Top Online Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Yvette Hampton: Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Aby and I are doing a multi-part series of question and answer features for you. We have already talked about time management and we talked about some of our favorite books for homeschoolers. We’re back for another listener question, so let’s jump into it.

Aby, it’s good to have you with me.

Aby Rinella: Hey, thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, of course, this is so much fun. I love answering questions about homeschooling. So, next up is the question,

What are the best online homeschool Curriculum options?

And that’s a great question because a lot of people do stuff online. So, I’m going to let you tackle this one first, Aby.

Aby Rinella: Okay. This is a huge question right now as parents are thinking, “We want to bring our kids home, we all just got thrown into this online distance learning that we just… We’ve all just experienced. We’re considering keeping our kids home, and so this is what we know, so this is what we want to do, is this online thing.” So, before we actually give you some actual curriculum options for that, there is a difference that you need to know. There’s a huge difference between online public school, which is huge right now, and privately funded, home-based, parent led education options. 

With publicly funded online homeschool options, your kids are at home, and they’re doing online school, but it is public. It is government school. It is publicly funded government school. There are regulations. You don’t have the freedoms with homeschool that you have. So, we just want to make a very clear difference. These programs include K12, public distance learning programs, online charter schools, and the “distance learning” programs that schools have instituted since the COVID-19 shutdowns. This would also include hybrid public school and charter programs (part-time classroom, part time at home). Many of these programs are free, and in some areas, parents even get money for supplies and activities, but with that money comes government oversight and control over what materials and curriculum options you can choose. For more on this subject, I highly recommend reading what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has to say about charter schools and public-school-at-home programs, herehereand here.

Side note: We recommend every homeschooling family keep an active HSLDA membership, at all times. These guys are homeschool heroes!

Aby Rinella: And then there is, what we’re assuming that you’re asking, or hoping that you’re asking, which is online resources for privately funded, home-based, parent-led education. And that’s what we here at Schoolhouse Rocked, that’s what Yvette and I do. That’s what we promote. That’s what we love. Because with privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, you can teach and train your children’s heart in the Lord. You can point them to God and His Word in everything you teach. So, the great thing about that is there are still a ton of great online options. So as you’re looking for online homeschool curriculum options, and Yvette is going to give us a few options that are out there, but as you’re looking, really make sure that what you’re looking at is a Bible-based, true homeschool curriculum, that you don’t stumble onto a public school at-home, internet-based school. because they’re both out there.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: And there are great options. So, Yvette, you have a list of some really awesome options.

FULL ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CURRICULM

Yvette Hampton: I do. I have a few, and I know that there are a whole lot more than this, but I’m just going to tell you some of the ones that I’m most familiar with and that I really trust. The first one is BJU, which is Bob Jones University.We have used some of their online science curriculum, and I really like it. As a matter of fact, we have had the privilege of going to BJU a couple of times, and getting a tour of their whole facility, and they are so incredibly intent on teaching everything from a Biblical worldview.

Aby Rinella: That’s awesome.

Yvette Hampton: And not only are they intent on doing that, but they are intent on doing everything with excellence. They have studios set up where they actually have teachers come in, and they teach in front of a screen, and you purchase the books and then you can purchase the videos to go along with the books and have that teacher teach, whether it’s science, or history, or language arts, they have foreign languages, they’ve got just a ton of different things. because then you can choose by subject. And they’re so well-done, very well-produced. The teachers are friendly and engaging, and they’re colorful. And so, my girls have really liked those videos. It’s been fun because I’ve gotten to actually see them record these videos in person.

Yvette Hampton: And their teachers are just as amazing in person as they are in front of the camera. They’re great. So, the website for that is BJUPressHomeschool.com. That’s where you can find out more about that. 

Another one is Abeka. We have actually not used Abeka, but I know a lot of my friends who have used them really like them. And Abeka has been around forever. Since the dawn of time! I myself actually have used Abeka curriculum as a kid, because I went to a Christian school where we used Abeka. And so, I feel pretty comfortable saying that they are a trustworthy publisher, who is really putting out some really good, quality curriculum.

Aby Rinella: I agree.

Yvette Hampton: Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, you can check them out at abeka.com.

Aby Rinella: They also have a video series, so you can do online or video, or you can teach your kids with it. So, there’s a few options there as well.

Yvette Hampton: Right. And BJU is the same way.

Yvette Hampton: Many, many different options. And all of these companies, you can actually call and talk to their consultants and figure out what’s best for your family. You don’t have to do all subjects through them, you can just do some. Another one that we have used with our family, that I really like, is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.

Aby Rinella: I love that name.

Yvette Hampton: They have done a fantastic job. It’s funny, because you go on their website, and it’s not flashy, it’s not fancy, it’s very simple. It’s basically text, and there’s a little bit of artwork and stuff on there, but there are just different. You can search by grade or by subject, and everything is online, and it really is Easy Peasy. [chuckle]

Aby Rinella: So, are they online classes, or just resources online?

Yvette Hampton: Yes. Yes, to both.

Aby Rinella: Okay. [chuckle] They’ve got everything?

