Where to Buy Homeschool Curriculum

Where to Buy Homeschool Curriculum | Vicki-Arnold.com

One of the most frequently asked questions I get when people tell me they are considering homeschooling is “Where do you buy curriculum?” or “What curriculum do you use?” And I get it. I was rather unaware of what was available when I first started.

Thankfully the world of homeschool curriculum has improved greatly in the time since my husband was homeschooled. My mother-in-law had to get quite creative when sourcing curriculum in the 80’s. Now, there are so many choices, it can make your head spin.

One of the best things to do is to go to a homeschool convention. The curriculum/exhibition hall is a great place to explore the many options available. If you don’t want to wait until convention season or the thought of a crowd makes you anxious, fret not. There are many other places to find curriculum.

Typical Sources for Homeschool Curriculum

What I consider a typical source are direct from the publisher or places that specialized in homeschool curriculum (or have a section dedicated to the niche).

Publisher Direct Sources

These are places you would buy a single subject or maybe a couple subjects as you piece your own curriculum together. This is no where near an exhaustive list. There are so many different curriculums, it literally makes my head spin sometimes. Ok, so not literally, but you get the point.

This is just a sampling of the ones I know of and some my fellow homeschool blogging friends shared with me to help round things out.

Box Curriculum Sources

These sources sell “complete” curriculums. Some cover every single subject and some may leave off one or two for you to place your students at their own level. Typically those are meant to teach multiple grade levels for subjects like history and then leave out math so your students can work individually as needed.

Homeschool Specialty Stores

Other Sources With Homeschool Selections

Unusual Sources for Homeschool Curriculum

Not all of my homeschool curriculum comes from your typical homeschool sources. I have found curriculum at the following places, too:

  • Ollie’s – I’ve sort of fallen in love with this discount chain. We have two relatively close to us and I like to stop in when I can. I usually check out their book selection (which is huge) and then look for organic snacks. In the book section, I have found math workbooks, puzzle books, and books for literature.
  • Goodwill – I am not in these very often, but love when it happens to fall on half-price books or toys days. I have found lots of books for history, literature, and even science. My favorite find though was probably the set of games that I picked up to go with some history lessons.
  • Dollar Tree – This is a great place to find homeschool supplies and even curriculum. I have found workbooks, books, and items for sensory bins.
  • Costco – I’ve been in love with Costco for a long time. There is almost always workbooks on their book tables. I have also picked up nice maps and saw nice globes there this back-to-school season.
  • Half-Priced Books – My favorite location even has a homeschool section now (and it seems to grow each time I am in). My favorite though is the clearance section. I always start there because sometimes I will find a copy of a book that is still on the regular shelves for half off, marked down to $2 simply because it had been there too long.
  • Yard Sales – This one is kind of rare for me, but I have seen homeschool curriculum at yard sales.

Keep your eyes open and you never know where you will come across homeschool curriculum. You might just save a bunch of money, too!

Our 2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

Our 2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum Choices - 6th, 5th, 3rd grades and a toddler

This school year we have 6th, 5th, and 3rd graders and a 2 1/2 year old. We have a bit more structure to our school year this year. Before I dive into our curriculum choices, I think it would be beneficial to give you a little insight into the way we homeschool. Sort of a short, crash course in our educational beliefs.

When the kids are younger, we believe in the letting them be kids. We do not use curriculum for every subject. I use a curriculum to teach them to read, we use workbooks for math, and they practice handwriting with workbooks, but that is easily done with free printable worksheets now. Those are the planned subjects up to 3rd grade. We cover history, science, art, and everything else in a more delight directed manner.

What is delight directed? It’s a fancy shmancy way of saying we follow the kids’ interests. We check out lots of books from the library, watch documentaries, and generally explore topics as they come our way. They explore, I answer questions, and introduce them to ways to find answers as I have to search out how to answer their questions.

In 4th and 5th grade, I introduce them to using a planner, and we added some specific group study subjects (history and science). They are responsible for their Bible, math, and handwriting (these are assigned curriculums).

This year our group study subjects are worldview and history. They are individually studying science and I have added some critical thinking skills curriculum. They are also doing a more formal language arts program. Since we are not doing science together, it means they are doing it on their own this year.

