Guide to the Best Software Curriculum for Homeschoolers

Finding the best software curriculum for your student when you begin homeschooling is not always the easiest task because of the sheer number of programs available and the variety of teaching philosophies and methods they all use. Even experienced homeschooling families sometimes find themselves looking for new curriculum or supplemental material years after they have started.

If you are just beginning to homeschool, it is important to determine the way your child learns and then search for the software that can best cater to his or her needs. Even if you decide to go with a program that offers an entire year’s worth of curriculum for each grade level, there are a lot of very useful supplemental materials out there that you should be looking at. Here are my some of the best software curriculum for homeschoolers that my family has used in over .

Saxon Homeschool Curriculum
The reputation behind Saxon homeschool curriculum and software programs is phenomenal, because the curriculum is good and the support that the company is able to provide. Saxon has a huge following among homeschoolers for both of these reasons, but mostly it is the philosophy of teaching that is used to help parents educate their children. Incremental learning is a method that involves teaching lessons in increments as the student masters skills and concepts, and then keeps reintroducing and requiring the student to use what they have already learned so that they do not forget it. This is a lot different than more traditional teaching methods that teach a concept and then move on, many times requiring the concept to be retaught months later.

Using the Saxon homeschool curriculum is easy enough for students and parents, giving both the chance for independent study and teaching opportunities. Each lesson is led by an instructor who teaches the individual concepts and then provides many practice problems that allow for interactive learning. Students then complete practice problems related to the current lesson and previous lessons, on their own. The best part about the Saxon curriculum, is the ability to use it exclusively or in addition to other curriculum you are already using in your homeschool.

Switched On Schoolhouse
Switched on Schoolhouse is a software program from Alpha Omega Publications that is available for grades three through twelve, and provides everything for both student and teacher. The program includes core subjects along with a whopping, thirty-five electives that student and parent are encouraged to review and select from. The curriculum does require a little more oversight in the beginning when compared to other software programs I have tried, but once you are comfortable with the grading, scheduling and themed approach it does get easier. Depending on your preference, this curriculum does have a Christian worldview and it is introduced in the subjects.

A Beka Homeschool
A Beka Homeschool offers several different ways to school your children, but their DVD software and internet streaming options have quickly grown in popularity because of the versatility they give students and parents. Of the two options, I think the DVD software offers more to parents, and is always able to be used as long as you have a computer in the home. Most everyone has access to the internet, but if you do not or when problems arise it is impossible to use the live stream. I also like the ability to go back into the lessons even after they have been completed, when doing unit studies or a specific project, and the entire curriculum is not always available to you at every point when you decide to do the online course.

Time4Learning
Time4Learning is exclusively online, but the variety of activities and worksheets make it possible to do some of the curriculum offline and on paper. Unlike other software programs, T4L starts students off in Kindergarten, but only goes through the eighth grade. Another perk is the ability to use the curriculum on a monthly basis and pay the tuition that way. A lot of these programs are very expensive and being able to budget it out monthly for several children makes it possible for a lot of families, it also gives you the chance to use the curriculum without contracting yourself to the program for a year.

Sonlight
The curriculum software offered by Sonlight is a little different in that it offers literature focused learning. There are a lot of different components to this software, and we like to use it as a supplement, but I know a lot of homeschoolers like it for its more structured great books type learning.

Rosetta Stone Language Software
Rosetta Stone software was not meant as a homeschool based curriculum, but it is very effective and homeschoolers have found it useful. For foreign language needs, Rosetta Stone is the leader in computer software and the courses can be used for every age level.

ClickN Read Phonics
ClickN Read is great for beginning homeschoolers who have several children that need to learn to read. The program is designed to teach children the basics skills for readings in several different formats because children do not all learn the same way. We found this program especially useful for struggling readers and even used it to reinforce what some of the beginning readers in our family already learned.

ALEKS
ALEKS is dedicated to mathematics, and gives elementary through high school students a sound foundation for college. If you have an independent student who works well on their own with structured instruction, this program is a great fit. Unlike a lot of other programs, the student gets to choose the pace at which to progress and the software progresses with the student, offering lessons specifically catered to each student’s understanding and progress.

Ace Reader
Ace Reader is not an entire curriculum, or even necessary, but it is useful for those who enjoy reading, want to increase their comprehension or those preparing for standardized testing. Ace Reader is a personal speed reading course that also teaches improved reading comprehension and is perfect for older students and their parents who need to be able to get through some of the same curriculum as their children.

Gamco Science Software
Science courses are often the hardest to provide for homeschool students because home labs are not easily replicated without the adjoining science labs and equipment. With the help of software such as, Gamco, it is easily possible to introduce the basic science concepts needed to provide students with a good foundation in the physical and life sciences. This is suitable for elementary and high school students and it is easily adaptable into the rest of your curriculum.

Source: The #1 Homeschool Community, Homeschool.com, Homeschool.com