Complete (All-In-One) Homeschool Curriculum 101
What Is a Complete Homeschool Curriculum?
Choosing a complete curricula, also known as all-in-one curriculum, is often the simplest and most comfortable way for new homeschooling parents to start their homeschool journey. Since everything is included in the package, there is very little need to locate other resources. All you need to do is break down the information into manageable pieces and locate supplementary materials, like documentary videos and learning games to make your child's learning experience more interactive.
The all-in-one curriculum is a complete education system that provides children with the same information that public school does, just in a home setting. Your child is guaranteed to learn the exact same information that other children in their grade will be learning.
History of All-in-One Curriculum
While there were a few people who chose to educate their children at home, the concept of true homeschooling did not become a noticeable event before the 1960s. During the 1960s, Rousas John Rushdoony and Horace Mann separately began advocating for parents to homeschool their children. They frequently spoke about, and published articles about, how the state's influence on children and education was having a negative impact on children and their mental development.
In 1975, Raymond and Dorothy Moore began releasing information surrounding over 8,000 studies focusing on children's education and the affects of traditional public school.
Over time, more well-educated researchers began speaking out against forcing children to assimilate to a public school setting, and how detrimental it can be for children under the age of 8 years old.
Since so much attention was brought to the attention of the public, the people speaking out against public education needed to offer a solution to parents who were looking to begin their child's education at home.
Should I Go with a Complete Solution?
Do you know what type of curriculum will work for your child? What works best for your family? How much time do you save with a complete solution? Will I be too confined? The answer to these questions depend on your family, your situation, and your personal preference for educating your child.
What Type of Curriculum Works Best for Your Family?
When it comes to choosing a curriculum, you have to take your family into consideration. What is your teaching style? Are you a natural based teacher? Are you a research based teacher? You will want to avoid choosing a program that requires a lot of preparation for each lesson.
Does your child like experimenting? Do they like to complete hands-on projects? If so, choosing a textbook based curriculum is probably not in their best interest. If they love to read, try a more literature based homeschool curriculum.
Keep in mind while you are looking for the right curriculum, children who are elementary age have trouble sitting still. You should ensure that they have enough time to get up and move around between subjects, and add some learning time that involves activity based concepts.
Children who are visual learners accomplish a lot when they have textbooks. Children who are auditory learners find verbal education more beneficial.
The average cost of an all-in-one curriculum will depend on the subjects you plan to teach your child. The cost of a full curriculum can range from quite a bit, with an average cost being around $3,000. If you choose to purchase supplementary materials with your curriculum, you may need to pay more.
The Key Pros and Cons of Complete Curriculum
Just like with any other educational approach, a complete curriculum has positives and negatives associated with it. What you see as a positive or negative will be different from any other parent's answers.
- The approach to education is structured and provides a solid framework.
- You can easily monitor your child's progress.
- There is no question about whether you are teaching your child the right material.
- You don't have to find your own resources, you can follow a teacher's manual.
- A highly structured approach may not work for your family.
- Can be very time consuming.
- Can place additional strain on the parent homeschooling.
- Children do not always have the same enthusiasm because of the structure, textbooks, and excessive number of drills.
- An all-in-one curriculum can be costly.
Some Popular Options
These are some of the most popular all-in-one packages being used by homeschoolers today:
- Easy Peasy - All in One Homeschool
- Hearts for Him Through High School
- Living Books Curriculum
- Mother of Divine Grace School
- Moving Beyond the Page
- My Father's World
- Sonlight Curriculum
Tips for Trying Out Curriculum Options
Before you choose a curriculum, make sure that you attend a conference, or an online conference. This will give you a chance to get a closer look at different curriculums that are available. Before the conference, make a list of things that, to you, are important for your curriculum to contain. Conferences give you a chance to ask questions about each curriculum and what experience other parents have had with it. Take careful notes so that you can research the material later.
Even though it is tempting, do not try to attempt all of the extra curricular subjects in one school year. Many parents try this in hopes that their child will excel, these are the parents who end up with miserable homeschooled children.
Think carefully before you choose a curriculum that is recommended by a friend. Just because it worked well for them, does not mean it will work for your child. Every child is different, and every family is different. Even though you should not choose a homeschool curriculum because a friend recommended it, does not mean that you should not ask what they did not like about it. It is possible that the reason they despised a homeschool curriculum will be the reason you love the same one.
Ask friends if you can look at their curriculum, or maybe even borrow it for a few weeks. Try the curriculum hands-on for a few weeks to see if it is the right fit for your child.
Saving Money on a Curriculum
There are a lot of people who live on a budget, myself included. However, it does not mean that you cannot homeschool your child. If you know where to look, you will be amazed at how many resources you really have at your disposal. Libraries offer a lot of resources, including educational packages and manipulatives.
If you have any doubts about being able to homeschool on your budget, check out my post on Homeschooling For Free.
The internet is also a great resource for homeschooling on a budget. It is filled with educational games, videos, worksheets, and other supplements that your child will benefit from. If you are looking for a cheaper curriculum, look on Homeschool Classifieds and Homeschool Trader. You can also get a free curriculum on HomeschoolFree.org, you just have to pay shipping and handling.
If you are looking for curriculums that are completely free, you can use free online curriculums from Old-Fashioned Education and Easy Peasy, which are both reputable. If you prefer to follow the Charlotte Mason homeschool method, you can get a free curriculum from Ambleside Online. Parents who prefer to homeschool based on a Catholic homeschool method can find a free curriculum from Mater Amabilis.