Another thing I should note is that we are not overly concerned with our kids performing “on level.” I have seen them be far “behind” in things and after a few months, they will suddenly click and fly through concepts. Our main focus is to create good learning habits and foster a love of learning. To us, that is more important than them learning XYZ by Nth grade.

Basically, through 3rd grade, their formal workload is pretty light as we explore things of interest. We add some structure to 4th grade, upping the ante at 6th grade, with the goal of independent learning for high school and beyond. That’s the plan anyways.

So here are our 2014-2015 homeschool curriculum choices!

Our Group Work Curriculum

I use the Well Planned Day Family Homeschool Planner to keep our homeschool organized. I reviewed it previously.

6th Grade Curriculum Choices

Our sixth grader is using the Well Planned Day student planner this year. I will be sharing more about it in a full review later.

5th Grade Curriculum Choices

Our fifth grader is using the Ultimate Daily Planner for Students this year. I wrote a detailed review that you can check out, but the reason I chose this one for him is the larger lines for writing down assignments. He is not ready for college-ruled lines just yet.

3rd Grade Curriculum Choices

Our third grader is currently mad at me for not getting her her own planner, too.

Toddler Educational Plans

This guy’s work isn’t easy, all the books from the library he wants, lots of building with blocks, and exploring outside with his siblings. It’s tough work, this playing business.

I do have a list of items that I would love to be able to fit in to our year, but these are the ones we are using throughout the year as of now. I have some items to review for you so sign up for email updates so you don’t miss those!

Other Curriculum Options

I LOVE seeing what everyone else is doing in their homeschool. Call me nosy, I’ll answer. 😉 The other Indiana Association of Home Educator bloggers have all decided to share our curriculum choices with you. You can find them linked below.

Back 2 School - 2014 Curriculum Choices Blog Hop from IAHE bloggers
Be sure to visit the other IAHE Bloggers:

 

Are you homeschooling in Indiana?  We’d love to connect with you!

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Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices {2013-2014}

Looking to make homeschool curriculum decisions? Come see what we are using for 5th, 4th, and 2nd grades. #homeschool post @ www.vicki-arnold.com

Homeschool Curriculum for 2013-2014

I have 5th, 4th, and 2nd graders this homeschool year. I am finding it hard to believe, really. When we started out, I was nervous about what I would do when they reached middle and high school. Now, with five official homeschool years under our belt, I am excited for the things we will be learning!

For the grades K-3, we lean more towards eclectic unschooling. I believe strongly in the value of play in a child’s educational life. My kids (and I!) have learned a lot by following my children’s interests. I teach them how to read, basic math, and we do Bible study. Everything else is covered by life and the library.

Starting around 4th grade, we start with more scheduled work. I say around because we are open to this being different based on a child’s needs. I’ll explain a little about each of my students when I share my curriculum choices for them.

I am using my curriculum planning pages for my subjects. Our discipleship program is a work in progress that you will be hearing more about later this fall. I’ll be sharing more about that with my homeschool newsletter subscribers, so be sure to sign up for that.

Disclosure: I do use affiliate links in this post.

My 5th Grader’s Homeschool Curriculum

My 5th grader is the “tell me what I need to do and I’ll do it” type student. She loves checklists and her planner. She loves reading, writing to her pen pals, and taking care of her siblings (and anyone else she can mother). We are focusing on her math and spelling skills this year. She is also learning to write in cursive because she really, really wants to.

She will also be completing her 4-H projects throughout the year as part of her curriculum (art, life skills, etc.). Her projects include photography, sewing, and food.

My 4th Grader’s Homeschool Curriculum

My 4th grader is the “tell me why I need to know this” type student. He is very, very interested in learning, but very, very UNinterested in learning things he already knows. He is a deep thinker who does well with science, math, and spelling. My focus with him this year will be on penmanship.

Again, he will be completing 4-H projects as part of his curriculum. He has not decided on what those will be just yet. We will be trying out Homeschool Programming for a review and I think it will be perfect for him.

