26 Jul, 2021 Homeschool Curriculum’s – An Experts Guide To The Best
by Gina McAndrew
How on Earth are we supposed to know which one is best?
So you’ve got your tickets, your suitcase on wheels, and your kids are farmed out for the day. You walk into the local homeschool expo hoping to be the next “super mom” and suddenly you are overcome by a crippling panic attack. You look around and everybody else looks so happy. The angels are singing. The moms are smiling. The vendors are REALLY smiling.
But here you are, completely overwhelmed at all of the curriculum to choose from. After you stop hyperventilating, you wonder “What’s a mom to do, and what is their secret to happiness?”
Just starting out.
At this point, there are so many ways the scenario can end. You could drop everything and run out as fast as you can. What were you thinking anyway? But instead of listening to that “not-so-small” voice in your head, adjust your bags and rebuke those lies. These are YOUR kids that you’re teaching. Not anyone else’s. They belong to you, and you can do this! And guess what? No matter what curriculum you choose, YOUR KIDS WILL TURN OUT FINE. Say that with me again: YOUR KIDS WILL TURN OUT FINE!
The Bible tells us in Psalm 127:3 that,
“…children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
And Deuteronomy 6:6-7 reminds us that we are responsible for imparting the knowledge of God to our children:
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
These Scriptures remind us that the responsibility for teaching our children in God’s ways lies with the parents. Thankfully, there are a ton of curriculum’s out there that supports you in this. What you choose truly depends on your lifestyle and the temperaments of your kiddos. Following are my top 8 Christian-focused curriculum’s based on 15+ years of observations:
“We have so many YOUNG children!”
You know who you are! It takes an hour to round them all up to the kitchen table, one is crying on your lap, one needs a diaper change, and the rest would really rather run around outside. Mama…there is so much to choose from! Consider using a curriculum that comes complete with lessons and teacher’s guides. All you have to do is open it all up and hand it out.
_1. Abeka (https://www.abeka.com/ ) has been in business for close to 50 years and is a leader in both the homeschool and Christian school arenas. Its beginning reading program is unparalleled for pre-k and kindergarten students. Many parents who like more structure choose Abeka’s full-on academy that includes online teaching, preparing them to attend college, specifically Pensacola Christian College https://www.pcci.edu/ that springs from the Abeka founders, Dr. Arlin and Rebekah Horton.
_2. Bob Jones University Press (https://www.bjupress.com/page/Home) is almost as old as Abeka and offers very similar services, culminating in its own college as well (https://www.bju.edu/). BJU Press shines in its design, Bible teaching, and presentation and is excellent for language arts and history.
_3. My Father’s World (https://www.mfwbooks.com/ ) is considered by many to be the kingpin of a pre-planned curriculum, MFW takes all the guesswork out of your daily plans and sends you everything you need for each of your children.
“We like to live on the edge!”
Yes, I’m talking to you because I get you. These are choices for those of us who are all over the place, choosing a curriculum-based more on content while looking oddly similar to the absent-minded professor! You know what you want, and an all-inclusive kit is not going to cut it for your family.
_4. Diana Waring is my absolute favorite for History! (https://www.dianawaring.com) Her books are interesting enough for parents to read (even if you don’t have school-age children), and her audio supplements are engaging. She caters to the three main learning styles by offering creative project suggestions for each one. Your children will know their history backwards, forwards, and upside down. But be warned: it’s a bit teacher-intensive and you’ll have to do a bit of work to get the full benefits.
_5. Mystery of History is also teacher intensive (https://themysteryofhistory.com) and Linda Lacour Hobar is another amazing history teacher. Quite honestly, I did a mash-up of both hers and Diana’s curriculum throughout the years. Both are very similar but approach the organization differently. Linda tends to focus on the chronological aspects of history, helping students to observe parallel events around the world. What was happening in Asia when Jesus walked the Earth? Linda will help you to seek out those types of answers.
“Keeping it classical is our preference.”
I tried to be in this category, I really did. But I’m super impressed with those of you who are able to get all your kids around one table to do multiple subjects together, such as history, science, and the Bible. You are the warriors who are so organized at teaching that you don’t even always use curriculum!
_6. Veritas Press (https://veritaspress.com) is a leader in classical style learning. Taking your children through their “Trivium” of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, Veritas ensures a solid foundation in a Christian worldview. Did I mention that their materials are poetically beautiful? Oh, and yes, they have an academy too (most do)!
_7. Christian Liberty Press (https://www.christianliberty.com), is not necessarily all classical, but leans more that way. And like Master Books, CLP publishes the best of the best from many of the sources above, making the eclectic choices for you. They find the chapter books that best suit the subject and grade level, and add them into your kit. And of course, there’s an academy, testing service, and more.
HAVE FUN WITH IT
This list is by no means comprehensive. Don’t hate me, but I was always one of those happy people walking around homeschool expos NOT getting overwhelmed because I’m eclectic and like mixing and matching the curriculum. Last year my 10th grader had BJU Press Bible and Grammar, Mystery of History, Apologia Chemistry, Math-U-See Geometry, and a variety of chapter books for Literature. Ok, it wasn’t my finest moment, but in all fairness, he went to our local group’s learning center for math and science. If he hadn’t, I’d still be crying.
Most likely there are moms in your area with similar likes and dislikes. Find them and share stories. Tell each other what works and doesn’t work for you. But above all, don’t be concerned about choosing wrong. Maybe like me, you’ll be on your last child and STILL, question your choices. It’s ok, Mama. Your children will be fine!
“Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.”
For other great resources check out 4onemore where Abby Banks provides so many great things to implement into your homeschool journey! Join today!
Use code: TINA for 10% off!
Plus, check out Outschool.com! You can sign your kids up for all kinds of classes they can do from home! Gym, art, math, history – you name it! They’ve got it!
Gina McAndrew is the Founder and CEO of The Mark Project, an organization that equips believers with the tools they need to fulfill the Great Commission through art.
She is also the Founder and Director of Potter’s Clay Applied Arts, a program that equips students to glorify God through the arts. Gina has a BFA in Studio Art, an MS in Industrial Communications, and an MBA, all from Lindenwood University.
She has been teaching art and written communications to students of all ages for 15 years, focusing on the practical applications of these subjects. As a former upper-level manager and homeschool mom of four, she seeks to implement new ideas at both companies.
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