5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum



I have a love/hate relationship with homeschool curriculum.

I’m obsessed with looking at new curriculum.

Waiting for the delivery guy…

Opening the box…

That new curriculum smell…

I think I’ve purchased more homeschool curriculum than I can even use in the 18 years I’ll be homeschooling.

But that’s why I hate it. I keep purchasing all this curriculum then I never use half of it.

Over the past few years, looking at curriculum for my own kiddos and working with thousands of homeschooling families, I’ve learned the 5 important things that you need to consider before choosing a homeschool curriculum.

When you take the time to reflect on these 5 things, your homeschool curriculum choices start to narrow and choosing the best one for your family becomes super easy.

Your Goals

Before you even hit Google to begin your search, you need to define your goals. I recommend creating 3-4 goals per kid. If you reach those goals, you can always create more, but it’s better to just focus on a few at a time. 

I usually create 1 for math, 1 for reading, and 1 for writing. Make them specific and attainable within the school year. I tend to make goals that move them forward one small step until they fully master the skill.

By creating smaller goals, you and your child will feel more successful.

Now that you know your goals, you can begin looking for a curriculum that will help you achieve those goals.

Your Ideal Homeschool Day

Before you can consider how to start homeschooling, it’s important to think about your ideal homeschool day. If you lived in a perfect world, what would your homeschool day look like? What would you do? What would you learn about?

Write it all down and don’t hold back.

It’s a good idea to have your ideal homeschool day in your mind when looking for your homeschool curriculum. 

The chance of your ideal day happening may be slim, but if you’re using a curriculum that doesn’t even allow for your ideal day to happen then it never will.

It’s all about having the possibility of your ideal homeschool day.

Your Educational Philosophy

Let’s travel back in time with this one. Take time to reflect on your past educational experiences. What were your favorite subjects? What did you enjoy about your education? What didn’t you enjoy? What would you change about your educational experiences?

Use your answers to design your own educational philosophy for your homeschool.

An important thing to remember here…

You are not choosing a homeschool method. You’re taking your past educational experiences and creating your own unique educational philosophy. How do you want your educational experiences to go for your kiddos?

Your Child’s Learning Style

Most homeschool parents don’t use a child’s learning style correctly. They tend to use only their preferred learning style, but that can severely limit your child’s educational experiences.

All kids learn best through hands-on experiences, no matter what their learning style may be.

A learning style should be used to introduce new concepts/skills then a hands-on activity should follow it to help solidify the information that was learned.

For example, if your child is an auditory learner, you may watch a documentary on fossils and archeology. To help make this information stick, you could follow the video with a fossil dig.

But there is a catch with learning styles as well. Just because your child has a preferred learning style, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use other types of learning styles to introduce concepts. You should use a variety of learning styles throughout the year, especially if your child has a hard time grasping a concept.

By introducing concepts in a variety of ways, your child deepens their learning and develops a greater understanding.

So when you’re looking for a curriculum, you want to make sure the most prevalent learning style is your child’s preferred learning style, but it should also include hands-on activities and other activities that incorporate the other learning styles.

This tip alone should dramatically decrease your curriculum choices. As a quick guide, visual learners do best with literature based curriculum. Auditory learners do best with online/video based curriculum. Kinesthetic learners will do best with either since both should include hands-on activities.

The Right Way to Use a Homeschool Curriculum

Curriculum is not a means to an end. It should not be followed step by step or day by day.

Instead, curriculum is more like a road trip map. When you set out for a road trip, you usually have your end destination in mind, but all the pit stops along the way may not be planned.

A curriculum is the map to get to your end destination, but along the way your child may want to explore rabbit holes. You may spend more time on a certain concept that they are not fully grasping.

A curriculum is just an outline, not your full learning experience. When looking for the best homeschool curriculum for your kiddo, make sure it’s flexible and allows you to explore the pit stops along the way.

Need help choosing a curriculum? Click the image below to download our Choosing Curriculum Guide.

About Amanda

Amanda helps homeschoolers raise self-motivated learners by bringing the adventure of learning right into your living room. She’s the creator of The Captivated Learner and The Learning Lifestyle. Amanda is a single, entrepreneur, homeschooling mama of two kiddos. You can follow her on Facebook.