There are two main choices in selecting curriculum for homeschooling. You can choose a complete curriculum or create a custom program by choosing curriculum specific for each subject. A complete curriculum will come with a full syllabus and plan to guide you through a school year. Subject-based curricula generally have a teacher’s guide you can follow but allow you the flexibility as to which subjects you want to include in your child’s schooling.
The advantages of a complete curriculum are:
- You can buy your annual curriculum in one stop. This gives you the peace of mind of eliminating many of the decisions you’d have to take if you went the custom route.
- An all-in-one curriculum can have a higher probability of connecting across subjects as the curriculum was designed and created by the same set of experts.
- Coaching/Mentoring may be available
- Accreditation of complete curriculum is more common at the high school level.
The disadvantages are:
- It’s difficult for a complete curriculum provider to maintain expertise across all subject areas. You may encounter varying quality.
- Improvements can be slower than curriculum focused on one subject area.
- Your financial and time commitment are greater. You may be tied to a program with possible difficulties to withdraw if it doesn’t work out.
The advantages of choosing curriculum by subject area are:
- You get to choose what’s best for your child program by program. This allows you to address their strengths.
- Selecting curricula one at a time can be less expensive.
- You have more flexibility in how you homeschool.
Disadvantages with buying curriculum by subject area are:
- The many choices of programs available can be overwhelming.
- You may need to rely on a homeschool coach or cooperative for guidance/help.
- Subject areas may be overlooked if a broader plan isn’t created/followed.