Homeschool Curriculum Ultimate Checklist: Wants Versus Needs

homeschool curriculum

You can find the homeschool curriculum right for you, your child and your situation on this page. You can also find the simple solution to your search which will avoid the waste of enormous amounts of time and energy for you.

Moreover, here you’ll find

  • the best or most common homeschool curriculum;
  • a looooooong list of free homeschool curriculum;
  • how to plan your homeschool curriculum, including two specific questions to ask yourself;
  • the fundamental difference between a regular school curriculum and more personalized homeschool curriculum; and also
  • which homeschool curriculum school teachers who homeschool their own kids normally use.

From that, I can say that when I was homeschooled my parents (who were school teachers) took a more minimalist approach. When I finally started attending school, I exceeded academically precisely because they adopted a “less is more” attitude.

One of my best childhood friends recently told me, as an adult, that he thought my parents worked us to the bone, so to speak, while homeschooling because we were so successful at school.

In fact, the opposite is true.

But we’ll get to that at the end of this post. For now, below is what you are probably looking for…

homeschool curriculum

What Curriculum Is Best For Homeschooling?

As you might imagine, this is an open-ended question with many variables:

  • It depends on your child, or children.
  • It depends on your situation and where you live.
  • It depends on which of the homeschool methods you embrace.
  • It depends on your personal beliefs.
  • It depends on the homeschool laws & regulations in your state and/or country.

Instead of focusing on the “best” homeschool curriculum, let’s direct attention to the most used and most recommended.

What Is The Most Used Homeschool Curriculum?

These are the 8 most recommended online homeschool curriculums:

Unfortunately, a couple in that list are often recommended by others just because they offer an affiliate or rewards program.

That is, every time a visitor like yourself signs up to a paid curriculum after clicking from a person’s blog, that website owner earns a commission.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. There are quality companies and products that have affiliate programs.

However, you should take them with a grain of salt, especially when there are so many free options.

homeschool curriculum

How Do I Get A Free Homeschool Curriculum?

The answer is to take time to do some research.

In addition to the Khan Academy mentioned above, here are some more free, either homeschool curriculum or more targeted subjects, to get you started:

All the different services offered by these sites encapsulates the beauty of homeschooling – you and your child get to pick and choose what you like.

Additionally, it’s what makes the idea of embracing a complete ready-made curriculum somewhat redundant.

However, many homeschooling parents were themselves raised (either at home or in school) using a curriculum and it can be a hard one to shake.

homeschool curriculum

How Do I Plan My Own Homeschool Curriculum?

The good news is that for anything your children want to learn, or will want to learn at any age, you can find a solution on the internet!

But you must listen to your child and what they need and want.

To be sure, this is the most important, yet often most overlooked deciding factor for how you move forward with or without a homeschool curriculum.

With or without a curriculum.

We’re whittling this down.

The most dynamic, responsive and effective approach is a kind of pick and choose compromise.

For example, if your child feels like he or she wants to jump head-first into biology, that might be a great time to find a structured biology curriculum or course of some kind.

It could serve as a nucleus for them to run with it and self-direct their learning further.

homeschool curriculum

However, that’s if they ask for it.

If they don’t ask for any structured assistance, or they are too young to ask for anything specific like that, then it’s time to ask yourself some questions.

Question #1 To Ask Yourself About A Homeschool Curriculum:

What do you need to do to satisfy the
government authorities in your area?

If you need to follow a specific curriculum or something, then yes, of course you should take care of that.

It might just mean preparing a plan to keep the authorities happy, whether or not you actually stick to it throughout the year.

For example, this was the only time my mother used her skills as a public school teacher while homeschooling my brother and me:

It was the 80s so she had to build a homeschool curriculum from scratch. And she did it magnificently. But she had enough perspective & knowledge not to make us actually do it.

She and Dad had other ideas (see below for more details).

On the other hand, in places like Iceland and Portugal, amongst others, following the same curriculum as the public schools is required by law.

