Q&A – What Curriculum Do You Use, and How Much Does It Cost?
One of my Facebook page readers, Kristi asked: “I am thinking of homeschooling my 7 year old starting next year for 3rd grade. What do you spend on average for your homeschool curriculum and what type of curriculum do you use? Thanks for the help.”
Before I tell you what we used, I want to share my best piece of advice with you. Know your child’s learning style – and this is more than just whether she is a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner. When you know how best your child learns, at what time she learns best, and so on, choosing curriculum, and planning participation in activities, becomes easier. The best resource I have found for this is a book by Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Kindle Hodson, called Discover Your Child’s Learning Style. The Book is available in a Kindle version and a paperback version. When we did the assessment in our household, our homeschooling life got a lot easier. I just wish I had discovered it earlier.
When my daughter was in third grade, our big boxed curriculum cost about $600 or so. At that point, we were using Sonlight, which is a literature-based curriculum. It includes a LOT of books (mostly historical fiction), science, history, geography, timeline work (where different events in different parts of the world fit into history), reading, and reading comprehension. There is an option to include a math curriculum, but we didn’t do that. We used a separate grammar curriculum and a separate math curriculum, so the total was likely closer to $800 by the time it was all said and done.
There are more expensive curriculum choices, and much cheaper ones, than Sonlight. I chose Sonlight because my daughter was a reader, and so it made sense to incorporate her love of reading into the curriculum choice.
There are so many choices, though, that it can be mind boggling sometimes. Some curricula give you options for different learning styles, in that they offer something for most styles of learners. Tapestry of Grace, for example, has hands-on activities for those who like doing crafts; for those of us who are not crafty and who prefer reading, there are those options as well in Tapestry. Many of the books used in Tapestry are also available as audio books, in case your child learns best by listening. Tapestry is one of the more expensive options, because when you buy the curriculum, you are buying it for the entire K-12 career of your child – it goes through the various levels to take your child from elementary to high school. The books are extra, and in some larger areas, many of these are available from your local library, or through an inter-library loan. What is great about the books in Tapestry is that if you choose to buy them, they form a wonderful part of your personal library, and very often, Tapestry kids have asked that their moms save the books so they can use them with their own children (I personally think that is pretty cool! 😉 )
Some families like Abeka, particularly when they are starting out and need more structure. This was our beginning curriculum, and it worked well for a while. Because it is built for a classroom, however, it tends to have more repetition, so for my daughter, I ended up cutting out a lot of the lessons, which meant we finished the curriculum in less than half the time it was allotted for. Then I had to go on the hunt for something else!
These are just SOME of the curricula that we chose – there were so many other things that we incorporated because there were things we wanted more emphasis on (like grammar and spelling) or things that were interesting that were not incorporated in a box curriculum.