• Deborah Verga

Our Favorite Secular Homeschool Curriculum


We're starting our 6th year of homeschooling this year!


We've homeschooled through elementary, all of middle school, and now into high school.


To say we've tried a few things is an understatement!


That's definitely the beauty of homeschooling, you get to choose the direction you'd like to take your homeschool, and you get to pick and choose your child's curriculum.


You can run a course straight through, go off on a tangent down a rabbit hole of exploration, or end up somewhere in the middle.


You can choose materials and resources based on your child's strengths or weaknesses, interests, and learning style.


You can use curriculum at grade level, below it or above it.


You can use an out-of-the box curriculum, create unit studies for specific topics or areas of interest. Or, do something in between!


While brick and mortar public schools need to focus their attention on the median of a class, of say 30 kids, we homeschoolers get to focus on just what one child needs.


And if you're homeschooling multiple children, you're able to maintain that individual focus with each child.


Again, that's the beauty of homeschooling!


State Educational Standards

While each state has educational standards for each subject and each grade level, they don't mandate how to meet those educational standards.


Or, what you can and can not use to teach your child.


States want to make sure your child has an understanding of a percentage of the overall subject. Usually 80%.


If you're new to homeschooling, or need a refresher on the educational State Standards, you can read more about that, here.


Favorite Secular Homeschool Curriculum By Subject


I've broken down our favorite secular homeschool curriculum by subject.


These are materials we've enjoyed using over the past 5+ years from elementary through high school!


I've also included a little snapshot of what we're using this year, for 10th grade.


Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can check out the full video review when it goes up!


Let's get into it...


Language Arts


Grammar

Our favorite grammar program is Fix It! Grammar.


There are materials for grades 3-12.


This program has a student workbook and a teacher's manual.


Your child will search for and correct grammatical errors in daily passages that cumulatively tell a story.


The stories are really engaging and will hold your child's attention while they're learning and applying new grammar skills!


Having the lessons seamlessly embedded into the stories makes learning often tedious grammar lessons, fun!


My daughter really enjoyed Fix It! Grammar. We used it for both elementary and middle school.


Literature


Our favorite literature program is Essentials in Literature.


There are materials for grades 7-11. (12th grade is slated to be released in the very near future!)


This program has a student workbook, a resource book / teacher's manual, a novel, and either dvds or online program access.


Essentials in Literature uses a variety of short works, recent works, and classics in American, British and World literature to help your child learn the elements of literature.


Assignments include answering comprehension and connection questions, short essays, and light writing assignments.


We like the way Mr. Stephens presents this material. He makes literature interesting and not overwhelming.


My daughter did very well with this program and we will continue to use Essentials in Literature throughout high school.


Reading


We loved using the 180 Days of Reading workbooks in elementary.


There are workbooks for K-6


Each workbook is self contained with the student workbook in the front and the teacher/answer key located in the back of the book.


As the title suggestions, there are 180 days of short, easy reading lessons.


The exercises are in 5-day groups.


The first three days your child reads either a brief fiction or nonfiction passage then they answer a couple of questions.


On days 4 and 5 they read slightly longer passages, keeping with the topic of the first 3 days, and answer a couple more comprehension questions.


The passages are easily digestible and engaging, as are the questions.


Since questions are presented in a predictable pattern, you can quickly diagnose any reading skill deficiencies then target those areas.


These short, fun, exercises really helped develop my daughter's reading skills!

Spelling


We love Spelling Workout!


This program is level based with both a student workbook and a teacher's manual.


We started using it in 6th grade because my daughter was struggling with spelling and phonics, and we continued using it through 9th grade!


This is one of those programs where your child's current skill level is what determines the level they'll use. Not their grade or age.


I have a video review of Spelling Workout up on my YouTube channel, here.


Prior to using Spelling Workout, my daughter had a super hard time differentiating various sounds in words. This hindered her spelling.


I credit her years using Spelling Workout with helping her to work through that hurdle. And it definitely helped her to become a much stronger reader.

Writing


Our favorite writing program is Essentials in Writing.


There are materials for grades 1-12.


This program has a student workbook, a teacher's manual, and dvds.


Essentials in Writing is broken down into elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school.


Essentials in Writing is a complete grammar and composition curriculum.


Just as with Essentials in Literature, we like the way Mr. Stephens presents this material. He makes writing and grammar fun, not overwhelming, and the material sticks.


My daughter did very well with this program and we will continue to use Essentials in Writing through high school.


Math


One of the things we had to figure out early on was if my daughter did better with a mastery based math program, or a spiraling math program.


Mastery means you work one concept until mastered then move on to the next, in a logical order.


Spiraling means you work a concept for a bit, move on to the next concept, and the next concept, then come back and review the first concept, then move back up to where you were and on again.


Both have their strengths and weaknesses.


We tried both and discovered that my daughter does better with a mastery math program.


That doesn't mean she's a master in any of the material, it just means she's worked each concept enough to retain and recall the material in some capacity.


This helps her to work through the next concept.


We've been using Math U See since 6th grade!


Their program covers your child's entire math education from elementary through high school.


You purchase this program in pieces depending on what you need: student workbook, test book, dvds, teacher's manual, and manipulatives.


Because Math U See is a mastery-based and student-paced math program, the levels don’t correspond to traditional grade levels.


Where you start is based on your child's current understanding of math. You can jump in, out, up, or down levels, as necessary.


Each lesson teaches using multi-sensory tools such as videos, manipulatives, and worksheets for a full sensory approach.


We thoroughly enjoy the way Mr. Demme explains each lesson and key math concepts in a logical and engaging way.


Mr. Demme's approach really helps to make math fun and less intimidating, especially at the high school level.

Science & Social Studies


We've used a variety of programs for science, history, and geography over our homeschooling career.


We've used everything from textbooks to online.


But for high school we're using a combo of both from Holt McDougal.


Holt McDougal Biology


These materials are for grades 9-12.


Each program includes a hard copy student text plus an "Interactive Online Edition".


The interactive editions include the student and teacher editions, worksheets, labs, assessments, and various tools and videos.


Holt McDougal World History


When you purchase this curriculum it comes with an online code to access the interactive materials. Once you activated the code, it stays active for one year.


You can repurchase just the online activation after one year, if you need to have access after it expires.



Holt McDougal Geography


When these books arrived a month or so ago, we couldn't wait to crack them open!


These textbooks gorgeous and exploding with interesting content! They will definitely hold my daughter's attention and invite her to want to learn more.



Holt McDougal The Americans


We're very much looking forward to exploring Science and Social Studies through Holt McDougal this year!







Holt McDougal United States Government


*You can just purchase the textbooks pretty inexpensively on Amazon (all linked here for you). If you want exactly what we're using, I recommend you purchase the entire homeschool package for each subject to get interactive online access with all of the materials. We purchased our packages from Rainbow Resource.

Parting thoughts...

Regardless of what you choose to use, make sure it meets your child's needs, interest, and learning style.


Make sure it's engaging and they enjoy it. And make sure you enjoy using it, too!


And, lastly, don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. Isn't that what homeschool learning is all about anyways?!


Join me over Facebook and Instagram. Would love to meet you there!



The opinions expressed here are always my own unless stated otherwise. Some of my links are affiliate links. If you click a link and buy something, I receive a commission for the sale. It doesn't cost you anything extra and you are free to use the link or not as you choose. If you do use my links, I appreciate your support!

© 2019 Deborah Verga