How to Choose A Homeschool Curriculum

When friends come to me with questions about homeschooling, how to choose a homeschool curriculum is always the number one thing they ask about. And truthfully, choosing a homeschool curriculum can be completely overwhelming! There are so many options! I’m a lover of research, and it still overwhelmed me in the beginning!

In this post, I will share some of my thoughts on how I chose our homeschool curriculum. We have tried some things that didn’t work for us, but we’ve also found some things that seem to be forever favorites. We re-evaluate every year and make adjustments as needed.

Things to consider when choosing a homeschool curriculum:

Learning and Teaching Style

I researched all the styles…Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Classical Conversations, etc… and didn’t really feel that we would fit completely in any one category. Our family has settled into a very eclectic style, and our curriculum choices reflect that.

We love exploring nature, but thrive on routine. Family style learning has been great for our science and history curriculum. I don’t prefer heavy “textbook” style learning in the elementary, especially, so that eliminated quite a few options.

You may have to try a few styles of curriculum in order to discover what will work best for your family. And sometimes, you may end up choosing one curriculum to meet one child’s needs and a different curriculum for another child. After researching various options, I chose our curriculum based on our needs for each subject.

Before we started our homeschool journey 4 years ago, I spoke with friends who homeschool and got their recommendations. I also went to a local homeschool consignment store that had many of the curriculums I was considering. It was extremely helpful to be able to look through entire books instead of just the sampling that is available online. Alternately, you could attend a homeschool convention with curriculum vendors. While I would love to attend a homeschool convention one day, that has not been a possibility for us so far.

Ultimately, I (often!) remind myself that there is no possible way I can completely educate my children with everything they need to know before graduation, so my main goal is to instill in them a love for learning and the ability to dig until they find the answers they need. Choosing a curriculum that works for a child’s learning style and keeps learning fun and exciting is my number one priority.

Cathy Duffy Reviews is a great online resource for exploring different curriculum options and just getting a feel for everything that’s out there. However, there are so many choices that it’s helpful to at least start with a few recommendations and go from there.

Family Size

I don’t know if our family is considered large in the homeschooling world, but it feels very large when I’m trying to schedule our day! I need my curriculum choices to work with me and for me. Some curriculums, while great for classroom use, are too much to manage while trying to educate multiple children. Some curriculums offer video classes, which are helpful, but are also more expensive.

I chose curriculums that are pretty much “open and go” on my part. This means that there is no separate teacher book. I am a former teacher, so initially this didn’t seem like it would be a good fit for my personality, but I quickly learned that too many moving parts made homeschooling my four children completely overwhelming!

I also chose a math curriculum that could be completed and graded online. This has allowed me the time I need to be able to help each child as needed, without having to teach every subject.


Homeschooling my children is my full-time job which means we are a one-income family living off of my husband’s salary. Consequently, we have to be extremely frugal with our homeschool budget. I am, however, willing to spend money on high quality materials and books that can be handed down from one grade to the next. We also have limited space to store supplies, so all-in-one options are great for us.

There are also many free curriculum options available that many people love and use. The Good and the Beautiful curriculum offers several levels of ELA as well as a couple of science units as free downloads. Easy Peasy is another popular free curriculum.

Family Beliefs and Values

We are a Christian family, so our curriculum choices reflect that. It is important to us that our children’s studies are presented from a Biblical worldview. There are many options available for Christians as well as for parents who prefer a curriculum with a secular worldview.

Our Current Curriculum Choices:


The Good and the Beautiful – My 2nd grader uses this for Math. It is open and go with the teacher plan included on each student page. It incorporates fun games and activities which my son loves.

Teaching Textbooks – My older three (5th & 7th grades) use Teaching Textbooks for Math. There are online versions available, but it is more economical for us to use the discs so that they can be handed down year after year. They sometimes need my help, but for the most part this curriculum explains everything very well and grades everything for me.

I will likely transition my youngest to Teaching Textbooks at some point as well. Currently, Teaching Textbooks doesn’t start until level three.