My 2nd Grader’s Homeschool Curriculum

My 2nd grader is a sweet, spunky, loves to wiggle kind of girl. She is a very good reader and seems to pick up math skills almost by accident. She is still in the learn by play part of our homeschool, but she will be participating in a lot with us because she likes to. Her 2nd grade year is more structured than my first two students, but she is ready and willing so on we go!

She is too young for 4-H, but will be doing Cloverbuds. She has not chosen a project (she may do up to two).

So there you have our homeschool curriculum choices for the 2013-2014 school year. We start our year the week after the 4th of July. Along the way I will share free read, read aloud, and supplemental booklists; coordinating printables; and glimpses into how our homeschool works.

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More Curriculum Choices

This week, the Teach Them Diligently bloggers are talking about curriculum choices. Be sure to head over to the blog to see what curriculum they will be using in their homeschools this year. You can also purchase curriculum online with Teach Then Diligently Marketplace Online now!! I will be sharing more about this later in the month.

Come see what homeschool curriculum the Teach Them Diligently bloggers will be using this year.

Homeschool Curriculum Planning Pages {free printable}

Free printable homeschool curriculum planning pages to coordinate with The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell.

Coordinating Homeschool Curriculum Planning Pages

When I reviewed The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell, I mentioned that one of the picky things I’d like to see was coordinating curriculum planning sheets to tuck in the back pocket. And since I really am that picky…um, I mean kind and giving, I made some to share with other visuals like me.

Funny story tangent. I made these printables and when I printed them out, my color ink ran out of a color half-way through printing the page. Thankfully, I could see that the colors matched, but couldn’t print as many as I needed. So I ordered a color ink cartridge (affiliate link alert!) from Amazon and just worked with what I had. Ink got here, I installed it, and printed my sheets. And the cartridge was defective! Instead of having yellow ink, it had GREEN. So my colors were all kinds of wonky. I have NEVER had that happen before.

The moral of the story? If you are super picky about something, God just might bring you the opportunity to get over yourself. True story. Amen.

In addition to the curriculum planning page, I created a few logs to keep track of some things as the year goes on. I’ve uploaded those, as well. Some of the logs have a section to enter a page number, this is to help keep the pages in order as I print more through the year. If that is confusing, you will see what I mean in the preview pics below.

To download, just click on the link under the preview picture. If you like these enough to share them, then YAY! I do ask that you point them to this post’s link and not directly to the download link. That way they can see what else is available. Please and thank you! 🙂

Homeschool Curriculum Planning Page

Fill in the boxes to see clearly how you are covering each subject. Subjects included (in order): discipleship, math, science, reading, writing, history, geography, art, music, foreign language, life skills, and other.

Free curriculum planning pages color-coordinted with The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell.

Download the .

Bible Reading Log

I intend to fill this out with the sections of Bible I want to cover in our read aloud times and check them off as we go.

Free Bible reading log printable.

Download the .

Free Reading List

I will fill this out for each student to give them a list of book suggestions to read in their free time. I uploaded two of these. The first one has a column for books from the library (I want to work on their library skills this year) and for books on our home book shelves. I simply removed these for the second one.

A printable to keep track of free reading options for your homeschool student.

Download the .

Free printable for your homeschool student to track his/her free reading books.

Download the .

Reading Log

This is where my students will track what books they do end up reading. This would also work for tracking books for summer reading, too.

Free reading log printable, great for homeschool or summer reading programs.

Download the .

Scripture Memorization Checklist

I am always coming across Bible verses that I want us to work on memorizing. I will add the address for the verses to this list and check them off as we memorize them. I intend to print one of these per student so that I can tailor their memory verses to the child’s needs. I will be using the Child Training Bible to find those “specific need” verses.

Track what Bible verses you want to memorize for scripture study and check them off as you go with this free printable.

Download the .

There you are! If you have a working color printer, you can now print out curriculum printing pages that coordinate with The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell! Enjoy!

Don’t miss out on future free printables like this one!

Be sure to sign up for the Homeschool Newsletter, to stay up to date on the printable freebies I create!


How to Plan Your First Homeschool Curriculum

How to plan your first homeschool curriculum - advice on how to choose what's right for your homeschool.

How Do You Teach Kindergarten?

