Choosing a secular homeschool curriculum can be daunting. There are so many to choose from and it can be tough to determine which one is right for you and your family. Picking your curriculum whether you have been homeschooling for years, or this is your first year, there is a lot to think about when you pick curriculum.
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Secular Homeschool Curriculum – How to Choose One
There is no one secular homeschool curriculum that is perfect for every family. However, there are some key features that all secular homeschool curriculums share.
First and foremost, secular curriculums should be grounded in evidence-based learning principles. They should also include opportunities for hands-on learning and creative expression, and be flexible enough to accommodate a variety of interests and learning styles.
I don’t know if you’ll find the perfect secular homeschool curriculum right off, but let’s see what we can do. I have spent a lot of time looking at curriculum options, there are a lot.
Cost tends to be the deal-breaker when shopping for curriculum. It can get really expensive if you are buying all brand new, and all the materials the company sells. I understand, and I can’t afford to buy a brand new curriculum each year for each of my kids either.
There are other options:
- buying used curriculum from websites or Facebook homeschooling groups
- borrowing books from the library
Don’t look at what a curriculum has to offer before looking at the price. Look at the price of shipping too. Shipping curriculum to Canada is super expensive.
You don’t have to go broke to educate your children. Take a look at the price of a curriculum first, before you fall in love with it. If it is out of your price range, move on. There is curriculum out there for you. You may have to move away from the idea of a boxed curriculum though.
Secular Homeschool Curriculum Canada – Here in Canada we have to look at the US price and convert it to CAD, and then we tend to get sticker shock over the shipping cost. OUCH!
How to Save on Your Curriculum
I had my eye on BookShark, but it was kind of out of my price range, especially if I didn’t want to spend more than our school board reimburses us.
BookShark has their Instructor Guides sold separately so you can use their curriculum guide, but not buy the books or any other extras. You can then borrow from the library or buy second-hand.
You still get the great BookShark curriculum guide and planning done for you. The Instructor Guide is where you will find your secular homeschool schedule, what books are needed, and more.
Independent or Teacher Lead Curriculum
How old are your kids? Are they ready for independent learning or are you still very much involved in every part of it?
This is really important to find out, otherwise, you might find yourself sitting down with your child unexpectedly while you are trying to work on your business or with another child.
Your old children, grades 5 and up, might be ready for more independent lessons. While younger children need you to work with them more.
Teaching Method or Approach
What learning approach will you be following? Through time I’ve learned that we are eclectic homeschoolers. I think that the most beneficial thing we did in our first two years of homeschooling was to just be.
We did bookwork, we did unschooling, and whatever else. It helped us find our groove, find what worked for us. We didn’t waste curriculum this way which was perfect for our budget and found out what kind of “work” works best for our family right now.
Computer-based homeschool curriculum or bookwork is the first big question for me. For the last few years, I didn’t want much of any of their school work to do on the computer. But as they have grown things have changed. We have been using Teaching Textbooks, CTCMath, and Write at Home.
I wanted to focus on penmanship and hands-on which Bookshark has been great for. Some of the books have links you can follow online for more information/education but you don’t have to. Literature-based curriculum is right up our alley.
A Secular Homeschool Curriculum that You’ll Use
Here is the big one: are you going to use that big shiny, new curriculum? You don’t want to have the biggest, shiniest curriculum just because Jane down the street is using it.
If you are part of a homeschool group ask the other homeschool parents what they use and if you could take a look at it if it is something you think you may be interested in.
Homeschool conventions are great for looking at a curriculum before making buying, just try to not buy everything! I’m big on seeing before purchasing, flipping through the pages, and reading a lesson plan.
Don’t jump into a curriculum. Yes, there are ways to make a curriculum work for you even if it ends up not being everything you dreamt it would be, but save yourself the stress, and heartache in the beginning.