Things to Consider When Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

This time of year, many homeschoolers are busy preparing for a new school year, which includes deciding on which curriculum to use.

Some homeschoolers stick to what works each year (which I highly recommend; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), but sometimes things just aren’t working, whether it’s your entire curriculum or just a subject or two, and changes are necessary.

There are also many new homeschoolers just starting out on their journey and they can easily become overwhelmed with all of the options that are available these days.

Choosing a curriculum isn’t easy.  If you need a little help, here are some things to consider when choosing a homeschool curriculum –

Homeschool Curriculum

Your Child’s Learning Style

This is probably the most important thing to consider.  Is your child a hands-on learner? A visual learner?  Auditory?  Does your child need to be moving around in order to learn?  Does your child learn better in a group or with other children? This article, What Is My Child’s Learning Style? can help you determine your child’s learning style.

It’s not always easy, but once you determine (or have a hunch) which learning style fits your child best, find a curriculum that caters to that need.  Your child may fall into more than one learning category, and that’s okay. Our article, Homeschool Curriculum Based on Learning Style can help you choose the right curriculum for your child. Another great resource for finding curriculum that lines up with your child’s learning style is Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Pics for Homeschool Curriculum.

Unfortunately, your child’s learning style may not mesh completely with the way you desire to teach.  Just know that it might take some trial and error in order to find the right curriculum fit; you may have to change the way you teach and/or change your curriculum.


How much a curriculum costs is another big factor.  At least it is for our family because we have 7 children so we try to make our curriculum dollar stretch as far as possible.

Curriculum costs range in price from FREE to hundreds of dollars.  Sit down and determine how much you can spend on homeschool curriculum and supplies, and then you’ll have to split that up among all of your kids. (Keep in mind, though, that you may be able to teach more than one child using the same curriculum. For example, you may be able to use the same math or science or history curriculum with two or more children.)

Shop around; you can find used curriculum that is practically new! Be sure you compare prices among several places.  Some of the best prices I find online for homeschool curriculum are on Christianbook.com and Amazon.

Consider buying curriculum that offers a digital version.  Digital curriculum is often cheaper and can be used by multiple children.

Boxed or Piece It Together

Would you prefer to have a curriculum that is all put together for you, or would you like the flexibility to pick and choose different resources for different subjects?

This might depend on how new you are to homeschooling or how much time you have available to prepare and plan for your year.  A lot of new homeschoolers like the security of using a boxed curriculum, and some families just don’t have the extra time to piece together their own.

Make sure you are knowledgeable about the homeschool laws in your state and which subjects are required each year.  This will help you determine what needs to be covered each year. You can find out about the homeschool-related laws in all 50 states by contacting HSLDA (the Home School Legal Defense Association).

Your Circumstances

How many children will you be teaching?  How much time do you have to devote to planning?  Are you a working mom?

If you are homeschooling multiple children, you’ll want to combine them as much as possible.  If you can teach 2 or 3 or more children with one curriculum, that will save you a ton of time.  Unit studies are a great way to incorporate multiple children.  Apologia and Mystery of History are also great choices for combining kids.

If you work outside the home or have other commitments that require a lot of  your time, you’ll want to choose curriculum that doesn’t require a lot of prep work or parental involvement.  There are a lot of great open-and-go curriculums, and online or computer-based courses are great for this as well.

What Other People Think

Get opinions from other homeschooling moms that have used a curriculum you are considering.  There are lots of great local homeschool groups as well as ones online that you can get support from, including curriculum recommendations.  If at all possible, try to get your hands on the curriculum before you buy; borrow it from a friend or go to a homeschool convention to see it in person.

Read reviews.  You can find reviews all over the internet for pretty much any curriculum you might be considering.  Just remember that just because something did or didn’t work for someone else doesn’t mean you will have the same result.  At least you can get an idea of how another homeschooler used it and why it did or didn’t work for them.

Just know that you won’t find the perfect curriculum, and chances are you will change your curriculum more than once.  And just because something was a good fit this year doesn’t mean it will be next year.  Circumstances change, seasons change, so it’s important to be flexible with your homeschool plans.

If you’re new to homeschooling or are considering homeschooling, you might want to take a look at our How to Begin Homeschooling post.

And if you’d like to read more articles about choosing curriculum, here are some that might be helpful:

Working Homeschool Mom: What About Curriculum?

Choosing Curriculum for Your Only Child

When the Curriculum Didn’t Work

Before You Bail on a Curriculum

Five Ways to Save on Homeschool Curriculum 

Facebook Community Discussions: Curriculum Specific

Using Giveaways to Build a Curriculum Collection

Have you chosen your curriculum for the upcoming year?  What will you be using?

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