While many homeschool curricula and materials are Christian-based, some families prefer to use secular materials, which are not specifically religious in content. With this style of homeschooling, you can supplement the curriculum where you deem it necessary, decide the order in which topics are studied, or skip parts of the curriculum that do not meet your family's educational goals.
It's not necessary to purchase all your educational materials from one company. You can purchase materials from various publishers or suppliers. For instance, you may choose to use math books from a publisher who specializes in math materials, grammar books from a publisher specializing in language arts books, and so on.
Many public school systems offer textbooks and educational materials to homeschool families, so check with your local school district. Local teacher-or school-supply stores also carry a wide variety of resource books, activity books, workbooks, software, and educational games, covering most subject areas.
Mail-order catalogs usually carry a wide variety of educational books and materials. Here, you can often find popular books and manipulatives, such as Miquon Math, Cuisenaire Rods, “Backyard Scientist” series, and Adventure in Science kits. There are Usborne's history-theme cut-out models, A History of Us, Smart Cubes word games, Learning Language Arts Through Literature, and many other secular books and games.
If your child enjoys reading textbooks and answering the questions at the end of the chapters, you might want to invest in a few good textbooks. These can be found at book sales; through publishers, such as Addison Wesley, Holt, Houghton Mifflin, Prentice Hall, Scott Foresman, and other textbook publishing companies; or through used homeschool suppliers, such as The Back Pack (
Secular Curriculum Providers
If you find that trying to choose among the variety of materials is too confusing, secular curriculum suppliers, such as Core Curriculum of America (
Homeschool support groups often dedicate one or two meetings a year to displaying and discussing the curriculum or resources they use with their families. They welcome families to attend and learn about the many types of curricula available.
Before making a decision, always try to talk with other homeschool families about the materials or services they use. They can provide wonderful insight into the products, format, scope and sequence, and the way the curriculum or materials suit their children's learning styles. Chapter 9 will look at curriculum choices in more detail, as well as how you can create your own curriculum.