How do I Choose the Best Online Curriculum?

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

If you're interested in homeschooling your child, you may have noticed that there are more online curriculum options available than ever before. Popular options for homeschooling curricula include the A Beka curriculum, Seton homeschool, and Calvert homeschool. Choosing a school curriculum that works well for your family requires considering several different factors. Web sites offering parent reviews of the various curriculum options can be helpful, but ultimately the decision is one you'll need to make on your own.

A curriculum guide may be available online for homeschooling teachers.
A curriculum guide may be available online for homeschooling teachers.

Before you begin researching all of the online curriculum options that are available, take some time to think about how you would describe your child's learning style. Is he a visual learner who learns best by reading, an auditory learner who learns by hearing, or a kinesthetic learner who prefers hands-on activities? Even if the curriculum has been developed by educators with several years of experience, lessons that involve hours of reading or listening to recorded lectures aren't going to be the best choice for a child who is clearly a kinesthetic learner.

Factors for choosing an online curriculum include whether the child is a visual learner who learns best by reading.
Factors for choosing an online curriculum include whether the child is a visual learner who learns best by reading.

Your teaching style and personal beliefs regarding what your child should be learning are factors to consider as well. Are you looking for a secular curriculum or one that makes frequent references to your family's religious beliefs? Do you want lessons with detailed instructions or would you prefer to be able to develop your own teaching materials using a wide variety of sources? Do you need a program that is able to accommodate children working at several different grade levels?

The best online curriculum is one that offers a wide variety of teaching resources. Printable worksheets, e-books, interactive quizzes, and downloadable videos make it easier to teach children with differing learning styles. Teacher's manuals, answer keys for parents, and suggestions for additional hands-on activities will make it easier for you to plan supplemental lessons when you feel your child needs extra help with a topic. Tech support and the option to have meetings to discuss your child's progress are helpful features for an online curriculum as well.

Price is not necessarily an indicator of quality when it comes to choosing an online curriculum for homeschooling. There are many Web sites offering curriculum lessons for several hundred US Dollars, but these resources aren't always better than the free or low cost options that are available. If you're on a tight budget, there are also a number of groups for homeschooling parents which offer used curriculums that can be a more budget-friendly choice than purchasing an exclusively online curriculum.

Many online curriculum have interactive elements.
Many online curriculum have interactive elements.
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the wiseGEEK team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

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