a structured curriculum or educational method.

Q: How do I choose the right homeschool program?

A: When choosing a homeschool program, consider your child’s learning style, educational goals, and available resources.

Research different methods, curriculum options, and online resources to find the best fit for your family.

Q: Can I homeschool if I’m not a trained teacher?

A: Absolutely!

Homeschooling does not require formal teaching credentials.

Parents can successfully homeschool their children with dedication, resources, and support from homeschooling communities or online platforms.

Q: Are homeschool programs expensive?

A: The cost of homeschool programs can vary depending on the chosen curriculum, resources, and materials.

There are both free and paid options available (see above), allowing families to find options that fit their budget.

Q: Can homeschooled students get into college?

A: Yes, homeschooled students can attend college.

Many colleges and universities have admission processes specifically designed for homeschoolers, which may include submission of portfolios, standardized test scores, and interviews.

Q: How do homeschoolers meet academic requirements and standards?

A: Homeschoolers typically follow their state or country’s educational requirements and standards.

This can be achieved by selecting accredited curriculum providers, tracking progress through portfolios or assessments, or by participating in standardized testing.

Q: Can I homeschool multiple children with different grade levels?

A: Yes, homeschooling allows for flexibility in teaching multiple children with different grade levels.

Parents can adapt curriculum materials and schedules to meet each child’s individual needs while fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Q: Can homeschooled students participate in extracurricular activities and sports?

A: Yes, homeschooled students can often participate in extracurricular activities and sports offered by local schools, community organizations, or homeschool associations.

Rules and eligibility may vary by location.

Q: How do homeschool programs handle subjects like science and laboratory experiments?

A: Homeschool programs often provide resources, kits, and online simulations to facilitate hands-on science experiments and laboratory work at home.

Local science centers and museums may also offer workshops or lab access for homeschoolers.

Q: What if I don’t have enough time to teach all the subjects?

A: Homeschooling allows flexibility in scheduling.

Parents can adjust the curriculum, prioritize core subjects, utilize online courses or tutors, and incorporate independent learning to fit their available time and resources.

Q: Do homeschool programs provide transcripts and diplomas?

A: Homeschool programs typically offer methods for tracking progress and generating transcripts or report cards.

Additionally, homeschooled students can earn a high school diploma equivalent to those obtained in traditional schools.

Q: Can homeschooling be a temporary solution, or is it a long-term commitment?

A: Homeschooling can be adapted to various circumstances.

It can be a short-term solution to address specific needs or challenges or a long-term commitment providing a complete education until graduation.

Q: Are there any online homeschool programs available?

A: Yes, numerous online homeschool programs offer curriculum, lesson plans, educational materials, and virtual support.

These programs cater to various grade levels and educational approaches.

Q: How can I assess my child’s progress in a homeschool program?

A: Homeschool programs offer assessment methods like quizzes, tests, projects, and portfolios.

Parents can also track progress through regular evaluations, discussions, and observations of their child’s understanding and development.

Q: Can homeschooling be tailored to accommodate special needs or learning differences?

A: Yes, homeschooling can be customized to meet the unique needs of children with special needs or learning differences.

There are specialized homeschool curricula and resources available, along with support from professionals and online communities.

Q: Can I homeschool my child if I work full-time?

A: Yes, it is possible to homeschool while working full-time, although it requires careful planning, flexibility, and potentially seeking assistance from tutors, online programs, or support from family members or homeschool co-ops.

Choosing the right homeschool program that allows kids to self-educate will help a lot with this. BJU Press and Veritas Press offer this. If you want to talk more about those options, you can get a free consultation with Veritas Press here.

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From practical tips to curriculum reviews and more, youโ€™re going to love it!

Enroll in theย Homeschool Parenting Program

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This online course will equip you with the knowledge, strategies, and confidence to navigate the exhilarating world of homeschooling like a seasoned pro.

Enroll todayย and unlock the door to extraordinary educational possibilities.

God bless yโ€™all.

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Rebecca Devitt

Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.

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