Checklists are life savers, aren’t they? They remind us of what we need to get at the grocery store, what we want to ask the pediatrician at our child’s next appointment, or what we want in our homeschool curriculum. Selecting a provider is no easy feat and definitely not something to be taken lightly. As such, having a homeschool curriculum checklist when purchasing something new can make it easier to compare your options. So, if your current educational programs aren’t working for your family anymore and it’s time for a change, use this homeschool curriculum comparison checklist to make an informed decision when considering your next provider.

Homeschool Curriculum Comparison Checklist

    • Student’s Preferred Way to Learn

Before deciding on a type of homeschool curriculum, it’s important to first understand your child’s learning style. Is your son a visual learner who does better by watching videos? Is your youngest a more tactile learner who loves using his or her hands to explore, build, and draw? Does your daughter prefer reading books and taking notes? Once you know how each child learns best, you’ll know what type of curricula to look for.

    • Homeschooling Method

What homeschooling method do you follow? The curriculum you choose typically aligns to the homeschooling method you choose, be it Classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, eclectic, or something else. As you consider your next curriculum purchase, you’ll want to consider how the curriculum will fit into your preferred homeschooling method.

    • Homeschool Curriculum Cost

This is an important one. First, figure out how much money you have to work with. Look for a homeschool curriculum provider that doesn’t require a large investment or long-term contract. Chances are, if you’re buying curriculum in January or February, you probably just need curricula to last you through the rest of the academic year. Many families choose Time4Learning because it’s extremely affordable and it allows members to pause the curriculum, while still keeping records intact, for a reduced monthly fee. As you evaluate your homeschool curriculum options, here are a few more components common to curricula that you’ll want to consider. What are you looking for?

Student-Paced Students complete their work on their own time and at their own pace. They can go back and repeat material until they achieve mastery before moving on to the next lesson.
Program-Paced School work is completed based on a set schedule. Students move through lessons whether mastery of a subject is completed or not.
Comprehensive Curriculum The homeschool curriculum provider offers the core subjects – math, language arts, science, and social studies – and can be a one-stop-shop for parents and students.
Supplemental Curriculum The curriculum provider often specializes in particular subjects and is used in conjunction with other curricula.
Independent Learning The curriculum includes automated instruction making it possible for students to learn their lessons with limited involvement from their homeschool teacher.
Homeschool Teacher-Led Curriculum The curriculum is created with the intention of the lesson’s instruction being delivered by the homeschool teacher.
Online Curriculum The curriculum lessons and quizzes are delivered on the computer typically using a web-based program accessible 24/7 with internet access.
Textbook/Workbook The lessons and quizzes are delivered in hard copy format. They typically come with a teacher’s guide to enable homeschool teachers to teach the lessons.
Automated Grading Common with online curricula, the student’s lessons and quizzes are graded automatically without homeschool teacher involvement.
Manual Grading Typically the homeschool teacher will review the lessons and quizzes for their homeschooler.

Try It Before You Buy It

When it comes to homeschool curriculum providers, there’s one piece of advice we don’t want to leave out. The last thing you want to do is make a long term commitment without even knowing if the program will work. When you find a homeschool curriculum provider that you think may work, find out if you can access the material on a trial basis. A few weeks is usually plenty of time for both you and your children to decide if it’s a good fit. Time4Learning is happy to offer a two week money-back guarantee to new members. If you find that it isn’t right for your children, you can cancel within this time and receive a full refund, no questions asked. Yes, there’s a lot to consider when looking for a new curricula midyear (or any time of year), but when you know what to look for — thanks to a helpful comparison checklist — you’ll be better informed and better prepared to make the switch. Want more great advice? Sign up for our online education newsletter and receive regular emails from Time4Learning. If you want to learn more about how Time4Learning stacks up against the checklist, contact us and let’s talk more about what you need.