Yvette Hampton: Yeah. I did some of this with Lacy, she was third grade, she just finished third grade, and so I went to their third-grade language arts, and you can download, basically, their packet of language arts worksheets and things like that, which she really enjoys. She’s my worksheet girl, she thinks that’s fun. So, you can go on, download those. And then, for reading and stuff, it will have links to different things that you can read. And you do want to do it with your kids, because a lot of it is taking you to other websites, and there… I have not found anything that has compromised what we’ve seen at all, but of course, there’s always that…

Aby Rinella: Yes, absolutely.

Yvette Hampton: You never want to just put your kid in front of a computer with something like this and just say, “Go for it, kid,” and, “Good luck at what you click on.” But it’s fun to navigate through their website and it’s just… It’s really well thought out, and they’ve put a lot of work into it.

Aby Rinella: And isn’t it free? Is it, Easy Peasy free?

Yvette Hampton: It’s free. It’s all free.

Aby Rinella: Okay. That’s amazing.

Yvette Hampton: It’s absolutely free. So, this is a great resource. Abeka and BJU are amazing and fantastic, but they are definitely pricey. And so, if you have a budget and you can use it, it’s definitely worth it, but if you don’t have a budget and you’re just getting into this, and trying to figure this out and you need something free, you can literally do… You can homeschool all of your kids for free, using Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. The website for that is allinonehomeschool.com. And just great resources on there, I highly recommend that, and it is a Christian website as well, so they are always pointing kids to Christ. Now, not every single video that they have on there is specifically a Christian video, because some of the videos, they’ll link you to a YouTube video to help teach some science, something like that.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, if you’re learning about ants.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, right, right. But again, be with your kids when you do that.

Aby Rinella: Right, for sure.

Yvette Hampton: I wouldn’t seat them behind a closed door and say, “Go for it.” 

Another one, and I’ve been on their website, but I’ve never really used this, but again, I have many friends who I trust, who have used it, is AmblesideOnline.

Aby Rinella: Yes, I’ve heard. I have people that I trust, that use that as well.

Yvette Hampton: Yeah, and that’s more of a Charlotte Mason approach. And so, that’s another great one. I can’t really tell you exactly how it works, but that’s just another one to check out online. I think the website is free, I know you can go on there and get resources and stuff, and then a lot of that is books that you can get through the library, or order online or whatever. But it’s a lot of reading and seems to be really well organized. 

And then, the last one is ApologiaApologia has some online classes as well, and we… Our family loves Apologia. As a matter of fact, we recently did another podcast interview with Rachael Carman, and Rachael and Davis Carman are the owners of Apologia, we know them well, solid Christian family. And the Apologia curriculum is a solid Biblical worldview curriculum. And so, they offer online classes as well. So, that’s the other one. So, Apologia.com is where you can find those.

Aby Rinella: And I know that both… I know Abeka for sure, I’m not sure BJU, but they do have accredited programs, if you are looking for that in your state. I don’t… You’d have to know your state laws or what you need for high school courses, but I do know Abeka, and I’m sure BJU Press as well.

Yvette Hampton: Yes. 

Aby Rinella: Okay. So, those are both accredited and have all subject matter, every subject… Is both of those. And then, another resource we didn’t mention in the first, but, Cathy Duffy’s 102 Picks… Curriculum Picks. She would probably have, if you go to her website, other options for online, privately funded, home-based, parent-led education, online schools.

Yvette Hampton: Yes.

Aby Rinella: And that is the freedom of homeschooling, we can all do it differently, but there are definitely online options for homeschooling.

ONLINE MATH CURRICULUM

Yvette Hampton: Yes. And math, one last one, I didn’t mention this. [chuckle] I’m not a math person. Math is the one thing that I was like, “Oh, dear, I don’t want to teach math.” Our family uses Teaching Textbooks, we’ve used it for years.

Aby Rinella: Yes, we do too.

Yvette Hampton: And we love it. They are so fantastic. As a matter of fact, they’re coming out  with their newest version, hopefully this summer, hopefully before this next school year starts. I know that they’re working really hard to get it out.

Aby Rinella: It is absolutely excellent. For us, it changed math for our whole family. The kids can work independently and really excel. 

Yvette Hampton: And then the other one, which you guys always hear at the beginning of every podcast, is CTC Math, and that’s another one that we have not used, but… I’ve gotten to know the guys at CTC Math, really like them, and I have a lot of friends who use CTC Math. It’s similar to the same concept as Teaching Textbooks, but seems to be really well laid out. And I know those who use it really like it a lot. I have not heard a single complaint about CTC math, so that would be another one. And both of those… Actually, all of these, as far as I know, you can go on and test out, like watch a couple of sample videos. I know with Teaching Textbooks, you can do the first 15 lessons for free.

Aby Rinella: Yeah, with Teaching Textbooks, those first 15 lessons are in order, so you could put your kids on there for a couple of weeks to really get a feel for if they like it. They also have online placement tests, so you can know where exactly your kid should start. The possibilities with this are endless, so don’t feel like you can’t do it, because you can!