To recap, if there is no pressing need to satisfy the authorities, my suggestion/recommendation is to ask yourself the next question.

homeschooling cons

Question #2 To Ask Yourself About A Homeschool Curriculum:

Why do you want to use a ready-made curriculum?

Here are some possible answers you might have heard or developed yourself:

  • Because kids need structure and consistency with their education.
    They need time & space to explore their curiosity and discover things for themselves.
  • To make sure they learn everything (in time).
    Age-based learning criteria is an unnecessary and unnatural approach to teaching that is found in schools simply because of the large numbers of students, as well as pressure to adhere to standardized tests.
  • So they don’t “fall behind”.
    Behind what? Again, this is in accordance with age-based learning outcomes that are just artificial constructs. The beauty of homeschooling is you and your children can live and grow free from that.

With these last questions, I’m asking you to ask yourself if there is a better way. Let me show you what I mean by pointing out a simple yet interesting fact.

Which Homeschool Curriculum Do School Teachers Use?

Here I mean school teachers who homeschool their own kids.

Yes, they exist! For example, my parents.

Interestingly, a large majority of school teachers who choose to homeschool their kids choose to unschool them, essentially taking the idea of a homeschool curriculum out of the question.

That is, they don’t use one.

It’s interesting because school teachers are forced to use curriculums at work, which means the children they teach at work are forced to use a curriculum.

Further, these teachers understand how limiting and unnecessary they are. And yet so many homeschooling parents try to recreate a school-at-home.

Some might jump on the “knock public schools” bandwagon here and retort that rather than just not using a homeschool curriculum because the ones taught in public schools might be perceived as terrible and ineffectual, doesn’t mean you can’t find a better one.

However, a response like this:

  • Neglects the facility of children to learn naturally when given the freedom of time and space to explore their curiosities; and
  • Neglects the fundamentally different questions that homeschooling and regular school ask of children.

Homeschool Curriculum Vs. Regular School

Let’s play a little game here and replace the word “curriculum” with “question”. After all, a curriculum is just a bunch of questions that are posed to a student who is learning about something.

There is a fundamental difference between the questions that each approach to education asks.

School asks:

  • What do you want to do when you grow up?
    This encourages “just-in-case” learning, an often monotonous grind of facts and information which are often quickly forgotten and rarely utilized.

Homeschooling asks:

  • What are you interested now?
    This encourages “just-in-time” learning, a dynamic exchange between a child’s mind and their surroundings where everything is applied immediately so it is more likely to stick.

The point is that a homeschool “curriculum” is the lack of a curriculum – a child’s development is not glued to a pre-written textbook.

For example, instead of using phonics or any kind of structured approach to teaching young children to read, homeschooling/unschooling allows time and space for children learning reading to do so in their own time and space.

Amazingly, this self-directed learning approach can be applied to any subject at any age level.

homeschool curriculum

What You Want Vs. What You Need

I just gave you what I believe any parent who is homeschooling, or just considering it, needs to be aware of – the idea that any child can self-direct their own learning adventure.

I also gave you what you probably wanted – a list of homeschool curriculums you can look into to pick & choose to your liking.

Ultimately, it’s you who will be homeschooling your children so you need to make the choice that’s right for you.

I would just implore you to open your mind and be willing to broaden your perspective about what will allow your child to learn the most deeply and naturally.


I recommend reading the book, Better Late Than Early, by Raymond and Dorothy Moore. As my Dad says,

“You might not agree with everything in it
but it will definitely make you think.”

It’s an approximate 200-page book and to buy it and receive it (if you choose to) means you might not read it for a few weeks, maybe a month.

In the mean time, you can download a free 4-page eBooklet I put together called, How To Enable Self-Directed Learning.

It only takes a minute or two to read and there are a couple of links that will be extremely valuable for you to read and watch.


Click the icon to be automatically notified of new blog posts.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.