If you’re not sure where to start when selecting homeschool curriculum, an all-in-one program can help! A true all-in-one program includes the four core subjects necessary for a solid educational foundation: history, science, language arts, and math. Some programs may require math or science be added on, and electives such as Bible, fine arts, health, etc. are usually available as add-ons.
Preschool and kindergarten are fun years academically, but they also have very unique needs that cannot be met by the standard approaches of the elementary years. The best early learning programs focus on phonics and math and include a wide variety of manipulatives, educational toys, and learning games.
There are many components to language arts, including phonics, reading, grammar, spelling, and handwriting. Sometimes it’s helpful to find a program that incorporates all the aspects of language arts, but it’s also okay to mix and match to meet your student’s learning needs.
Math curriculum descriptions often indicate whether a spiral or mastery approach is followed. Spiral means that new concepts are being continually introduced while recent concepts are being solidified and older concepts reviewed. Mastery also offers frequent review of older concepts, but new concepts are always firmly cemented before moving on to the next new lesson.
History can be approached through thematic unit studies, chronological history cycles, or a focus on a specific part of the world. You can narrow down history programs by considering each approach and determining which one fits your teaching style best.
Science can be an intimidating subject to figure out because there are so many options! As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that, through about sixth grade, science is more about exploration and fun, hands-on learning. More academic, focused science begins in about seventh grade to prepare for high school.
Electives cover such a wide variety of options, including subjects that you might consider to be more necessity than elective, especially for high schoolers. Consider this tip: the cores (history, science, language arts, and math) must be included every year. Electives include any subject beyond those four core subjects.