Homeschool curriculums and programmes
Parents are becoming more and more comfortable with the homeschooling option for their children, given its many advantages and benefits for both parents and their kids. However, there are several key considerations to take into account before sealing the deal when it comes to picking a curriculum and programmes which suit your child the best. Here are a few helpful pointers.
Once you’ve decided to homeschool your child and have taken the necessary steps to do so legally, you’ll want to make sure you select the right curriculum and online programmes for your kid and for you too.
Getting with the programme
A ‘right’ curriculum is one that:
- Meets the standards of learning for that particular grade level
- Offers a variety of projects and methods of comprehension (matching, essays, fill in the blanks, etc.)
- Is conducive with your child’s learning style.
- Offers teachers help, lesson plans and comprehension tests or has an accountability system with a virtual instructor
- Is one you will follow through with*
Aren’t they all alike?
No! And no, again! The business of homeschool curricula and materials is just that–a business. And as it is with any other business, some are more reputable than others. Some are of a higher calibre than others and some do a better job of teaching your children in such a way that they comprehend and retain the lessons better than others.
Homeschool curriculum systems usually come in the form of text books, work books, CDs and hands-on materials. Programmes, on the other hand, are web-based. The student will be enrolled in an online distance learning programme through a university or public school system. The student will need to purchase a required text book and submit lessons online. Tests are proctored by a disinterested third party and sent to the sponsoring school for grading.
Sounds simple enough, but is it really? When you take a look at what’s out there, it can be mind boggling if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Maybe this will help…
The following is a list of the highest rated homeschool curriculums and web-based programmes. You will probably notice that many of the curriculum choices are Christian-based. Why is that? Well, the fact is that the surge in homeschooling stems from families wishing to limit their children’s exposure to the not-so-pleasant offerings of this world (violence, drugs, bullying, premarital sex, etc.). These curriculum packages may or may not have Bible stories, but will have a feeling of being kind, compassionate and loving others as you would yourself.
The programmes that are web-based will almost always be secular. They will have time frames for completion, grading scales and minimal requirements for passing the class.
- Accelerated Christian Education
- BYU Independent Study
- Calvert School
- Global Student Network
- International Virtual Learning Academy
- MU High School
- Alpha Omega LifePacs
- ACE School of Tomorrow
What not to use
Remember–this is a business and there are some homeschool businesses that just don’t make the grade. Rather than equip your child for the next grade and ultimately a successful life, they serve their own purposes, teach little and offer watered-down education that leaves children ill-prepared and fearful of the world.
- Abeka is a program you either love or hate. It is found to be time consuming by some and more Bible-based than educational.
- Bob Jones users and former users often complain that there is a lot of unnecessary fluff that really doesn’t accomplish anything.
- My Father’s World throws a few books together with toys and interactive items they get off the home shopping network and sell them as home schooling materials. They do write a few of their books-but those are nothing more than Bible story coloring books.
What does it cost
The cost of these curriculum packages and programmes vary. You can purchase each class separately or as a whole grade for elementary and middle school grades. High school is usually done per class. You can compare costs and materials, as most will allow you to view samples online or by mail.
The education of your children is not something to be taken lightly. If you are set on homeschooling, you need to be just as committed to giving your children the best opportunities and education possible.
For parents contemplating the homeschool option for your child, do consider the guidelines outlines in this special piece on education. Happy reading and good luck on picking the right curriculum for your child!