Don't even know where to start?!

Hi everyone! My daughter is in 5th grade and struggling in public school. She has anxiety, belly aches, and really has no friends. I wanted to pull her out now, even found some used ABEKA curriculum to finish out the year. She told me today she wants to finish the year,but I want to start homeschooling as soon as school starts up again next year. I have no idea what kind of curriculum to order! Am I better off to buy a kit or buy different subjects from various companies. Price is a big worry as well as we have 3 other children. What do you like for 6th? When is the best time to order? Also anyone just homeschool for a season and then send back to public school? Thanks!

Sign up for emails from the different homeschool materials publishers. You will receive notices if any sales arise. A Beka has “meetings”, curriculums displays, and if you order from there you wil get free shipping and sometimes a discount! Also, is one of the best places to purchase new as they discount many many items:) is a great place to buy used curriculum. We mix and match, but have often wondered about a kit😀


Most people choose an all-in-one curriculum their first year or two of homeschooling. The advantages are that they come with everything you need and are completely laid out with what to do.
The disadvantage is that they are costly and all the things that someone else has chosen, will not necessarily work for your family.
Some great vendors to check out: Abeka, Bob Jones, My Father’s World, Sonlight, Memoria Press, Calvert, and Alpha-Omega.
If you want to look at each subject on its own try looking into Cathy Duffy’s reviews, and browsing the Rainbow Resource website/catalog.


Hello Everyone, I really want to do my children justice but am feeling a little overwhelmed with all of these curriculums to pick from. I have the Abeka K4, COAH K4 and Letter of the Week oh and Starfall. I enjoy them all but feel like I’m drowning trying to use them all because I’m afraid I’m going to miss teaching him something or overload him!


I understand how you feel. I started last year the same way. I was overwhelmed by choices and didnt know what to do. Your budget is important because that will steer you away from some more expensive curriculum. I chose to get a boxed curriculum that layed everything out for me. It was quite pricey and I ended up ditching it within the first three weeks. I have loved horizons math. The teachers guide is very helpful. I have also enjoyed bju for english and science. Their teachers manual is helpful and tells you exactly what to say. My advise is to try not to spend too much. Almost all the curriculum sites show you a sample. Take a good look and see if it is something you can teach. Most likely you will change and adapt your first year. If you spend your whole budget immediately you will be stuck. The only curriculum i kept from what i originally bought was horizons math. Take into account how your child learns and how you teach. I still am going to change some things for next year. Give yourself grace! Your child just wants to be with you. You will not mess them up and if you work with them daily they will learn. Have fun and spend that first year getting your groove and loving your little one. Best of luck!

I completely understand, we had the same situation, my now 2nd grader. I ended up pulling my older daughter out of public school as well, she is in 5th grade this year. I also have a daughter in kindergarten. I looked at the boxed sets and found that, particularly for 3 children at different levels, it was too pricey. I read a lot about curriculum. Cathy Duffy has a book called the 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. It gives some good reviews on curriculum and allowed me to pick some things that would work for my daughters. I did start with a math program that we switched mid-year, but I did not have to start completely over. I also got a lot of Erica’s (COAH) Curriculum, we us the Literature, Geography (which has a history component), Art and Music. They are inexpensive and my kids really enjoyed them. The Math U See is a good program and honestly it was cheaper than the first math program we used. It is hands on, has a video and is easy to teach. I would also recommend going to a convention, I did that last summer before we started, they have some classes for first homeschooler and they gave some advice on curriculum. You also get a chance to talk with vendors and they may offer some deals.

As we go into our second year, I have found things that work for the girls and I read a lot of reviews about some new things we are incorporating. The information can be very overwhelming. I think the best advice I can tell you is that you will buy some things this first year that might not work, just be open to that. If you have not read Erica’s book Homeschool 101, I highly recommended, it really showed me basics and helped me to understand how to choose curriculum.

Good Luck!


