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Homeschool Curriculum Choices: All-In-One Program, Online classes, Electives, Core Curriculum, and a Unit Study Program

When choosing homeschool curriculum, there are many options available to you. Two of the more comprehensive homeschool curriculum choices are the all-in-one program, and the unit study program. Other types of curriculum choices focus on a single subject or simply the core curriculum subjects of reading, writing and/or math. If you like a particular source's homeschool curriculum, you might want to see if they offer one of the comprehensive packages like the all-in-one program or the unit study program, but if you find that you like some subjects from several different sources, then you should choose a different type of package. Here are some brief descriptions of the types of homeschool curriculum offerings and pros and cons for each type:

All-In-One Program: This type of homeschool curriculum is sometimes referred to as "school in a box". This is because in the all-in-one program you basically get all of the materials that you need for your homeschool curriculum for a year or any other specified period of time. In the all-in-one program you get all of the core curriculum subjects as well as testing and evaluation materials, textbooks, quizzes, and a teacher's guide-it may also include accessories and other equipment that you may need.

The good part about the all-in-one program is that you don't have to buy any other supplemental material. It is all there. If you really like the educational philosophy behind any particular all-in-one program it might be the perfect homeschool curriculum. The all-in-one program is also a popular homeschool curriculum choice for people who live far away from a public school or who want to get accreditation from a private school, but they don't live near one.

One of the drawbacks to an all-in-one program is the price. It can be very expensive to purchase an entire homeschool curriculum from the same source. Also, if you don't like a component of the all-in-one program, you are stuck with the whole package, and if you want something different you will need to buy that as well.

Unit Study Program: The unit study program is also an inclusive curriculum, but it caters to a different philosophy. Each unit study program is based on a different theme and students learn about several different subject areas of the homeschool curriculum using that same theme. For example: a unit study program on South America, could include lessons about the geography of the area, the history, as well as figuring out the land area, language lessons, cultural studies, and even music and art. Once the unit study program is completed, the student begins another one.

Positive aspects of a unit study program include high student interest and involvement, particularly when they have a say in what they will be studying next. A unit study program can also be grade level appropriate for more than one age-group or child-although this may take some adaptations.

A unit study program may take extra time and materials to implement and you may not want to use all of the materials. Also you will need to choose a unit study program that meets the homeschool curriculum standards in your area-and this may not be available.  It may also be a more expensive choice if you buy it from some sources.

Core Curriculum: Many people choose to get single subject courses from the core curriculum to ensure that all of the standards that are required in a homeschool curriculum in their area are taught. Core curriculum includes math, language arts, science, and science. There are grade level appropriate core curriculum textbooks, workbooks, computer programs to teach these subjects. By buying or acquiring each core curriculum subject separately, you can have more control and choice over the types of materials you get for your homeschool curriculum.

Electives: Electives are student or teacher chosen courses that are not part of the core curriculum. They may include things like keyboarding, computer science, or even Latin or Home Economics. While each core curriculum subject may be required to get high school diploma, which electives a student takes is up to them and their interests. You can find many electives available that are suitable to include in a homeschool curriculum. Some are online classes; some are included in a unit study program or in an all-in-one program. In some areas, the public school district or private schools or even some community colleges will allow students who are following a homeschool curriculum to take electives in their program for credit.

Online classes: Online course can fall into many categories in the homeschool curriculum. They may be part of an all-in-one program or unit study program that is offering online classes rather than more traditional curriculum. On the other hand, many online classes are strictly single subject courses such as a math or language course. The positive aspect of this type of course is that you can complete it at your own speed. However, with online classes the interactive aspect could be lacking if there are not message boards, chat rooms, support, etc.
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