Serving the Home Education community.

Selecting Curriculum

Approaches to Home Education and Selecting Curriculum

15 Questions to Ask Before Buying Curriculum

There are many different approaches to home educating, and it’s not unusual for a home educating family to change their approach as they become more comfortable and experienced with home educating.

Some approaches include:

  • Curricular: Highly structured, using mostly textbooks and workbooks
  • Accelerated Education: The student begins high school when as young as 10 to 12 years old
  • Delayed Academics: No formal studies until a student is 8 to 12 years old
  • Classical Education: Trivium-based form of education using the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages; used to develop critical thinkers
  • Unit Studies: Integrates and relates several subject areas into one theme
  • Charlotte Mason Method: Learning through real-life “living” books
  • Delight-Directed Studies: Learning based on child’s areas of interest
  • Unschooling: Learning through natural life experiences
  • Eclectic: A combination of two or more approaches

When deciding on an approach, you may want to consider:

  • your children’s style(s) of learning (two children may be better served by two different approaches);
  • the number of children you teach at the same time;
  • the level of learning ability (which for any given student, may be higher in one subject area and lower in another when compared to public school levels/grades);
  • the level of confidence you have as a teacher; and
  • the amount of money you are able to, or desire to, spend on resources and curriculum.

15 Questions to Ask Before Buying Curriculum

When selecting curriculum and resources, choose what will work for your family and help you attain your goals, and be open to changing curriculum if it’s not working for your child.

When considering various curricula, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this curriculum compatible with my child’s learning style, readiness, maturity, and reading level?
  2. Is it compatible with my teaching style?
  3. How much preparation does it require beforehand?
  4. Is it developed for home educators? If not, can it still be used for individualized instruction?
  5. Are other home educators I know using this curriculum?
  6. Have I read any objective reviews on it?
  7. Is its theological/philosophical perspective one that I can embrace?
  8. Is it consumable? Or will I be able to use it again — or resell it — in the future? What is its re-sale value among home educators?
  9. Is it a complete program or must supplemental materials be purchased?
  10. Does it contain activities that involve higher level thinking and/or real world skills, or is it mostly “fill-in-the-blank” activities?
  11. Does it have artistic merit — is it lively, concrete, specific, visually appealing? Will it attract — or distract — my child?
  12. Am I just attracted to its packaging and promotion? Am I judging the book “by its cover” or by its contents? Is it effective or just clever?
  13. Can I afford it?
  14. What good books on the subject could I buy with the money it would take to buy this curriculum?
  15. Can I teach this subject without this curriculum? What will this curriculum do for my children that they cannot do without?