Homeschool curriculum help!

We have decided to begin homeschooling our children this fall. We will have one in 1st grade and one in kindergarten. I’ve become extremely overwhelmed with researching curriculum. I am certain that for the first year I want to do one full curriculum and not pull different subjects from different places. I’m sure this will happen eventually as I see what I like and don’t like, but for the first year I’m trying to keep things very simple.

Right now, I’m debating between Seton, Kolbe, Mother of Divine Grace, and Catholic Heritage.

Can anyone provide some comparisons for me on these curriculums? I do know that we’ll definitely be using Saxon math…beyond that I’m completely clueless!!

I would just blindly pick one and see how your child handles it. If it’s too overwhelming than go to a different one next year. If it’s a good fit, then stick with it.

Also, since it’s your first year, I’d recommend picking a curriculium with alot of support…either by phone, email or message board. Other parents are always a good resource but they can be swayed and unintentionally make you feel inadequite becuas you’re not supermom. Curriculim administratiors have a better idea of what students “really” accomplish and aren’t swayed by their pride in Johnny who already can translate the “our Father” into latin, greek and hebrew.

Seton is very rigid in the academic approach. I would suggest CHC, as it is more gentle in the academics, yet it doesn’t water down the faith (not that MODG or Kolbe do that, I just didn’t want you to think that gentle meant “watered down”.)

While each of those you suggested looking into have online samples, I think CHC is the best all-around.

We started HSing this year so I am not that experienced. But, for what it is worth, If you are starting in kindergarten some of the Catholic curriclulums dont even have a program. We freaked out about programs too, we ended up joining a state charter HS but what I really learned is that a curriculum is really just a shell. I have found that many programs just need to be added to. Pick one but be in tune to what it is missing. One of the good things about my family and friends always trying to talk me out of HSing is that I can garner info on where my child is and what we can work on.

My h/s friends use Seton and CHC, and both have good things to say about both approaches. We use Connections Academy, and while it’s not Catholic (it’s public) I really, really like it. Plus, as a public school at home, it doesn’t cost anything (except like an enrollment/processing fee, which is really small) and they send you everything–text books, work books, supplies, manipulatives, readers, etc.

Maybe check out Connections Academy and see if they’re in your state?

YAY for Saxon Math!! If you buy the old, hardcover books on eBay, they will last longer and are better for home schoolers. But Saxon starts in earnest in the 3rd grade, so you will need to start working with flash cards in the mean time. However your kids are still so young, you need to start slowly and work up to speed drills as time goes on. Please do not switch away from Saxon, it is such a good program and other math texts tend to be full of colorful pictures that have nothing to do with adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing! Saxon is so clearly laid out that kids can actually work the problems by themselves!

As for a curriculum…Did your 1st grader go to K this year? Is he/she reading or almost reading? Did you look at the worksheets he brought home? There is not a whole lot of academics that a Kindergartner needs - very basic teaching like numbers, letters, sounds, the weather, the holidays, nature, and a lot of play. Emphasis on play! Read to both of them, A LOT, get them outdoors A LOT. Take them with you everywhere! Talk to them about what you are doing - grocery shopping, running errands, visiting friends or family - anything can be a lesson. Go to museums and the zoo if you have one. Get books from the library about ANY interest they have. Read, read, read!!

But don’t get heavy into academics - remember kindergartners still get a rest period after lunch, and many 1st graders could use one. In fact when both of my sons were in 1sst grade I wished for a half-day like they had in K! Please do not push your children but let them go at their own pace.

I hope you live in a home school friendly state. I urge you to join the home school coalition in your state and contribute to their legal fund. You never know - you might need them some day!

I vote chc. And, I would go with the Image of God for religion.

Personally, however, I really dislike saxon math. I love abeka.

I am not familiar with a couple of those, but you may want to look at the graduation options for your homeschool program. If it is an accredited school your children should recieve a diploma. I know our local Catholic Homeschool group does not and their children have to take the GED test, which may or may not affect their college acceptance.

That’s a thought, however, you have plenty of time to worry about graduation (when they get to high school). For kindergarten and first grade, it’s not really an issue.

Wow, I didn’t even think about that! I do think at this moment we’re leaning more towards Seton. It more closely resembles the teaching that my kids were receiving at our local Catholic private school. I think it might be the easiest transition for us all. But I definitely think we’ll find ourselves incorporating some of the other curriculums as time moves on. I love the CHC books, I wish I could see some in person though.

Homeschooled students DO NOT need to take the GED to graduate or get a Diploma.

Some choose to take the test, but it is not a requirement.