The Good and the Beautiful Math Curriculum
The Good and the Beautiful Math Curriculum


The Good and the Beautiful – We use The Good and the Beautiful for all of our ELA. We tried Bob Jones, and while I love the actual curriculum as a former English teacher, it did not work well for our schedule.

Starting in Level 4, TGTB ELA is written to the students for independent learning. There are a few things that I have to dictate or listen to each day, but it’s very minimal and completely manageable.

I also love that TGTB incorporates art and geography along with their complete LA program (writing, grammar, spelling, literature). With a previous curriculum, I felt we never had time to do art, so this system has been a blessing.

Each grade level is contained into 1-2 course books and a few readers – all which fit nicely into our tote system organization.

I also use TGTB for Handwriting. I love the rainbow system they use to show the correct formation of letters.

Honorable mentions: Fix It Grammar – I love the idea behind this and may incorporate it at some point. But for now, I take 15-20 minutes each morning with my older kids and teach them grammar “classroom style.” We’ve also used (and loved) Easy Grammar (with Daily Grams). But as previously mentioned, TGTB incorporates art and geography which helps us fill in some gaps.

The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Curriculum


Apologia – We have used Apologia for the past three years and have zero complaints.

We use the Young Explorer series until Junior High, and we use it for family style learning. Each of my children has their own Apologia note-booking journal as well. My youngest uses the Junior version.

My oldest son transitioned this year to General Science with Apologia as it is designed specifically for junior high students to begin more independent learning. We purchased the videos for him as well. This option was pricey, but we consider it worth the investment. He also uses the coordinating notebook published by Apologia.


The Good and the Beautiful – We are in our 3rd year of The Good and the Beautiful’s 4 year family style history course. We will finish it next year and then will switch to something else. My son will be going into high school at that point and will likely do an independent course.

In keeping with TGTB’s style, this curriculum is open and go. We love the story audio recordings and game options from year to year as well.

Our favorite part of history is TEA! We use this time to come together for flavored hot tea and a snack, and the kiddos absolutely love it.

While this curriculum has worked great for us for 3 years, I am ready for a change. My children, however, have asked that we not change until we finish year 4. Since their desire to learn is my top priority, I’m sticking with it for another year. My main complaint (though it’s not really a complaint) is that I find myself having to supplement with a lot of videos and books outside of the main curriculum so that we can dive deeper into some of the topics. But I’ve realized that a lot of history curriculums are that way, so I may not find anything that I like better than TGTB. I’m considering Notgrass History and The Mystery of History.

The Good and the Beautiful History Curriculum Year 3


All About Reading and All About Spelling – I used this for my youngest in kindergarten and continued with first grade. He fell in love with the mascot, Ziggy, and thrived with the learning style. I still use it along with TGTB because we are familiar with the way the phonics and spelling rules are stated in the All About Learning curriculum. It actually pairs very nicely with TGTB Language arts.

Typing Club – It’s online and FREE. My kids love it and actually do extra lessons just for fun.

We do not currently use a separate Bible curriculum. We have family devotions nightly and use various devotional books for that. I plan to incorporate a Bible curriculum once my children start high school.

Readers in Residence – My oldest three use this curriculum. I love the detailed approach and that they can complete this independently. I believe it is currently discontinued, but still available on Christian Book’s website. There are plans for it to be re-published.

Trim Healthy You – This is our current Health and Nutrition curriculum. There are several levels available, but we are currently using the beginner level intended for grades 3-5. This is also a family style curriculum. It includes recipe cards that are kid-friendly. Our family has followed the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle for many years. My oldest son has Type 1 Diabetes, and this way of eating is very blood sugar friendly.


I spend time each year researching new options for our curriculum choices. I do try to incorporate something new every year just to keep things exciting. It’s very helpful for me to have a way to organize all my curriculum research, so I designed this printable to keep all the info in one place. It also allows me to have a record of curriculums we’ve completed in past years. You can download it for yourself by clicking on the picture.

Curriculum Planning Page
Curriculum Planning Page

I hope this was helpful…we really try to just keep things as simple as possible. Homeschooling can get pretty overwhelming fairly quickly, so choosing a homeschool curriculum that works with our family schedule and personalities is very important!!

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