Since families have different numbers of children of different ages and with different interests, not to mention parents with different experience and capabilities and expectations for what the best homeschool curriculum should accomplish. Therefore, choosing the best homeschool curriculum is a matter for each family to decide, and what this article can do is help you know some areas you should examine before making a choice.
Some homeschool curriculum programs are designed to be very broad and fit into a wide range of philosophies and faiths. And some, while espousing one viewpoint, allow other approaches to speak for themselves so that students are aware of a variety of philosophies and belief systems. But others are intended to represent a very particular view and they are not interested in representation, let alone fair representation, of other points of view.
Which of these approaches will suit you will depend on your point of view. But in any case, its important for you to know whether a homeschool curriculum is intended to be secular, Bible-based, Roman Catholic, or Protestant evangelical as you consider your options. So check for this information.
Some homeschool curriculum packages cover an entire curriculum including allhomeschool core curriculum subjects and electives as well. Others offer packages for individual subject areas, and some offer both. This is important both because you need to meet your state’s curriculum guidelines and because you don’t want to buy more materials than you need. Check with your state’s education department to see if they offer a list of curricula that meet state requirements.
Homeschooling is generally a collection of various different items: reading, worksheets, activities, discussion, assessment, to name some of the chief ones. It is important to establish which elements you wish to have covered in a curriculum, as opposed to those you wish to cover yourself. However you go about it, you should make sure that your homeschool offers a variety of learning experiences to your student(s).
Qualifications of Curriculum Writers
Find out who has written the homeschool curriculum and what their qualifications are. The fact that a product has a glossy cover and is advertised on a flashy website is not guarantee of quality. Look not only for credentials (as in degrees and areas of study), but also check out any available samples, particularly in the areas that you know best , because this is where you’ll best be able to judge quality.
Depending on your perspective, accreditation may or may not be of much importance to you. But especially for high school, if your child is going to seek further education, or seems likely to, you may wish to find out about program accreditation, if only because it means that someone has reviewed the program for quality. There are six regional accrediting agencies in the United States:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
These agencies are themselves approved either by the United States Department of Education (USDOE) and/or the Countil for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Homeschool Curriculum Cost
Obviously, cost is a factor to consider in how you get the best homeschool curriculum. Sometimes costs can be outrageous, but on the other hand, sometimes what you get is what you pay for. This is why I talked about quality before talking about cost.
Some programs don’t offer an opportunity to preview materials on the rationale that they provide a money-back guarantee. That’s fine for a television, but you even if you can send back and entire curriculum program after nine weeks of use, how do you go on with your school year? It’s good for a curriculum program to offer guarantees, but from your point of view, it’s important to know as much as possible before you buy.
Look for reviews on the Internet. You can, for example, Google “<product name> review,” for example “Bob Jones” review. This will allow you to see what other customers, and not just the ones that the curriculum company chooses to quote, have to say about various programs.