Beginning the search for homeschool curriculum may be a daunting task.This article provides information on searching for homeschooling curriculum resources and tips on where to find state curriculum resources for homeschoolers.

Beginning the Search for Homeschool Curriculum

The first step in establishing a homeschool curriculum is to know the legal requirements in your state. You may wish to consult the article called How to Find Home School Laws for help in finding the requirements for your state. Once you have located your state's web site or a personal contact there, you have also found the first spot to check for homeschool curriculum resources and to find out if the state must approve the homeschool curriculum you use.

How Do Homeschool Curriculum and Homeschool Method Interact?

One important question that many people begin with is: what's the difference and/or the relationship between a curriculum and a method of instruction? Here's how to understand this:

Homeschool curriculum by itself refers to the material to be taught. So, the curriculum at a particular grade might include teaching the multiplication table, a certain list of spelling words including tomato, purple, and shovel, and the concepts of predator, prey, parasite, and symbiosis. For each of these tasks, there are innumerable ways to approach them - and that would be the homeschool method. The methods could involve memorizing, dramatization, rote copying, worksheets, on-line information searches, a field trip to the zoo, etc.

When you find homeschool curriculum materials on, for example, your state web site, you will likely be finding “pure” homeschool curriculum. When you find curriculum materials on a commercial site, or in a publication, it's more likely to be a curriculum combined with a method of delivering the instruction. For more information about methods, see Searching for Homeschool Methods.

State Curriculum Resources for Homeschoolers

As with finding homeschool information, there is no standard location or directions for locating the curriculum resources your state may have available: it's a matter of either asking someone, or doing an informed search. Here are words that are likely to help you find the information you're seeking. Begin by looking for them in the main menus and links on the site. If you aren't successful that way, conduct a search, if there is a site search available. 

  • Homeschool Publications
  • Homeschool Resources 
  • Homeschool Downloads
  • Homeschool Standards 
  • Homeschool Frameworks 
  • Homeschool Model Curriculum 
  • Homeschool Assessment

Note that in an attempt to give good guidance to users, state education web sites sometimes use the technique of dividing their material by the groups of users they expect to benefit by it: students; parents; teachers and administrators, or groupings like that. For the purposes of homeschooling, you are a teacher (as well as a parent), and that user group is where you are most likely to find homeschool curriculum and assessment material on web sites that are divided that way.

Other Curriculum Programs

Besides the state resources, there are homeschool curriculum programs available in books and other publications and on the Internet from individual homeschoolers, classroom teachers, and commercial companies. Your state may provide information about homeschool curriculum programs that meet its requirements, and if so, this may simplify the process for you. For full sets of homeschool curriculum, you can search for commercial curriculum sites on the Internet.  Some are for particular grades or ages, and some have a particular orientation (secular, Christian, etc.) You can also search for on-line schools that provide curriculum for homeschooled students. If you think you might want to choose different materials by subject, you may also find it useful to search the book section of a major online bookseller using the keyword homeschool curriculum, plus any specifics you might need to add, like science, preschool, or assessment.

If you have the background and the initiative, you can also develop homeschool curriculum on your own. If you are qualified to do this, you will probably be able to get started on your own. You may still find the aforementioned searches useful as a jumping off point, or as inspiration on occasion. You may even wish to look at other state's web sites besides your own, to see what they offer.

Written by Mary Elizabeth