Ditto Lovinsid, you’re not going to mess them up. Take the time to understand what you both like and dislike. Even if it takes a few months to figure out what set or individual items you want to purchase the one on one time will be a positive influence and your child will gain knowledge from that. We just started with reading and math (because I wasn’t sure what to do) and branched out from there. I also agree with the Kathy Duffy reviews. I find at the bottom the synopsis of learning style, prep time, parental involvement, and price all helpful especially since I have a wiggly willy.

You can try easy peasy homeschool. It is a completely free online curriculum. She covers all subjects; science, history, reading,writing, grammar, music, art, ect. She also has math, but we don’t use it. We use math u see. You can tailor it to fit your needs, using all or some of her curriculum. Also xtramath is great for practicing math facts and it is also completely free. Hope this helps. Good luck


I would say, start by thinking of the main four subjects: math, “social studies” (can be history, geography, or cultures), science, and language arts. Pick a program for each. Don’t worry about picking the wrong one too much, as you can change the year after if you don’t like it. For the first three, you basically just need one program. For math, some of the most well-known are Singapore, Saxon, and Horizons. For science, some are Noeo, Apologia, Nancy Larson’s, Christian Kids Explore Science. Those choices aren’t too complicated, so maybe read a few reviews, pick one, and don’t kill yourself over whether or not it’ll be the right one. After you’ve had a school year under your belt, you can reevaluate. If something isn’t working, you’ll have some idea why it isn’t working, and that will help you with finding a better program.

The next two are a little more complicated. Most people do history most years, so it’s probably the simplest to do that. You can stick with something pretty simple, like Story of the World with the activity guide that goes with it. A lot of people like a program that includes literature along with the history, like Sonlight, My Father’s World, Veritas Press, etc. That’s optional, as long as you include literature somewhere.

Language Arts is the most complicated because it has different parts and people often use a program for each one. The main parts of language arts, depending on the age, tend to be reading, writing, literature, spelling, grammar, and handwriting. The reason I separate “reading” and “literature” is that for early readers they tend to be different. Reading is more learning to read, literature is more experiencing good books (which may be read to you). Sometimes for literature, people read books that line up with the period of history they are studying, and so literature tends to be lumped in with history. You don’t have to do all of these parts every year. If she’s in 5th grade, she’s probably already reading and so doesn’t need that, and she may already have pretty good handwriting. So you’d probably want to focus on writing, literature (again this might just be with history), and maybe some spelling/grammar if possible. You may want to start with an all-in-one language arts program that would include these things for now.

A homeschool convention could be a good place to start, as you can browse through different booths and get an idea of what different books look like, etc. It also gives you the opportunity to talk to people who sell or use the products, so they can explain how to use it, what age you’d use it for, etc. Convention season usually starts in April, so this is the perfect time to figure out which convention is closest to you and make plans to attend if you can.

Personally, I think if your daughter is comfortable with finishing out the year, I’d strongly consider letting her and using the time to research, purchase curriculum and look through it, and plan. I’d also consider starting during the summer, even if only doing half days, or a bit of work here and there rather than full school days. Especially with math and writing.


Thank you mommy Penguin for your post, it really helped me and narrowed my focus!!

1 Like

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your help!

My first year I looked at all the different publishers websites and requested catalogs from everyone! When I received the catalogs they had a lot more detail about each subject. I LOVE looking at the “Christian Book” website because they have samples of every piece of curriculum that they sell. This gives you a bit of a feel for the curriculum. Like others mentioned, Cathy Duffy’s website can help review curriculum and help you decided if it will fit the type of learner that you have. I think there are some cheaper curriculum and books out there. CLE (Christian Light Education) is cheap and high quality, I think. Also, I often get sticker shock when I see the prices of some curriculum but look and see if you can buy separate pieces of the curriculum instead of the whole package. For instance, I couldn’t afford all of the history and geography from Abeka, so I bought the textbook and textbook answer key for literally 1/6 of the price of the whole subject package. Then I make my own worksheets and add my own projects. Also, eBay is a great place to look for used curriculum! (I have a daughter entering 6th next year too!) I also get some good kid non-fiction books from the Salvation Army.

