As we begin home school, I have asked all the wisest seasoned home school moms for the best home school curriculum out there – come read all their advice!
Well, we’ve officially decided to home school this next year. I shared my thought process going into this decision on my Instagram stories. While the pandemic is essentially forcing our hand in this situation, I’m choosing to see this as a family adventure, and a time we will never get back.
With Heidi turning two, and the other kids turning 5 and 7 all within 2.5 months of each other, I am hyper aware that time is moving so fast, even if the world seems like it’s standing still. By choosing home school this year, we are choosing a slower life. We’re choosing hands on experiences, a slowed down childhood, more time for hands on learning, and adopting a mentality of “our whole life is learning” with our kids.
Will this be easy with the ages they’re at? Not at all! I think my biggest challenge will be keeping Heidi busy while trying to teach Nora kindergarten concepts and trying to keep Isaac challenged. BUT I do believe that with a whole lot of grace and prayer, we can make this the best year for our family yet.
What kind of home schooling philosophy is best for our family?
I asked so many wise moms in my Instagram community what their best advice was for new home school moms, and also asked for curriculum ideas, since we haven’t committed to a curriculum yet.
Since I know not all of you have a large pool of women from all over the world to ask, I wanted to share their answers in this blog post so it could be a helpful resource for you!
Before we try to answer this question of “which curriculum is best” – I think it’s really important to note one thing. Home schooling is NOT “one size fits all”. Every parent is so different in the way they approach education, and each child is so different in the way they learn. If a curriculum is a God-send to one family, it might be torture for another.
Before you begin to look at curriculums – it is important to see what homeschool philosophy lines up with your personal style and beliefs. This quiz was recommended to me and I thought it was really helpful!
In case you’re interested, when I took the quiz I scored highest with the “Charlotte Mason” approach, and then second with the “Montessori Education” approach. This seems pretty on par with the things I’ve been consuming as inspiration for our homeschool, so that was encouraging!
BUT if you take that quiz, it’s helpful to learn just how many approaches there are to home schooling. And each family/child is SO different in their approach! So please know that before you look at this list of curriculum.
A very important piece of advice:
As you begin your homeschooling journey, it’s tempting to buy *all the curriculum pieces* and make *all the schedules* and have *all the ideas* right away. And while that shows how you’re committing to making this work, you might get discouraged if those things you so carefully picked out and planned aren’t the best fit for your child and your teaching style.
Here’s what I keep hearing from seasoned homeschool moms: it’s OK to not have it all figured out right away. It’s OK to change course and to ditch things that aren’t working for your family.
Since my kids are still little, we are taking it slow. We are choosing to do lots of interest-led learning alongside a curriculum of math and reading. While I am tempted to work on getting more than that, it seems like it’s the most realistic way for us to start. We have other avenues for my kids to learn science and history that are already part of our lives, and will focus on things like handwriting and other smaller components as time goes on.
What home school curriculum is best?
Obviously “best” will very greatly between families.
The common theme that I’ve seen with responses from veteran homeschool moms is the fact that they rarely stayed with the same curriculum that they started with originally. Once they learned how they taught best and how their children learned best, many of them changed curriculums throughout the years. So it’s really important to remember that! If homeschooling feels unnatural and hard for you, it might not be a reason to say “homeschooling isn’t for us!” – but you may need to adjust HOW you’re approaching it and what curriculum fits your family best.
Let’s start with the “big box home school curriculum” – which is kind of a one stop shop for a full curriculum.
This is a good option if piecing together options is stressful for you, and if you would like to have everything organized by one company for a consistent approach. A lot of times, there is little prep involved, and you’re able to “open and start” when you start your homeschooling day.
However, big box curriculums can be more expensive, and it is a big commitment to make. You might feel limited creatively with a curriculum that is already planned out for you. But it could also give you a sense of security! So just realize these things and recognize what works best for your personality before you commit to a big box curriculum!
Here are the top big box curriculum suggestions I received:
- Moving Beyond the Page
- Classical Conversations
- The Good and the Beautiful
- I’m going to risk being controversial for a moment. We are Christians, and we are not Mormon. The Good and the Beautiful curriculum is written by a Mormon – which does NOT make it wrong or bad, but is very important for Christians to realize this before they commit to the curriculum.
- This article was helpful for me to decide not to consider this curriculum for our family. BUT I will say I know of many Christians that have used and love this curriculum! I am never here to judge, but I do think it’s a very important piece of information for Christians considering this curriculum.
There are many options available for “a la carte” homeschooling options. The benefits of this are that they are usually a smaller financial commitment, and it’s less of a risk to purchase one. You can learn what works for your family and experiment with a variety of different approaches this way.
- Heritage Mom
- I am purchasing these for my kids (the only other piece besides reading & math right now) and I can’t wait!!
- Master Books
- Gather ‘Round Homeschool
- Simply Charlotte Mason
- Ambleside online
- Learning without Tears
- and the highly recommended Handwriting without Tears
- A Gentle Feast
- My Father’s World
- Exploring Nature with Children
- Logic of English
Other educational resources:
For preschool aged kids:
I am speaking more towards elementary aged kids with these resources above, but there are some really rich preschool homeschool resources out there! Here are a few that come highly recommended:
Best Instagram accounts to follow for home school wisdom:
No matter WHAT curriculum you purchase, you’re likely going to want to see how other people actually live out this home schooling life. There is a whole community of parents out there that are home schooling their kids and sharing their lives online while they do it.
These women all have different educational approaches, but I personally love following people that approach life differently than I do! Here are some of my favorites I’ve found (please leave more in the comments for others to follow if you have some you love!)
Beautiful, inspiring, insightful & nature-filled exploratory homeschool account.
Like the name – read-aloud and literacy focused.
Charlotte Mason / classical homeschool – nature loving homeschool family
Homeschool truths, bold style and encouragement
Full time RV family sharing traveling homeschool inspiration
Attachment parenting and homeschooling preschool aged kids
Resources for a new home school mom:
This time can be overwhelming and there are a LOT of voices out there that have great things to say.
Here’s some of my favorite places I’ve learned about homeschooling from – and not just the “how to’s” …but the attitude towards learning, educating, discipling our children, and raising a family.
This book: The Call of the Wild and Free
I’m going through it for a second time now (I listen to it on Audible) and it’s so reassuring! Even if I don’t see myself schooling exactly as the author does, she promotes a sense of calm about teaching your children, and helps you feel empowered to embark on this new journey.
This podcast: At Home with Sally
I have been listening to Sally for years now, and now more than ever as I begin this homeschooling chapter! If you are a Christian mom, I strongly urge you to check her out. She is so wise, and has a heart for discipling women. She homeschooled her 4 kids in a way that was probably a little counter-cultural for her time, but as they’ve grown up, they have all been successful in their careers, are close as a family, have a love of learning, and are strong in their faith. So – people have realized she has a lot of wisdom to share! I personally love how she always points back to biblical wisdom and never claims to have every answer. If you don’t know of her yet -I hope you give her a chance!
Also – her book is coming out SOON and I can’t wait to read it!! I will be getting my copy of “Awaking Wonder” as soon as it is available – you can pre-order it here.
I’ll share more resources on my Instagram but I’ll stop here since the goal is to HELP but not to OVERWHELM. I hope that this post can make you feel more confident in your decisions as you choose a homeschooling style, pick a home school curriculum , and begin this season with confidence and grace!
I started a new page on my blog where I’ll share all of my homeschool posts – check it out here as I add to it throughout the year!
If this was helpful for you – could you please pin one of the images below? This way you can save the post for reference and share with others! Thank you so much for your support!