Tips on Buying a Pre-Packaged Homeschool Curriculum

A self-contained homeschool curriculum sounds so appealing to many parents, but there are many things to consider before deciding to go this route.

Quite often a complete and pre-packaged homeschool curriculum is also “one size fits all.” Also, keep in mind that most likely one of the reasons that you are homeschooling your child is to provide a more individualized education program to fit you child’s strengths and weaknesses.

Important Points to Consider When Picking Homeschool Curriculum

  • Determine your child’s learning style. This may be a combination of learning styles. Does your child seem to enjoy looking at books to get information or is he too fidgety and needs a more hands-on approach?
  • Budget plays an important part for most parents when choosing a homeschool curriculum. Quite often you will buy things that you didn’t really need or end up not liking (been there done that), so don’t overspend. You can always add to it throughout the school year if you forgot something.
  • Carefully determine the amount of time your can realistically devote to actual teaching. Sometimes a pre-packaged homeschool curriculum can be quite burdensome. Ask to see sample teaching plans and look through some of the individual lessons.
  • Don’t forget to keep your teaching style in mind. I found out through trial and error that I absolutely hated certain programs because of the way they were laid out. For instance, some people can get distracted or overwhelmed (myself included) by books that are loaded with activities, exercise and experiments to do. You might prefer a more simple layout.

Not all Self-contained curriculum packages are created equal

There are several different schools of thought when it comes to teaching approaches. A self-contained homeschool curriculum like Abeka or Calvert are text-book based and, except for the Christian content, are similar to a public school approach. Then there is the literature-based approach such as Sonlight provides. They offer a self-contained homeschool curriculum but some parents find the reading schedules hard to follow.

Another pre-packaged homeschool curriculum option would be a computer-based program such as Switched On Schoolhouse. The whole curriculum is on cd-roms and it is self-grading, so it could be a good option for the very busy homeschooling parent. The options available to a homeschool parent today are endless. Just remember to do your research and make sure that your choice of homeschool curriculum is a good fit for your child’s personality, your teaching style and the amount of time you have to teach.

It is also a good idea to try and remember the main reasons why you wanted to homeschool your child in the first place. This can be a very important rule to follow when deciding if a pre-packaged homeschool curriculum is right for you and your family.