Thank you! I have heard great things of Horizon Math so will have to put that on my list for next year. I just feel that this is so important and if don’t do well then neither will he. You are right and I will take this year or two to get my groove :grinning: and watch my angels blossom!

Question have you heard of Sonlight and what are your thoughts?

Thank you! I would love to go to the conventions but I currently live in the Middle East (Bahrain) it’s difficult getting back with three little ones. Also, finding supplies is impossible as well as getting companies to ship to me. Do you know a sight to get the conventions schedule?

Wow, you ladies ROCK! Thank you for all the great recommendations and advice. This really helps me relax a little. Will continue to do research and read reviews…one day at a time!

I have heard great things about sonlight. The boxed curriculum i purchased was called bookshark. It is suppose to be the secular version of sonlight. I personally did not like it. I loved the books that came with the program but i didn’t really like much else. I really didn’t like their language arts and science and history. A lot of people use them and rave about how good they are which is why i tried it. It was just not right for us. My daughter is very hands on and very wiggly. Reading to her without really anything fun wasn’t working. She needs more workbook style learning. I am trying apologia next year as well as homeschool in the woods because of all the hands on activities. I am sure sonlight is great especially if you have multiple children but we just didnt like it. They have a discussion about sonlight on here you might want to check out. Best of luck.

There is Homeschool Buyers Co-op, they have a website, it list conferences, although they are in the continental US. Homeschool Buyers Co-op is free to join and they offer deals on curriculum, it might be that they ship things internationally as well. I am not sure about the Middle East, but I use discount school supply, which is online and they have a program to help international parents get school supplies.

I hope these options help some, I wish I had more to offer.


What style of schooling do you lean toward? Do you want things to be more traditional textbook style? Do you want to use regular book written by individual authors ( What people refer to as “living books”)? Do you want to be very hands on and do lots of projects?
I suggest looking into homeschooling styles/methods first and see what resonates with you. I have been homeschooling for 9 years and one thing that I have learned is that I cannot just suggest what I would use to others. We are all different in the ways we learn and feel comfortable teaching. Also take into consideration how best your child learns, but start with what makes you feel comfortable. This will narrow your choices of curriculum way down. Over time you will probably become more eclectic as you find what really works for you and your child. Just google homeschooling methods.

Lovinsid, I feel the same way about my son. Reading to him doesn’t usually work, he’s VERY wiggly😜 do you find that a workbook style works for your daughters learning style? That is my style of teaching, workbook/traditional, but my son is wiggly/hands on/hyper/short attention span etc…I Always feel like I choose wrong when we do workbook:( but I feel I’m not pulled together enough to take on a curriculum like MOH or SOTW or Aplologia Explorining Creation science series…he says he doesn’t care what he does, just as long as he gets it done and can play Minecraft!! Hahahahaha😋

The workbook style has worked for her. She likes having me teach and then me giving her a sheet to go with what we learned. In history it is normally a corresponding coloring page or pinterest craft. We used horizons math and she really likes it. I have found that sometimes they give a lot of problems in a day. On her really wiggly days i cut the problems down so she isn’t overwhelmed. I found that it works best to keep lessons short. I take no more than 10-15 minutes per subject and then she does a worksheet by herself. Any longer and she gets bored. The worksheet she can do while playing with the cat or jumping up and down or whatever, as long as it is neat and done right. She has liked that i leave her and she always gets it done. On “bad” days when she cant focus i sit with her and we do the worksheet together. If i can tell that we are gonna have a tough day with the wiggles i focus on reading, spelling, math and english and keep the day short. I am a workbook textbook girl and she seems to be too so it has worked for us.