This is the final post in a series that discusses how you can find the “perfect” curriculum for your family. And spoiler for those who haven’t read the first two posts--there is no such thing as a “perfect” curriculum!
To set yourself up for a successful homeschooling journey, you will need to dedicate some time to figure out what curriculum will be the best fit for your family. While it might seem like a timesaver to ask on Facebook to find what others are using, you will soon realize that what works for them will likely not work for you. Each family has its own unique journey! If you copy what someone else is doing there is a chance you will end up frustrated and discouraged.
Remember the beauty of homeschooling is to create a program to address the specific needs of your family! If you have not had the opportunity to read part 1 and part 2, take a few minutes to catch up on things you should do before reaching these final few steps!
Where can I take a look? You will want to preview the materials before making any purchases.
Online shopping is a great way to preview what a curriculum will look like. You can often see the scope and sequence (what is taught and the order it is taught in) as well as a few sample pages or chapters. Some publishers even allow you to “test drive” the material by providing you with the first chapter. You will also find placement tests online so that you can ensure you are buying the correct level for your child.
While online viewing gives you a snapshot of an item, getting your hands on a sample is the best option! Typically homeschooling conventions hold curriculum fairs, which are an excellent way to hold products in your hands, read through them, and actually decide if they will work for you…..but this isn’t a typical year is it! You still have the opportunity to take a peek at what you are considering--most libraries have a homeschooling section where you can check out a curriculum or place a hold. They will then be able to get it from another library in the area. “Used Homeschool Curriculum” sales are also a great place to shop--it is like a garage sale but for curriculum. You don’t have to go to buy--but it offers an excellent opportunity to window shop! Finally, ask veteran homeschoolers--most of who have been homeschooling more than a few years are curriculum hoarders. We like to keep items “just in case” we might use it again.
Buying Curriculum. Congratulations! You have made your choices! It is time to start purchasing materials. Did you know that states spend an average of $7,000 to $22,000 per student per school year? Fortunately, homeschooling can be done for MUCH, MUCH less than that!
Just as there is a variety of curriculums to choose from, there are also a variety of costs. You will be able to find online free curriculum options to all-inclusive online schools or coops for thousands of dollars. This is also where your time enters into the equation… for example, if you are willing to spend time gathering books at the library, planning activities and gathering household materials, and purchasing a set of Magic School Bus DVDs, you could spend $15 on your elementary science curriculum for the year. Or you can buy a curriculum which includes all activities, materials, and books for $115. Also, be sure to check out our post on how you can save money when homeschooling.
One of the best places we have found to preview and purchase curriculum is ChristianBook.com They offer both religious and secular based materials, provide extensive previews of materials, and frequently offer sales.
Here are other sites that you can check out:
Curriculum company websites
Homeschool Buyers Coop.com
Homeschool Curriculum Fairs--new or used
Homeschool Facebook groups
Or borrow it--the library is a great resource!
One last tip: An invaluable resource that I found when I started homeschooling is Cathy Duffy. She has written several books reviewing curriculum and has an amazing website that provides a wealth of information about whatever curriculum you are considering. I would recommend her books as well 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum to help you narrow down your options.
Curriculum selection can be one of the most overwhelming parts of homeschooling. Give yourself time to ponder your options and select what best fits your family! If you would like assistance in narrowing curriculum that supports your homeschooling vision, we would enjoy working with you through one of our consulting packages.
Disclaimer: Some of these links may be affiliate links. We are ChristianBook affiliates. If you choose to purchase through their link, we will receive a very small percentage of the sale. We will only recommend resources we have found helpful in our homeschooling journey. Thank you for supporting our site!