Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homeschool Series #3: How Do I Choose a Curriculum?

After you decide that you want to homeschool your treasures, the next thing to determine is what kind of curriculum you want to use! :) This can be a daunting task, but choosing the best curriculum for your child does not come without its rewards.

All Curriculum Are NOT Created Equal

There are three basic types of curriculum, and deciding which to use depends largely on how your child best learns. Some children are sight-learners, and some are auditory learners. If your child can follow directions easily and get things right pretty easily without needing the task demonstrated, he is most likely an auditory learner. However, if your child needs things to be demonstrated step by step before they are able to complete a new task, then she is most likely a visual learner. 

Knowing which learning style category your child falls into will help a lot when it comes to choosing a curriculum. If your child is a visual learner, they will do best with either a self-paced curriculum, where they read the material themselves, then do the work, or a teacher-based curriculum that has lots and lots of visual tools. An auditory learner will learn best when they can hear someone teaching the curriculum.

Self-Paced Curriculum

This is a curriculum where your child's book has basically everything in it that they need. The student will read the lesson, then answer the questions about the lesson. Most self-paced curriculum comes with an answer key that the student uses to score their own work, although you can score it yourself if you like. 

The downside of self-paced curriculum is that the parent may not be familiar with what their child is learning should they need a question answered. This is not usually a problem in the lower grades, but it can become an issue once they get into the upper levels in Math and English that we, who have not been in school for many years, may not understand or remember!

We use a self-paced curriculum called Landmark's Freedom Baptist Curriculum (LFBC). We really like it, and so does our second grader. There is another self-paced curriculum I also recommend, called Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.) This is also a great curriculum. 

Teacher-Based Curriculum

This is a curriculum that is taught to the student by a teacher, namely Momma and Daddy :). Even curriculums that are marketed as self-paced are teacher-based for the Kindergarten year and some of the First Grade year--until the student can read well on their own. 

Teacher-based curriculums have their pros! Mom and Dad know exactly what Billy Bob or Suzy Joe are learning and are able to answer any questions that might arise. This also necessitates a more active participation from the parents, which is healthy for the child (a parent can be interactive in a self-paced curriculum too, but without it being necessary, it can fall to the wayside when life gets busy).

The down side of this kind of curriculum is that it requires extra study hours for Mom... time she could be doing things with her children or around her home. This curriculum also does not give Mom long breaks to get her work done while her child is doing his schooling, like a Self-Paced curriculum does.

Hannah is starting K-4 this year, so she we will be using a teacher-based curriculum for her, of course. We will be using LFBC this year and next year for her, but we may have to switch to a different curriculum for her later since she is an auditory learner. For teacher-based curriculums, I really like ABeka and Saxon (for Math).


There are curriculums, like ABeka, that offer a DVD learning system. In this curriculum, your child will sit in front of a T.V., watching a real teacher in a real classroom teach real lessons. Your child will sit at a desk and do the work right along with the class on the DVD. This curriculum are a good choice for teaching an auditory learner when you are not able to teach them yourself.

Alpha Omega Homeschooling also has a multi-media curriculum. It is computer based learning. Click here to learn more.


You do not necessarily have to purchase a curriculum either! There are many ways out there to homeschool your child for free! If you have not already, I highly recommend that you subscribe to the blog, Freely Educate. She has a whole slew of ideas on homeschooling your child for free! There is also another blog, Homeschool Buyers Co-op, that has a lot of free resources and curriculums listed. Other great sites include: Curriculum Share; Successful Homeschooling; A2Z Home's Cool Homeschooling; and Everything Homeschooling

Don't worry! You will do great! Just pray about it, and God will show you what is best for your family and for your child!

God Bless,

Author of The Fanatics

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