Like a warm security blanket, the all-in-one curriculum arrives at a new homeschooling parent’s door.
For this parent, the thought of having to put together a curriculum from different sources seems impossible. There are so many, with so many different methodologies. Volumes and volumes have been written about how to homeschool and which curriculums are best. How can one choose?
With an all-in-one curriculum, the choices are already made. The lesson plans are done, the schedules are decided, and everything the teacher needs can be found in one box, saving time and preparation. The nervous new teacher can pull everything out, look it over and get started the next day.
The publishers of these curriculums – A Beka Book, Bob Jones University Press, Calvert, Oak Meadow, Sonlight, to name a few – have earned solid and respected reputations, making newbies feel more confident as they march into this uncharted territory called homeschooling, armed with extensive teacher’s guides and a long history of success.
These curriculums, often used in private schools, do have high price tags, but parents have the option to order complete kits, so there is nothing else to buy. They often include testing materials and any recommended extras, such as supplemental books, science kits, craft kits and even paper. This is ideal for families who live overseas or those who don’t have easy access to a good library or retail outlets.
All-in-one curriculums, in general, follow a traditional scope and sequence, so parents can be assured that their child is learning the same things as his age mates in public or private school. Other types of curriculums, such as unit studies, may give rise to concerns about gaps in learning. Scope and sequence curriculums make it easy for parents to keep track of what their child is learning when. This can be especially helpful if the child’s future schooling is unclear. Children following a scope and sequence may have an easier transition back into traditional schools.
For new homeschoolers, the structure of all-in-one curriculums is reassuring, and many students do very well with boxed curriculums throughout their education. Some parents, once they get their feet wet, will branch out and try programs from different sources. Research has shown that homeschoolers tend to go from more structure to less as the years pass and their experience grows. But without that all-in-one curriculum to start out with, some homeschooling parents may have never taken the plunge at all.