QUICK PICK CURRICULUM LIST
GRADE-LEVEL OPEN & GO CURRICULUM OPTIONS
SECULAR CURRICULUM TOP PICKS
FAITH-BASED CURRICULUM TOP PICKS
ALL SUBJECTS (ALL IN ONE): These packages include all subjects, inclusive of electives. There is little to no parent prep required. Most offer a la carte subject offerings as well. These options are great for people just starting out or for those who don't want to spend a lot of time planning.
SUBJECT-SPECIFIC: FAITH-BASED, PRINT
WHY THESE MADE THE LIST
OPEN & GO
Each selection on my list offers an "open and go" experience, meaning the lesson plans are written out for the parent in an easy-to-follow, organized fashion. Most are designed to provide enough content for an entire school year, or "1 full credit" (1 Carnegie Unit) for high schoolers. Print curriculum will generally include a teacher guide with full instructions on how to teach each lesson, student resource books (texts, readers), and student work books. Supplemental activities and suggestions will also be included in the curriculum. These require very little parent preparation and are great for people new to teaching or for those who don't want to spend endless hours planning.
The content of these courses is based on national/state standards. Parents can be assured that students will receive content that meets or exceeds grade-level state or national standards. It is important to note that some options are more traditional in their instructional approach and may (or my not) align to Common Core standards. The publisher offers clear course objectives, a full scope and sequence, and an organized syllabus for each course. Most of my picks focus on grade-level content, though a few options are geared to multi-age learning.
Lessons are organized, thorough, and easy to understand. They offer age-appropriate expectations for time and effort spent on each lesson and instructional delivery is is geared to the age/grade of the intended target audience. Content or instructional delivery draws the learner's attention, is visually appealing, and invites the learner to explore, enjoy, and understand the material being taught. Ample opportunity for critical thinking through open-ended questions is offered throughout content delivery.
CHECKS FOR UNDERSTANDING
Students are prompted to demonstrate understanding at the end of each lesson. A VARIETY of authentic assessments should be in place to monitor student progress. Assessment questions should reflect both closed and open-ended answers, ensuring the student has an opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and synthesis of understanding over rote memorization. Interactive experiences such as working out problems, writing assignments, games, matching activities, skills and drills practice, auditory or visual discrimination activities, etc. are part of the assessment process and are delivered in a way that engages and excites the learner.
MULTI-MODALITY OR CROSS CURRICULAR ENRICHMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Suggestions for enrichment opportunities are offered at the end of each lesson or unit. These opportunities should inspire or excite students to learn more about the subject as independent learners. Activities should be varied and inspire multi-modality learning (visual, auditory, hands-on, physical, etc.) and/or make cross-curricular connections through experiences such as writing, drawing, art, explorations, investigations, research, outdoor connections, suggestions for field trips, etc.
CHOOSING THE "BEST" CURRICULUM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no "best" curriculum. But the good news is that there may be one that is "best-suited" to YOUR child. When picking a curriculum be sure to keep learning styles, time constraints, parent's desired level of involvement, your child's future goals, ability to focus, beliefs, etc. in mind. Some curriculum demands hours and hours of work and are highly rigorous, while other programs can be done in 2 hours, leaving more time in the day to do as you please.
This list features "open and go" curriculum options that deliver a comprehensive learning experience to the intended audience with little to no parent preparation (you may still need to heavily involved though!). Christian publishers have dominated the homeschool market for decades. If you are looking for traditional, standards-based textbook/workbook model, the Christian publishers offer the most variety. Some Christian publishers have now entered the online arena, though options are still fairly limited or deliver older content on a new platform. That said, most of these publishers include e-texts and workbooks, which does offer a more wholistic experience for the learner than video-instruction only. Secular publishers seem to dominate the all-in-one online arena, providing several options for families who want a done-for-you video-delivery platform. These programs are fairly low-cost and will provide a 'basic' education, but certainly leave room for hands-on enrichment as they are primarily 'receptive' in nature (watch, answer questions, repeat). Given the concise nature of video instruction, learners will spend much less time on these platforms, which is a huge draw for some folks. Just be sure to have a 'plan' for what you want your child to be doing the rest of the day (learning, playing, pursuing interests, etc.). While there are seemingly fewer "traditional" standards-based all-in-one textbook/workbook options offered by secular publishers, there are numerous literature-based /non-traditional options. These options may be costly (books are expensive!), but provide a more "current" approach to learning. Literature-based programs tend to provide more enriching learning experience for students as learning is tied to literature, themes, and 'living' stories, but they do require substantial time, preparation, and...well....reading! Remember....LET YOUR PURPOSE DRIVE YOUR PLAN.