buying homeschool curriculum

7 Steps to Buying Homeschool Curriculum When You First Begin

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Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Sarah McCubbin

When buying homeschool curriculum, the sheer volume of choices can be overwhelming. You want your child to be successful and you don’t want to mess this up. Because of that pressure, you may feel pushed to hurry up and pick! Don’t stress out! Even if school is starting next week, you don’t need to stress out. Buying the wrong curriculum is easy to do and can be a very expensive and time-consuming problem to deal with. Here are my best tips for buying homeschool curriculum!

1. Give yourself an allotment of time to decide what to buy/use

When you first begin creating your homeschool plan, curriculum shopping can be daunting. Between the plethora of free and paid resources, it can be a bit daunting when you first begin. If you have the time, I recommend giving yourself a month or two to research the different options.

2. Research curriculum

As you research curriculum, your goal should be to find curriculum that is in line with your values or big goals for your family and that fits your child’s learning style. Use our Free Educational Philosophy Worksheet to help you find your big goals for your homeschool.

A great place to research curriculum is Cathy Duffy Reviews.

buying homeschool curriculum

3. Make A Curriculum Outline

After you have done your curriculum research, make a general outline of the subjects you need to teach to that child. Make sure your outline is both required subjects and any special subjects you want to have included. For example, you might want your outline to look something like this:

Subject Curriculum Chosen
Language Arts
Sample Blank Curriculum Outline

4. Fill in the outline.

Write in experiences, books and possible curriculum to cover the subjects.

Curriculum for Johnny – 2nd grade

Subject Curriculum Chosen
MathSaxon Math 2
Language ArtsAll About Reading- Level 2
HistoryStory of the World – Book 2
Science-various library books/nature studies
PE/Health-soccer team, videos and field trips
Sample Curriculum Outline

5. Order Only a Couple of Subjects at a Time

Order only a couple of subjects of curriculum at a time. It is SUPER exciting to get a big box of books…but when you are first getting started…start small with core subjects.

Ordering a couple of subjects at a time is good for 2 reasons.

  • If you are on a budget, it lets you allocate your resources to the most important subjects. If you need to return or rebuy subjects, you will still have a budget left. Subjects like history and science are easy to find resources online line and at the library that are cheap or free. These ones are also the easiest to combine with multiple grade levels.
  • It will let you develop a rhythm with only a couple of subjects before adding in the rest. If you only need to get Math and Language arts done every day, it is much easier than if you have 4 or 5 subjects you are trying to squeeze in. Don’t worry, you will have plenty of time to add the other subjects and still finish before the year is out.

My Favorite Homeschool Books!

6. Use a Homeschool Planner When Buying Homeschool Curriculum

Use a planner to make a schedule to cover your subjects. Fill in only 1 monthyou will likely need to adjust after a month. A homeschool planner is different from a regular planner as it will have spaces for multiple children and subjects all on one-page spread. Using a planner when buying homeschool curriculum will help you map out how much curriculum you can realistically cover.

When you first start buying, it is easy to overbuy assuming you will get more done than you will. By using a planner you can create a realistic plan based on your family.

Be Sure To Set Up a Digital Files System For Digital Curriculum and Freebies!

When you start buying homeschool curriculum, you will quickly realize that its easy to lose your files.

Learn How to Organize Your Digital Homeschool Files HERE

It will save you tons of time and money when you can quickly find the resources you have without frustration!

7. Try Your Plan & Adjust As Needed

The last step is just as important as the first. I recommend you view your homeschool buying and planning as a bit of an experiment. Try it out…really…just try your plan and then adjust as needed. Make sure to set a pace that gives you time to breathe. You don’t have to “get it all right” and they will be fine.

If you are able to buy your curriculum early in the summer, it will give you plenty of time to do a trial run with your kids. Try doing your planned routine for a day…or a few days. Is that pace sustainable? If not, go ahead and adjust your schedule to create a sustainable pace.

Just a Couple More Thoughts

If you plan to join a homeschool co-op or homeschool hybrid program, you will definitely want to check with them before you buy your curriculum. These groups pick the curriculum they will use for their class offerings and you will need to buy what they suggest.

We have a free resource library full of different tools to help you on your homeschool journey. Feel free to check it out!