If you’re a natural researcher and you love digging in and sorting through all the options, you might not need this post at all.

But if the plethora of options has you feeling unsure where to start, you might find these tips helpful. 

Of course, everyone’s approach to decision making is different. So please don’t think of this as much as a step-by-step process as helpful diving-in points that fit your style.

Cathy Duffy’s curriculum reviews are a great place to start. One of the most comprehensive collections of homeschool curriculum reviews out there, her website has all kinds of great search features that let you drill down to what you’re looking for. 

Before you dive in, you may want to have your child’s learning preference, your teaching style, educational philosophy, and your child’s educational goals handy.

  • Teaching a teen? You'll also want to have their high school plan nearby. 
  • Teaching a child who might have or has been diagnosed with special needs? You may want to set up a Student Education Plan for them and check out some specific resources for children who learn differently.

On Cathy’s site you can filter by age, grade level, learning preference or style, educational philosophy, and more! 

As you see curriculum that looks like a good fit or intriguing, you can pop it into your list or Pinterest board. This helps you organize your options and start to refine your choices.

Now that you have a list and options, you might want to dig deeper by getting some hands-on access and some real-life testimonials. Here are some good sources for that!

  • Talk to homeschool moms you know (One of them might have tried it with one of her kids and can tell you how it works. Take into account her child’s learning preferences. She may even have some of her curriculum left over that she could lend you so you could spend time looking at it.)
  • Crowd-source your questions on Facebook.
  • Go to homeschool conferences with curriculum exhibit halls where you can see and touch the curriculum and talk to the publishers.
  • Find reviews on YouTube and blogs by homeschool parents.
  • Find reviews at online retailers like Amazon and Christianbook.

You may have noticed that curriculum comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes it covers every subject, sometimes it covers just one subject—like English or math. It might be textbook-based or completely online. It might be highly structured, even providing lesson plans—or allow you total freedom in planning out your year.

There’s a style to fit every child. You can even go eclectic—mixing and matching parts of different types of curriculum.

You get to choose your own adventure—have fun!

How much does curriculum cost? Read more in Part 2—Homeschooling on a Budget . . .or No Budget?