Homeschooling really is a different animal these days. Back when many of us grew up, you might be rather limited to books on hand at home and a whole lot of prep work to come up with the perfect tailored curriculum. Add in that if your parents had an Achilles heel subject, this could also complicate things, but those days are officially GONE.
With modern homeschooling, parents have access to resources that simply were not available before, and homeschooling is all the better for it. Today we’re going to tell you about some resources that you can use for secular homeschool curriculums as a primary source or as a supplemental to your particular teaching style.
We’ll try to include a little something for everyone, so read on and prepare to be amazed – some of the resources are really quite handy and your kids are going to LOVE them!
Math and reading/language Arts for levels Kindergarten through 8th grade
Mastery Genius is our first entry and they are an excellent option for secular homeschooling that helps parents to identify problem areas in their children’s education and to instantly create a customized curriculum to address this. It is referred to as an ‘intervention’ approach, and the concept basically comes out to:
- Assess and identify problems
- Customize coursework to ‘shore-in’ these gaps
- Rate ongoing progress with curriculum modification as-needed.’
In addition, online tutoring via video interaction is available on an as-needed basis, providing parents with software driven adaptive coursework with a human element that can be added at any time as-needed.
Mastery Genius starts off with a testing phase, which incorporates NWEA Map standards (Northwest Evaluation Association Measure of academic progress). This is an excellent start, as these common core standards are used in 3100 districts, spanning 50 states and 49 foreign countries.
Once your child has been tested, this information is used to create a customized curriculum through software called Pathblazer, and that curriculum is delivered with an approach towards explicit instructions, supported practice, independent practice, and finally an assessment of progress. This is done through dashboard feedback and timely reports emailed or simply viewed by the parents.
Mastery Genius is actually priced quite reasonably, with $30 per month getting you unlimited access to the customized curriculum, adaptive assignments, and the reporting options. This makes it a popular option for homeschoolers on a budget or who are short on time and want a language arts and mathematics focus.
These difficult subjects are tackled quite well with Pathblazer’s modern approach, so that the curriculum strategy can be remedial or even accelerated, and its efficacy is assured through the NWEA standards at it’s core.
To learn more about Mastery Genius, you can visit their website by clicking here.
Geography, History, Language arts, Math, Science, some computer and Windows-based application usage, and 115 elective courses- Kindergarten – 2 is provided offline, with grade levels 3-12 provided online
Calvert Homeschool has a history of providing secular homeschool education for over 110 years. As such, what you get is traditional objective-based learning. Basically, goals are provided, exercises are performed towards achieving them, and progress is assessed.
This is largely subject-based integration, for instance a child may be introduced to a series of facts about the civil war, while also asked to read and recite a famous poem about this subject in order to draw correlations and to help drive the lesson home. Some presentation, word processing, and spreadsheet software is also used at time, and skills that are picked up in lessons are re-used in following lessons to increase expertise in their usage as the curriculum progresses.
From K-2, materials are presented in the form of colorful, physical workbooks, while from 3 – 12 instruction is predominantly handled online. Homeschoolers that prefer not to use the online option at all can do so and you can see demos of their program online.
Calvert’s costs will vary based on what you need. Individual electives are $9.95 per month or $99.95 per year, while core courses online for 3 – 12 are $39.95 per month or $399.95 per year, and K – 2 printed and other materials can range in cost from $150-$378. A 30-day trial is also available.
To learn more about Calvert, you can visit their YouTube channel here.
Math, reading/Language arts, science, social studies, additional foreign languages, and Time4Writing – pre-K through 12th grade
Time4Learning incorporates an online-based curriculum that mimics a standard school experience in a wide variety of subjects. It’s less automated, aside from the actual work and assessment, in that parents will log in and take the lead rather than a ‘test, assess, and customize classwork’ approach. We’ll elaborate a little more on this in the next section.
Time4Learning provides an online ‘set and go’ type curriculum where parents may log in, select lesson plans and assignments, and can even print up corresponding schedules This gives parents a lot of control, but this is more time-intensive than some of the other offerings that we are listing today – so it will be a huge perk for some, and a bit too granulated for others.
The onus will be on the parents for identifying problems area through the reports in order to issue corrective coursework but Time4Learning integrates more repetition than many other courses, so this certainly provides a ‘tried and true’ way to drive lessons home.
Some materials are printable, while other materials are delivered through graphics or cartoons, so a good connection and a printer will be required. They also have Time4Writing, which actually provides a curriculum that uses a certified teacher for writing assignments, but aside from this it is strictly online and reliant on the parent for one-on-one interactions and assistance with difficult concepts.
