Homeschool in a Box

by Kimberley McGee
Secular curriculum can be hard to find.

A complete homeschool curriculum with everything you need, delivered to your door, is a thrill to unbox. Getting there can take some work. There are a few complete homeschool in a box curriculum you can buy and set up an entire year. Wading through all of the info available online for parents can be overwhelming and confusing. It can be hard to know which one is best.

We’ve narrowed it down to a few that have been longtime favorites of homeschool moms and vetted for their ease of use and depth of subject matter. You can also homeschool for free just fine, although it often does take a bit more research, reaching out to fellow moms and finding what works best for you in each subject.

If you are transitioning from public to homeschool, then the homeschool in a box programs can seem expensive. When looking into buying a homeschool in a box, consider how much you’ve contributed to the monthly fundraisers and school lunches, and gas, when kids went to public school, if you are a recent transplant from public to homeschool. I budget $100 a month for the twins and that includes a full curriculum for both with live 1:1 teacher access online and the occasional class on Scattered Solutions or Outschool.

Pros and Cons of Pre-Planned Homeschool

Homeschoolers tend to think outside of the box. However, having a complete curriculum that is planned out for the year can be a comfort, particularly if you are new to the idea of homeschooling. If you are thinking about homeschooling or want to supplement your child’s education with an easy-to-follow, self-paced and pre-planned curriculum, then you are in luck. These educational companies have detailed, engaging and proven curriculum. Consider your kiddos’ learning styles, the time you want to put into planning, printing or researching (if at all) and your budget. Some curriculum can be bought in pieces as well.

Don’t kid yourself. You still have to plan, organize, break lessons down into how they will best fit with your schedule, or non-schedule even. Any curriculum has a degree of hands-on. If you are diving into homeschooling because you don’t like the current public-school situation, consider that you spent time with your kids after school for homework, and possibly on the weekends (and rushed mornings!). Adjust your schedule to use that time you spent with homework into helping your kids with homeschool. Kids are natural learners, trust that they will find a way to follow their interests and learn. Spend your time giving them opportunities to thrive and planning study units that will help them, not just keep them busy and able to tick off a box by a certain day or year.

A good curriculum that fits well with your kids’ learning style and your lifestyle will still require your time to plan and execute each week. If you plan to return to the public-school system, consider also that by not having them in the online program through count day will affect the funding for your school district next year. Something to think about.

Discovery K12 is a Go-To

Discovery K12 has been a popular option for parents who are transitioning from public to homeschool, or just taking the year off. There are more than 16,000 lessons for 180 days of curriculum and 7 standard courses. The courses include everything from math and language arts to visual and performing arts, even P.E.! Parents who prefer a thorough and structured program with bonus info and extra curriculum will enjoy this, as will those kids who love to keep going. It’s easy to use and plan as a busy parent and good if you have kids of many different learning styles and ages.

BookShark for Beginners

This literature-based curriculum has studies for kids based on age, from Pre-K to high school. Everything from the standard language arts and math to history and science, BookShark hands-on experiments that can be completed over 36, 4-day weeks. It’s by age levels, which is ideal for gifted kids who may be above grade. If you want to go all-in, it’s around $700 for the All-Subject levels. If you have a child that assessed all over the place, such as age-appropriate 4th grade math but above grade in reading and language arts, then you may want to buy BookShark in pieces. It’s still easy to plan and implement.

 

Moving Beyond the Page

Designed with gifted kids in mind, Moving Beyond the Page has complete studies and guides for grades K-8. The hands-on learning units come ready to go for kiddos. It’s built from a Constructivist point of view and broken down by age over grade. It is created to focus on critical thinking units and project-based learning. Constructivists believe kids actively construct their own path to knowledge based on the problems and facts given. Kids aren’t told how to come to a conclusion, they are asked to be involved in reaching the answer. It works well with any learning style. The lower grades start at around $450 while the higher ages can be closer to $1,000.

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Kimberley McGee
Author: Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist and homeschool mama of twins.

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