I was recently asked by a friend what we used for curriculum. This seemed like an appropriate topic to cover here on the blog. So if you don’t like this post, you can thank…well, I won’t out her here in case you really DON’T like the post. Either way, this post does include affiliate links that bring no harm or cost to you. This post is not a physical list of our curriculum, you’ll understand why as you read. I will be sharing our curriculum choices for the next school year as I finalize them.

For our family, we have a very laid back approach to the first few years of elementary school. There is a point where we start stepping up the expectations (so far it has been 4th grade), but that will vary with each child. I firmly believe in respecting the way God created each child to learn so when a child is taught a subject hasn’t always been the same as his or her siblings. Children are individuals and will reach milestones and “readiness” indicators at different speeds. I also highly regard child’s play and letting them enjoy being a child.

So what DO I teach them?

I teach them how to read, handwriting, and math. That is what I intentionally teach whenever the child is ready.

Science, history, geography, etc. are all covered as life happens. Goats are born, we talk about all that entails. Storm sirens bring on conversations about radar maps, how tornadoes are formed, and safety procedures. My son’s curiosity has taken us into many subject areas, including, but not limited to: weapons, war, orcas, Legos, robotics, geology. My daughters are very into cats, goats, horses, babies, and cooking. We have approached all of these subjects on varying levels of breadth and depth.

My Advice on Planning Your First Homeschool Curriculum

1. Know WHY you are homeschooling.

You’re going to homeschool! Yay! If you’ve done your research, felt a calling, or otherwise know WHY you are embarking on this journey, GREAT. If you are not really sure or you just think it will be a fun thing to do because you know other people who are, you really need to stop and think this through. Homeschooling is an absolutely awesome thing. I feel very strongly about our reasons for homeschooling.

Why the heck does it matter? Because someday sooner or later, the excitement of homeschooling wears off. Whether it is the excitement of a new year, new curriculum, or starting the journey, excitement doesn’t last. There will come a subject that does not come naturally for your student to learn or for you to teach, and you will become frustrated. There will come a season in life that you didn’t expect; a difficult pregnancy, a long-term illness, a move, or simply a generally busy time of life; and you will feel stressed.

It is in these times that your convictions, your purpose, will keep you going. It will help keep you focused on your homeschooling and not on the bright, shiny yellow school bus that drives by each afternoon.

2. Pay attention to how your child lives and learns.

A very good resource on this is The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. I own this book, which came recommended to me by my mother-in-law. Why does this matter? Because if you have a child that can’t sit still for five minutes, you are both going to be frazzled if you try to make them sit for a 30 minute read aloud time every morning. OR if you have a child who loves to read and can’t stand getting dirty, she is NOT going to appreciate the time you put into planning that fun scavenger hunt in the woods.

Now, there is a time and a place for stretching your child out of their box. No doubt about it. You just want to make sure that the bulk of your homeschooling does not make your child feel uncomfortable or worse, like they don’t learn the “right” way.

3. Pick what is most important to you.

You simply do not have time in the day to cover, do, or use every great subject, activity or idea that you will come across. Especially if you are on Pinterest. This is where priorities come in handy. For us, the priorities are Bible, reading/writing, and math. Those are what we deem necessary for kindergarten through about third grade. Now that we are moving into a new season of our homeschool journey, we are adding science, history, and spelling.

This is especially helpful in planning how to spend your homeschool budget. You buy or find the resources for your priority subjects FIRST. Then you use what is left, whether money or time, and supplement with other great curriculum, books, workbooks, and supplies.

Let me add this, Indiana is one of the best states for homeschooling. We have no required subjects or curriculum, nor does anything have to be approved by anyone other than me and my husband. I appreciate the freedom this brings to teach our children as they are ready, but I realize that not all states are this way. You need to know what the state requires of you BEFORE you get started. This will save you (and your fellow homeschoolers) a lot of headache in the future.

4. Have fun with your kids.

Learn to relax and have fun with your kids. You will find that homeschooling very often teaches the homeschooling mama just as much as it does her children.

Boy, I’m a wordy person. I will end there with my advice and ask you this,

What questions do you have about homeschooling?

Share them below or contact me by email. I will do my best to answer them or point you in the right direction.

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