Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

Updated: May 15, 2019

Complete curriculum packages

With some minor variations among suppliers, everything you need to begin schooling at home is included -- teacher guides, books, study sheets, tests, activities, report cards, etc. Completed work is mailed to an assigned teacher who corrects, comments, and grades your child. Transcripts are kept and a diploma (in most cases) is given upon completion of the program. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular home-study providers:

A Beka Correspondence Program (www.abeka.org)
Bible curriculum from a Christian perspective for grades K – 12
Provides record-keeping, textbooks and curriculum
Highly structured, weekly tests, programmed approach (drill and repetition)
Cost: $655 for grades 1 – 6; $800 grades 7 – 12

Calvert School (calvertschool.org)
Nondenominational program with a Christian flavor, emphasizing Western cultural heritage, classic art, and creative writing for grades K – 8
Provides full support services, teacher manuals, and all needed school supplies
Very hands-on for parents in the lower grades; upper grades are progressively self-instructional
Cost: approximately $550 to $900

Clonlara School Home Based Education Program (www.clonlara.org)
Progressive nonsectarian program for grades K – 12
Provides full support services, curriculum to use as a starting point, and guidebooks for choosing learning materials
Relaxed learning and individualized programs providing structure without pressure
Cost: Approximately $550 to $650

Oak Meadow School (www.oakmeadow.com)
A holistic, nonsectarian program accommodating a wide variety of learning styles for grades K – 12
Provides full support services, curriculum, and all materials; every enrolled child has a class teacher available for phone or email consultation
Hands-on learning, emphasizing imaginative activities and creative thinking
Cost: Approximately $1,000 for grades K – 8; $2,000 for high-school full correspondence program, including class teacher

Seton Home Study School (www.setonhome.org)
Catholic program, featuring academic preparation for college, for grades K – 12
Provides full record-keeping services, workbook/textbooks with Seton lesson guides, and extensive phone and mail consultation services
Textbook-oriented, emphasizing traditional Catholic values in all areas of knowledge
Cost: Approximately $500

Sonlight Curriculum, Ltd. (www.sonlight.com)
Literature-based program from a Christian perspective for grades K – 12
Provides textbooks, curriculum, and supplies
The only curricula supplier that offers an eight-week trial with full refund if not satisfied
Cost: Basic package costs approximately $600; users report purchasing additional Sonlight items, raising the costs considerably

Advantages: If you're new to homeschooling, a full curriculum package is the easiest choice. For families who wish to make religion a part of their children's education, a prepackaged curriculum from a religious supplier fits this need. If you crave structure, are uncertain about meeting your homeschooling legal requirements (the school handles all reporting requirements), or want to replicate the school model at home, then full curriculum packages are for you.

Disadvantages: These packages can be very expensive. Satisfaction levels vary. Your children may resist the structure or the program's style, and new homeschooling parents may be overwhelmed by the amount work involved. Dr. Raymond Moore, university teacher-education dean and curriculum specialist, has observed: "Parents often choose curriculum packages because that's the way they were taught. Many are uneasy with programs that encourage freedom or imagination. Yet those who use mass education (curricula) for homeschooling are the most frequent burnouts."