Curriculum that we use

Which Curriculum is Best?

Religious Homeschool Curriculum

We are secular homeschoolers. Religion really has nothing to do with why or how we homeschool. But, because a lot of the homeschool curriculum out there is published from a Christian worldview, sometimes we use programs that have a religious slant. Currently we are using Christian Light Education’s math program (CLE). When we first started homeschooling, I searched for a program that would meet our specific needs. My girls needed review, they needed to master their math facts, and I had just brought home a classroom full of supplies and didn’t need any bells and whistles. CLE is gentle in its approach and provides a ton of spiral review. It is also extremely affordable- a little over $30 for the year. CLE is published by a Mennonite company. In fact, they are based right near us! We’ve been to visit several times and they are incredibly helpful. I do supplement the program, but so far, it works perfectly for our family. We tried using the language arts but it was too religious for us. When you look at curriculum, try not to discount something just because it is religious. There are a lot of great programs out there and you can tweak them a bit to meet your needs. Remember, you are the one doing the teaching, not the curriculum. It’s more important that you choose a method that works for you and your child.

 Secular Homeschool Curriculum

Traditional school publishers are catching the homeschool wave, big time. Even in the last three years there has been a growth in the availability of secular homeschooling materials. Other secular homeschool materials are published by homeschool parents or publishing companies that market directly to homeschoolers. There are many solid options for math, writing, and grammar. Secular science continues to be a difficult subject to find, however. There are a few secular programs out there, but if someone could develop a rigorous, easy to implement science program for elementary homeschool students, they’d make a lot of money.

 Homeschool Curriculum We Love

Three years into this gig, we definitely have our favorites. My homeschool manual that I adore and rave about is The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer, a college professor and homeschool mother. It’s the book I recommend to all first time homeschoolers. Even if you end up taking a completely different approach to academics, the book provides invaluable insight into the reasons behind curriculum choices and serves as a preschool through high school guide to homeschooling. Susan Wise Bauer presents a classical approach to homeschooling based on the trivium, but you don’t have to follow her guide exactly to reap the benefits of her experience and expertise.

Our absolute must-have is Story of the World. It’s an amazing four year history program for elementary students that has a companion teacher’s guide and activity book. It is the best time of day at our house. If you missed the mummified chicken, check it out!

For elementary writing we love Writing with Ease, also authored by Susan Wise Bauer.

For language we are sold on Susan’s First Language Lessons.

For spelling in the elementary grades, I’m in love with All About Spelling (for which I am an affiliate), an Orton Gillingham, multisensory approach. For 5th grade and up, we are enjoying Megawords.