Aside from coursework, game activities are also available and set times may be defined for these to limit any deviation from the coursework schedule if needed.
Time4Learning has a number of different programs, but to provide you with an example of costs, rates start at $24.95 per month for PreK –8th grade, while grades 9 – 12 are $334.95 per month.
To learn more about Time4Learning, you can go to their website by clicking this link.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
English, Math, and Spanish are offered – K through 12
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a standard that many of us remember and they definitely provide homeschool offerings if you would like to continue this tradition. As far as the concept, HMH utilizes the Saxon method of incremental learning, and while they are not comprehensive, math coursework is their strongest offering.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has evolved with the times, so that they now offer not only physical texts, but software driven learning as well in the form of kits for subjects which the parents select. This means that you get the same types of materials that you remember for your kids, but enhanced with animations, simulations, videos, graphs, and software-driven evaluation of progress.
This is where it can get tricky, as costs are determined by specific kits that you select, as well as if you are getting hardcover books or going with digital licensing. From a quick review in some of the science offerings, books and licenses look to be in the $40 – $90 range per subject, but again it is all going to depend on the kits that you specifically select.
It’s really not intended as a ‘stand-alone’ approach, but more along the lines of empowering you as the actual teacher for specific subjects, with some additional software-driven options added.
To learn more about Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, simply click this link to visit their website.
Math – Kindergarten through 12th grade
Mathnasium is a match-centric homeschooling option for homeschoolers that would like to have a physical center available if any problems arise with online or printed curriculum.
They have over 1000 centers located throughout the United States for in-person sessions or the parent may use Mathnasium with a completely online approach.
Mathnasium starts with an assessment of your child’s current proficiency levels, in order to customize a curriculum to target new areas or areas that could use some work. They recommend taking advantage of their learning centers, either for tutoring or for in-person introduction, which is good for homeschooling parents who would like some additional assistance with mathematics instruction while maintaining the remainder of their curriculum at home.
The in-person classes work to make learning math fun and often encourage competition with prize offerings for meeting particular goals or showing the highest level of skill in a particular area of mathematics for that day. This will appeal to some homeschoolers that don’t mind ‘outsourcing’ math, but it may not be for everyone.
Testing and online reporting help to gauge results, but otherwise an accurate description would be that Mathnasium is simply a focused online math curriculum with the option of actual in-person classes.
Mathnasium has a one-time registration fee of 19$ and their program packages can range in price from $100 to $300 per month.
If you would like to learn more about Mathnasium, simply click this link to visit their website.
K12 Online Public School Programs
Art, history, math, music, reading/Language arts, foreign languages, and various electives – Kindergarten to 12th grade
K12 is a Cognia (NCA and SACS CASI) accredited online homeschooling option that offers a mix of online lessons, activities, and a virtual classroom for what is essentially like an ‘online public school’ where interaction is possible with classmates and teachers by phone or online. Textbooks are also incorporated, depending on the course and activity requirements.
K12 offers online lessons for grades K-8, while 9 – 12 is strictly teacher led coursework. All lessons are pre-structured and created by their teachers, so parental control of the curriculum is limited to selecting which courses to take – this may or may not be a good thing, depending on your requirements.
The teachers are all certified, however, and as this is a fully-accredited option then this may be quite appealing for some homeschoolers out there who only have time to teach part-time.
Some of the courses are actually free, which is an enormous perk, but the courses that do need to be purchased range in price from $260 to $450 to get unlimited access for 12 months at the K to 8th grade level. Teacher led instruction from level 9 to 12 is more expensive, with rate starting at around $900 and up.
If you would like to learn more about what K12 has to offer, then you can visit them by clicking this link.
Math and Science – Kindergarten through 8th grade
Let’s face it, this day and age kids are spending their days with videos on YouTube and this is where Generation Genius comes in. While it’s more of a homeschooling supplemental resource, rather than a full curriculum, Generation Genius does seem to stick to core concepts with most state curriculums by around 94-96%.
Generation Genius has around 50 videos for groupings of K-2, 3 – 5, and 6 – 8, which also include lesson materials that you can print up in order to assess how much they are learning. They also include such items as teacher’s guides, lesson plan overviews, DIY activities, reading materials, and more, so that what you are essentially getting is a kind of YouTube channel for learning to grab your kid’s attention and with review of the materials, to allow you to join in through discussion or by teaching more in areas they seem to be drawn to,
It’s definitely more supplemental than full-curriculum, as we stated, but kids do seem to love it and this can be a great way to modernize some of the dryer aspects of homeschooling that can halt or at least impede progress in math or science if your child is having difficulties becoming engaged in the material.
Science or math may course material may be purchased for $95 each, or together for $145 per year and they offer 5 free lessons so that you can ‘test the waters’ to see if your children are receptive to their course delivery style.
To learn more about Generation Genius, just click this link and you’ll be redirected to their website.
Math is their specialty, but they also provide grammar, history, science, AP and SAT, and more – K-12, as well as some early college level instruction is provided
Created by MIT and Harvard graduate Sal Khan, Khan Academy is essentially like having a patient teacher at their blackboard simply delivering coursework. It started off when the founder started posting instructional videos to help with math, and has expanded into a course library of over 6500 videos.
Rather than a software driven approach, what you get are the videos on the various subjects, as well as practice problems that may be used and tests to gauge progress. It’s a simplified approach but it has been successful enough that a number of schools even employ Mr. Khans video instruction from time to time.
To keep your child’s attention, most of the videos are less than 10 minutes in length, and many homeschoolers have quite a few good things to say about this program. While you are certainly limited to just selecting from what is available, with a wide range of offerings this is certainly a curriculum resource you’ll want to take a closer look at.
Khan Academy is absolutely free. This is a non-profit, although if you enjoy the courses they do have a page where you can make $15 donations to help Mr. Khan to keep up the good work.
If you would like to learn more about Khan Academy to see if it will fit in with your own homeschool curriculum, simply visit them by clicking this link.
STEM/Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics – K – 11th grade
Kiwico is another supplemental resource for homeschoolers out there who are hoping to get their kids a little more interested in and engaged with STEM and they’re a great way to add some education fun to your child’s curriculum. KiwiCo does this by sending you ‘crates’ that contain everything you need for a ‘surprise DIY project’, that arrives like clockwork once a month to help break the tedium.
KiwiCo crates are actually kind of fun. To give you an example of what you get, the self-contained crate arrives monthly addressed to your child, and inside it can be any number of different projects. For instance, one crate came with a hanging map of the human body, with ‘stuffies’ that had the heart, lungs, and brain to attach.
In another example, a DIY kit for a homemade stethoscope might arrive, with parts consisting of earbuds, a headband, and rubber piping so that your kids can put it all together. All in all, they have excellent reviews, making this a good option as a supplemental secular learning activity to help keep homeschooling from becoming overly dry and predictable.
The kit subscriptions come in 3, 6, and 12 month varieties, with costs varying on the kit types that you select. On average, you’re looking at anywhere from $17.50 – $24.95 per month for a yearly subscription, or monthly rates of $18.50 – $29.95 if you prefer a month-to-month approach.
You can learn more about KiwiCo’s amazing kits by clicking this link to visit their website.
Moneytime for Homeschoolers
Financial literacy- Grades 5 to 9
One subject that gets missed in many a homeschool curriculum is financial literacy and failure to learn it can sink the success of the best and brightest. With this in mind, Moneytime is a homeschooling option that teaches about things like budgeting, avoiding debt, investments and expected growth, and even the financial impact of career changes — just to name a few examples.
It’s definitely an important subject and overlooked in many curriculums, which makes Moneytime a success curriculum all of it’s own.
Moneytime delivers the goods through an online platform that uses 30 lessons to teach your children, with an addition 12 parent-child lessons to do with the kids. They also provide parents with a study guide that’s packed with practical activities and there are online games to help kids practice some of the principles and budding skills they are learning from the coursework.
Quizzes are included and graded on completion, and there are also certificate rewards and a ‘leaderboard’ for the top performers in the family if you are encouraging your children to compete a little.
The cost for one child is $49 per month, and you can add additional kids for $37.50 each – these are one-time billings to prepay for the year. If you prefer a month-to-month option, then it is $12.95 per month and additional children may be added for $9.70 each. There is also a 60-day money-back guarantee – which seems to be plenty of time to decide if this program is a good fit for your homeschooling curriculum needs.
If you would like to learn more about Moneytime for Homeschoolers, simply click this link to visit their site.
Some Final Words on the Best Secular Homeschool Curriculums and Supplementals
As you can see, there are certainly some stellar homeschooling supplemental and curriculum options out there, courtesy of modern technology in the form of the world wide web. You’ve got complete and partial curriculums, free courses, financial education, and even DIY kits to help encourage a lifetime love of science.
We hope that you’ve found one or more resources today that will be a good fit for your homeschooling curriculum and until next time, we wish you and yours the very best!