Yvette Hampton: While we’re at it, we should recommend a great online option for homeschooling MOMS and DADS. The Homegrown Generation Family Expo has over 40 hours of great homeschooling conference sessions to encourage and equip homeschooling parents to get off to a great start, stay strong through the years, and finish well. You can get lifetime access to all of the content there for just $20, or you can enjoy over 9 hours of FREE videos here.

Free homeschool conference videos.

The videos features some of today’s most popular speakers addressing the most important issues that homeschool families face. In addition to tons of encouraging video and audio, you also get a wealth of homeschool resources. There are Sessions by Kirk CameronHeidi St. JohnSam SorboKevin SorboKathy BarnetteAndrew PudewaIsrael WayneRick GreenGinger HubbardMeeke AddisonTodd WilsonLeigh BortinsYvette HamptonJames GottryRachael CarmanDavis CarmanPam BarnhillDurenda Wilson, Karen DeBeus, Jeannie Fullbright, Linda Lacour HobarAby Rinella, Ana Willis, Connie Albers, Barb & Rich Heki, Jamie Erickson, Colleen Kessler, Peggy Ployhar, Sharon Fisher, Misty Bailey, Kim Sorgius, Trish Corlew, Kristi Clover, Danielle Papageorgiou, Scott LaPierreand Caleb Schroeder!

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

You Can Teach Math at Home!

I know how intimidating the thought of teaching math at home can be. When our family began homeschooling over 9 years ago, my greatest fear was having to teach math to my girls. And I don’t say that lightly. When I was in school, which was quite a long time ago, math was my most dreaded subject. So, naturally, I didn’t look forward to the idea of teaching it. Afterall, how could I teach the very subject I struggled with the most? (There’s a reason I frequent the calculator on my iPhone!) 

In spite of my original terror at the thought of having to teach math at home I have great news for you. There are excellent resources to make teaching math at home completely manageable – even for me. And if I can do it you can do it too!

When Brooklyn was in kindergarten, I vividly remember having a conversation with my good friend Ashley, whose daughter was in 3rd grade at the time. She told me about a math program called Teaching Textbooks. I actually wrote it on a piece of paper and filed it away in my school file box so that I wouldn’t forget about this revolutionary math program and the answer to my math problems (pun intended). When we hit 3rd grade I was ready! I new the answer to our homeschool math needs. We could finally use this fantastic tool and could focus on the things I love most like reading to my girls, studying history, playing games, and spending time outdoors with them. I have to admit that even though I couldn’t wait to get started, I knew I could effectively teach kindergarten, first grade, and second grade math skills while we waited.

As soon as we could, our family jumped on the Teaching Textbooks bandwagon and we have never looked back. We LOVE Teaching Textbooks! The program is so well thought out and executed.  It’s easy to access. The concepts are clearly explained. It’s fun and interactive. It’s visually appealing, especially to its young users and, I don’t have to grade math papers or keep track of grades. The program does it all for me. I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more. And my girls love it too!

I asked my girls what they thought about Teaching Textbooks and here’s what they had to say about it:

I love the interaction from the instructor and the fun, animated characters. It’s easy to understand and I like how short the lessons are. I also like the “encouragement” from the automated program when I get a problem right.

Brooklyn (age 14)

“I like how it’s fun and how it makes math seem so easy. And I like that I can do it on my own. I like how I can put little characters up and check my grade book anytime.”

Lacey (age 9)

One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling is that we are able to teach for MASTERY. While students in a school classroom are forced to move at the pace of the rest of the class, homeschool students are able to spend extra time to really learn the subjects that they are struggling with or move ahead if they are excelling in a subject. This is especially important with math, as math is progressive. Math concepts build on themselves and if you miss steps as you are learning you will definitely struggle with learning more complicated concepts in the future. In my experience, Teaching Textbooks has been great in this area. At times, my daughters have been able to move more quickly or slowly through lessons, without feeling rushed or frustrated. This has allowed my girls to actually enjoy learning math – something that I was never able to do!

If you are looking for a solid math program for 3rd grade throug Pre-Calculus, Teaching Textbooks is definitely worth looking into. The program is very reasonably priced, and they even offer a large-family plan. 

You can even try the first 15 lessons for FREE! If you are considering which math curriculum to use, take advantage of the Free Trial of the first 15 lessons of any Teaching Textbooks level. This means you will have access to their lectures, their audiovisual solutions (to each problem), their eBook, and the automated grading feature. You have nothing to lose.

If you haven’t tried Teaching Textbooks yet, you’re missing out! Give it a try and let me know what you and your kids think. 

Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash

We feel the highest responsibility to faithfully serve and support the homeschool community. One of the ways we do this is by recommending the BEST homeschooling curriculum, products, and services. We use every product we recommend, and we paid for these products for many years before we ever received any free products or financial support from the companies we recommend. We would like to thank Teaching Textbooks for sponsoring the Homegrown Generation Family Expo and for sponsoring The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast in the past. Their support of the homeschool community is greatly appreciated. While they are a valued sponsor they are a PRIZED RESOURCE that we couldn’t live without!