Curriculum in a box vs different publishers, what do you like the most?

would you rather use a curriculum in a box or a curriculum from different publishers?

Different publishers. I noticed that when I used a whole box curriculum one area is very strong and another area is weak or leaves more to be desired.
Or for us for example we needed more subjects that we did together as a family and some boxed curriculum did not cater to this. Boxed curriculum can sometimes be a little more pricey than different publishers and you may find there are some things you end up having to buy that you didn’t want.


This is going to be our first year homeschooling.
:neutral_face: so I have many doubts

@merab I have never tried curriculum in a box but we have been homeschooling for just three years now (started in Kindergarten with our first child who is now in 2nd grade and added in our second child who is in Kindergarten this year). We chose not to purchase one box curriculum mainly due to price at the time, but also due to the freedom to pick and choose what we like best and what works best for different subjects. This is especially helpful for us this year. Our two children are close enough in age this year that we can be teaching several subjects together (the exact same lesson for Bible, History, Science, Chinese, and Art), so this cuts down on cost, whereas they are learning their own levels of lessons for other subjects like Handwriting, Math, Reading, Spelling, Grammar, Geography, Social Studies, etc. And I don’t feel tied to handing down a curriculum to my second child because it was part of a set or expensive, etc. I can pick what works best for him based on his learning style, even if it wasn’t what worked for her when she used it. I don’t foresee us ever choosing a box curriculum for these reasons.


@merab I see that you mentioned you’ll be starting homeschooling in the fall. First of all congratulations on that decision. As a 9 year homeschool veteran, I can wholeheartedly say I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING :smile: Not just the academic part but the growth in character that occurs as well and the way it has allowed me to learn so much about my children.

When I started homeschooling, I used a boxed curriculum and I strongly encourage newbie homeschoolers that I counsel to do the same. Having all the planning done and scripted lessons takes the pressure off of you planning & teaching.

With all the planning done for you, you can then focus on loving, teaching and enjoying the new experience of homeschooling.

After several years of homeschooling under my belt, then I was ready to tackle the planning and teaching.

That being said my favorite box curriculum is from My Father’s World (we used it for 5 years). You can check it out here

Pros: It can be used with more than one child, the lessons are planned out for you, & they offer a fabulous reading list to supplement what your child is studying.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with information. But if you’d like discuss it further. I’m available :smile:


I know what that feels like. Do you have anyone else around you who home schools? Maybe then you can get some ideas. You know what will work best for your family and yes it’s scary when you are starting out, but you know that you at least need Reading (phonics), Writing and Arithmetic. Focus on those 3 and everything else comes later. Everything else being History, Science, Social Studies etc… but for the first year don’t worry about the rest. Make sure your child/children have a strong foundation on the other 3 first. I believe you will be fine. Even if the curriculum you start out with doesn’t work for you, now you have something to judge other curriculum by. I have made many mistakes. First year was hard, but now I have been through a few different curricula I know exactly what I want. I’m going into the 6th year so I’m more confident about picking and choosing. But simple is best when starting (telling you from experience) the most expensive is not necessarily the best option. :slight_smile: Enjoy your first year, don’t stress it and your child/children will learn! :smile:

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Thanks indeed I am learning to relax a little and enjoy the ride… :smile:

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I like using curriculum from different publishers. I have found I am better able to meet the needs and learning styles of my children by going this route. It does take a little longer to piece it all together but I think the time is worth the end result.


Thanks, this is helpful! I am hoping to start in the fall and am thinking of doing a boxed curriculum.

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Definitely different publishers. I used to think I wanted curriculum in a box, or even 1 subject (like “language arts”) to be an “all-in-one” program. However, I never met an AIO or box that “worked!” One part would be great, another part not the right match or too advanced etc… Kids progress at different rates at skills like reading and writing–so it’s much easier to NOT do AIO or box-curriculum if it means getting to work at their pace in those subjects. Plus I enjoyed combining my kids for content-based subjects like Bible, history, and science in the early years…and that often meant doing different things for skill-based subjects. Mix & Match & have fun!


Without going into too much detail, we prefer individual publishers and creating our own curriculums. I have reviewed a few different box curriculums, and gotten my hands on some that friends have used. I always feel that they are strong in some areas and week in others. In the end though, it depends on what you are most comfortable with. I don’t think anyone can go too far wrong regardless. We are all amazing for what we are doing with our children, and despite different preferences I can’t imagine any one type of curriculum is going to hurt their education. Kudos for homeschooling! Enjoy the wonderful journey :slight_smile:


This year was my first year homeschooling. I started with a boxed curriculum and hated it. I ditched it and planned out my year and then ditched that. I now use multiple different curriculum and instead of planning my whole year i just go page by page. Planning the whole year was just to overwhelming. If you miss a day you immediatly feel behind. I have a list of every subject i want to do everyday. I go down that list and do whatever page we are on then move on to the next page the following day. I think you will find regardless of what you chose you will make adjustments. If you do go with multiple curriculum you dont have to plan your whole year. You can go page by page like i did. When you finish you finish. Most curriculum comes with a teachers guide. Whatever you use just have fun and give yourself lots of grace the first year. Good luck


I use a mixture of different publishers. There is no publisher who can take into account a 4th grade reading level with a Kindergarten writing level. They cannot match 1st grade math with 2nd grade spelling. When I pick and choose I also get to choose to spend a lot of money on phonics (because I do not know how to explain all the rules) and less money on math (because that I can easily teach).

Another recommendation for: if this is your first year, keep life simple and buy and AIO curriculum. You know you are covering what you need to for the year and everything is all planned out. For your second year, keep a box, but sub out the one subject that you thought was weak in the curric. This gives you a couple of years to discover what works and how to get things planned out.


we use heart of Dakota in a bit when I know many people do also. It’s similar to sunlight and my father’s world and very reasonably priced, especially since most people are reselling each year at used prices on our Yahoo and Facebook groups. it is awesome because, although it’s a boxed curriculum, each of the resources is not one particular publisher. It is easy to swap out one resource for another if one is not working for you. For example, I have changed the mask that we have used and also the spelling to fit my son.


Sorry for typos… Gotta love auto correct lol

Boxed curriculum doesnt work well for us. I find it limits us to thinking only inside that box and we stagnate quickly. I like curriculum that has a strength focus and doesnt delve into all areas and try to create it all equal, because it is never all equal.
We rarely have two subjects by the same publisher.


This fall will be my first year homeschooling my daughter who will be in 2nd grade. when i decided to homeschool ( just a few months ago) i bought a boxed curriculum to use… i haven’t started yet but i have been looking through it and here what i think… im going to like that the lessons are all planned out for me but i’m not going to stress myself out over staying exactly on point with every lesson. i want to have fun with her too! ( i’m saying this now but i’m sure i will have my days!) So we will see how it works out… i may try something else if this doesn’t work but i spent some $ on this one so im gonna stick it out till i know if its for us or not! Good Luck!

Different publishers for me! With curriculum in a box, one subject could be really awesome and a great strength for that company, while another subject is a complete dud. We all have something we are really good at and know a lot about, and the same applies to publishing companies.