As far as a Diploma: (the FAQ section addresses the GED/Diploma issue)

This is the legal organization that represents homeschooling families world-wide (but mostly here in the US and Canada). They are the experts in homeschool laws and even though they are an Evangelical Protestant organization, they represent all homeschooling families. Even if you live in a homeschool-friendly state, it’s nice to check their site occasionally to get information to things that you might need, such as the concern about Diplomas.

Look online for any home school conventions near you. They should have a booth there where you can examine the books. Or perhaps there is a co-op in your area that will have resale books you can look at.

Do you dislike Saxon because the emphasis is on the problems, and the books have no pictures? The way the books are written means that the concepts are repeated again and again and this means the skills are very thoroughly learned. And the books are really good enough that the student can work through the problems on his or her own, which says a lot.

Since there is no true Saxon textbook until 3rd grade level, you can do anything up to that point as long as you are teaching adding and subtracting solidly. Then, Saxon takes over and gets them ready for real math.

One of the things you should consider, IMO, is this: You want a curriculum that is VERY heavy in reading. Between K and 2nd Grade children learn to read . . . but after that they read to learn. If they don’t have an extraordinarily sound basis in reading you are making every other subject more difficult.

They can catch up on wrote memorization and math - but it’s hard to catch up on reading whilst trying to learn other subjects.

Reading, Writing, and early classical education that doesn’t look like education (e.g, art or music lessons) will pay HUGE dividends later in school.


Because it’s repetitive Saxon is very dry. It’s better than Rod and Staff (which apparently no one uses anymore). Saxon is DEFINATLY not a one size fits all, and geared more towards children who have some ability to self teach. Verbal/visual people do much better with math books that focus on manipulatives and other tequniques.

For instance, Saxon introduces the formula to a triangle MANY chapters before they introduce the triangle problems themselves. a2xb2=c2 For those to whom formulas aren’t appealing it’s really boggling. Yes, some students will do will with learning a formula before seeing a picture, but other’s will flounder at formulas until they understand WHY. As soon as they see a trinagle, it becomes clear. I also feel it’s woefully under-descriptive in the fractions department. For visiual kids heavy supplimintation is nececcary. So I feel Saxon often underplays many types of learning styles.

Not to say it’s not a solid math program, just one that is geared towards early 19th centuary metholds of education, (which discriminated against learning disabilities/differences) and not the methods we’ve become aware of today.

We currently use CHC and like it a lot. They build the faith into the curriculum which is nice.
We use Primary Mathematics for our math program (Singapore) instead of MCP.

Hello debissot, my children have had an eclectic education to say the least for a range of reasons! I also homeschooled when they were in the early grades then they were in Catholic school for a year and a half and after a year at an International school here are now in our local German elementary. As they are in school from 7:40am-12:30pm I teach them just English (as math etc. is covered in German) using books from Seton. We are not registered with Seton but I like their materials as they are structured and then I add spelling and some other resources (we love WorldyWise vocabulary books for example).

The advantages of Seton is that it is structured and they have help available 24/7 by phone and email so you never have to wait for an answer. Seton might be a good one to start with until you feel more confident. I also second reading, reading, reading to your children. Homeschooling can feel scary but as long as you are least covering the basics in the early years there is no need to worry. Having lots of free time to play, play, play is very good for little ones. My children sometimes comment on the lack of imagination in some school friends. Books, play and above all love and intimacy with God and family helps keep their imagination alive and is crucial for higher-level subjects, critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

You really can’t go wrong with any of those picks. Whichever one seems to fit best after looking through the websites and/or going to a homeschool conference would be the one I’d pick. I’ll bet you’ll start with it and tweak it as you go.

We only started homeschooling our oldest in 9th grade so we have a lot to learn, but I can see down the road doing some replacing here and there once our feet are under us.

We are planning on starting to homeschool our daughter, who will be in 1st grade, next year. I have looked at curriculum for a long time now and we have decided to go with CHC. I like the look of their books and it is a gentle approach, which will be really nice the first year. I also love that you can buy a lesson planner that pretty much does the planning for you! :smiley: That will save me so much time, and give us the chance to do other fun things. They also have a preschool-Kindergarten program that is very laid back and takes almost no planning time! :wink:

They start out with MCP math, since Saxon doesn’t start in 1st grade, but that’s a good program, and I will use the Saxon math in 3rd grade and up. I didn’t care for Saxon math when I was a teacher, because I felt it was hard to differentiate learning, but if it’s just for one child in a homeschool setting it is a great program, and pretty affordable as math programs go. My sister swears by Math-u-See but it’s a little out of my budget! :frowning:

I also agree that you should look into homeschool groups in your area. They give you lots of support and it’s nice to learn from their experience! Also, join one of the legal associations for homeschoolers. You may never need them, but it’s nice to know you’ll have someone who can back you up who is familiar with homeschooling laws in your area!

Good luck and God bless you!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit