How to choose the perfect homeschool curriculum

There are a million things to consider when homeschooling. But first things first. What are you going to teach them? This is one question I get all the time.

As a classroom teacher, I was required to use the state standards to guide what I taught my students. Standards have their place, but in my state, as a private school (That’s how you homeschool in California, by establishing your own private school) you are not required to use the standards. (But you certainly CAN – they can offer SOMETHING if you are feeling lost. They can offer topics and you can go from there! Topics are a good thing.)

If you homeschool with a Charter, or independent study program the requirements may be different and you will want to work closely with the school in which you have enrolled, as you are still functioning as part of the public school system. These methods of school-at home offer many benefits.

My focus is going to be on choosing curriculum without the overarching  component of required standards.

Be sure you are compliant within your area.

Curriculum is defined as: lessons and academic content. Simply stated, it is the TOPICS you are covering, the LESSONS you are learning.

Where do you get the topics? In our homeschool curriculum is as simple as living life. Life gives us the topics naturally…

If you plan to homeschool and never send your children to school, family time is the best curriculum. The learning just comes naturally. Laundry, chores, and play were a major facet of our curriculum.

If you have removed your children from school spending time together without the pressure of “school” is just what they will need. Be sure you are ready for curriculum…you might want to consider decompressing first.

If you are ready for curriculum, you can think about the “subject areas” that need to be covered:








Fine Arts




Religious Studies

Passion Project (what your child is MOST interested in). I also call this Free Choice Learning.

OR… you can think about the TOPICS that are interesting to your children.

I prefer the latter. By having a TOPIC  driven curriculum, I have engaged learners. Each child learns about what they are most interested in, or you learn as a family about the topics and rotate them.

I talk a lot about Topic Based Curriculum in my video Choosing Homeschool Curriculum.

We were a 1 income homeschool family. I had no charter funding for the curriculum.(many families use charter schools because they provide funding for the curriculum- we did not want to homeschool via that route)  My oldest was very into Pirates, and the Magic Tree House books. We decided to use that series as the basis of our entire curriculum and everything we did each week surrounded the theme of the book. There were more books than we could fit into a year, even though we homeschool year round! If you dive into these topics fully This series could easily last 2 years! Each child completed the learning at their level. I read the book first thing Monday. We discussed vocabulary words (I chose them) and then we did activities that I *invented* for each book.

You might not be so inclined to create a curriculum like this on your own, but never fear… Take the first book for example. The topic is Dinosaurs. A quick internet search for dinosaur curriculum and you will be inundated! Over 10 years have passed since I was inventing this stuff on my own. The amount of free resources available is significant.  Go to the local library and check out as many books on the topic as they will let you. Read them, discuss them. The learning from that activity alone is mind boggling each week.

Our next TOPIC based learning isn’t as nicely packaged, but  was based on individual works of literature. We simply used what one considers the classics to guide our learning. Each month one of us chose the book and we went from there. Charlotte’s Web lead to a deeper study of farming and animals. Journey to the Center of the Earth led us down a very scientific study of what the earth is ACTUALLY made of.

If you would like to see the Happy Hive Book list you can find that HERE

We used a great series called Story of the World to explore history. We dove deep into the time periods most interesting to each of the children. We breezed through others.

Pictured here – Story of the World Volume 1 (There are 4 volumes)

As the bugs (my name for my kids) got older, they dove deeper into math concepts beyond paying for toys with their allowance. Mastering their multiplication tables, and beginning to use their first textbooks was exciting. There was no pressure. They continued to learn through experiences of cooking and paying for things themselves. Games were a fundamental element of our math curriculum.

As I have shared before, the inspiration for this website was our year of holiday based curriculum. Everything we did each day was based on the quirky holiday celebration of the day.

If you are interested in subject by subject curriculum, that is fantastic! There is no wrong way to homeschool! Read more about that HERE.

When choosing curriculum be sure to follow your heart. Trust your instincts. If it’s not working, change it. Ultimately, that’s what homeschooling is…the ability to completely customize education for the individual who is receiving it.

Whatever curriculum you decide to use I hope you will consider incorporating some of the easy to use activities we offer! Be sure to check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store as well as Amped Up Learning! Both have our valuable curriculum as well as free printables you can use for everyday learning and holiday learning!

Thank you for choosing to partner with Happy Hive. If you are looking for curriculum coaching or are interested in joining our Homeschool Satellite Program you can find information about what we offer HERE. Be sure to follow our blog for the latest updates, and sign up for our Newsletter! Signing up for the newsletter gets you EXCLUSIVE Homeschool Holiday products, specials  and subscriber only (password protected) content!

May your educational journey be blessed!

  • Mrs. Crabtree

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