Consider the following F-A-M-I-L-Y factors when choosing curriculum for your family.
Why are you homeschooling?
What things do you consider most important for your children to learn?
What do you believe about how children learn?
What is your vision for your homeschool?
What is your budget?
Which resources do you have more of?
How does your child learn?
What motivates your child to learn?
What season of life is your family in?
What special events - short term or long term - will be factors in your homeschooling?
What are your priorities and limitations?
How much structure do you need?
After you consider these F-A-M-I-L-Y factors, consider the following definitions and choose the best curriculum for your family.
Traditional Textbook - Information flows from teacher to student via reading materials followed by questions. Advantages: less planning on teacher's part, easy to chart scores, built-in tests. Disadvantages: less freedom and depth, potential boredom, short-term memory emphasis, grade-specific.
Unit Studies - Various subjects are organized around one topic with study materials coming from real books and usually incorporating hands-on activities. Advantages: children retain learning because of greater depth study, multiple grade levels. Disadvantages: high teacher planning and preparation time, harder to track subjects covered and accomplished.
Living Books - Reading real books rather than texts with integration of other subjects into the reading and utilizing narration as a means of feedback. Advantages: low-key learning allowing exploration of subjects. Disadvantages: difficult to track work or follow a traditional scope and sequence.
Classical - Organized around the trivium learning model - grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stages, incorporates rigorous academics with strong, classical reading. Advantages: teaches thinking skills and develops independent learners. Disadvantages: controversial emphasis on ancient disciples and classics, grade-specific.
Umbrella Program - A school where student is enrolled; curriculum is either provided or planned; grading and record-keeping can be provided or optional.
Eclectic - Educational approach that draws from other approaches for various subjects [traditional (math), history (living books)].