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Overview: Searching for a secular homeschool curriculum can be daunting task. Don’t get stuck down the endless sea of secular homeschooling curriculum anymore. Here’s a full list to help you choose the best homeschool curriculum for your family.

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Are you drowning in the sea of curriculum?

There are a lot of choices out there. It’s hard to not get lost or even worse… the dreaded Shiny Object Syndrome.

I have fallen down that rabbit hole a million times. I cannot begin to add up how much I’ve spent on homeschool curriculum only to have it sitting on the self collecting dust.

I have to admit, I might have a problem! Getting a new curriculum and opening it up is like Christmas morning. I love flipping through the pages and seeing all the wonderful activities. 

I get caught up in a fantasy land imagining my children happily engaging in all the wonderful activities, learning together, and smiling without a care in the world.

But then reality hits. 9 times out of 10, the kids have no interest in the activities I spent hours setting up.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the best curriculums are open and go because I don’t have to waste a lot of time setting up activities my kids have no interest in.

Secular Homeschool Curriculum Basics

However, I believe all curriculum should have a few basic characteristics.

1. Hands-On and Multi-Sensory

First and foremost, a homeschool curriculum needs to be hands-on and multi-sensory. This means minimal worksheets and lots of simple activities that get the kids engaged. Video lessons and textbook type curriculums don’t work with most kids.

Kids learn through experience, no matter what their learning style is. Find a curriculum that offers a variety of experiences that don’t take forever to set up or cost a lot of money on extra materials.

Those experiences should be multi-sensory. For example, in Logic of English, children learn the phonograms through multi-sensory activities such as marching around the room as they say the sound, fingerpainting the phonogram, and playing phonogram baseball.

Most children need to be exposed to a skill multiple times in different ways before it sticks. Multi-sensory curriculum gives those experiences to your child.

2. Open and Go

It’s impossible to have a curriculum that is totally open and go. There are going to be supplies you need to gather, especially if you choose a curriculum that is multi-sensory and hands-on.

However, there are curriculum out there that make an effort to use materials around the house. I have personally used all the curriculum on the list below. I have rarely had to spend more than 5-10 minutes preparing for a lesson. Heck, most of the time, I’m gathering the supplies as the kids are gathering around the table because I rarely look at the lessons ahead of time.

3. Review

The last important characteristic a homeschool curriculum should have is a review section throughout.

The math curriculum we use does this every day as the warm up. We’re in the second level right now, but are still reviewing things in the first level. 

Review is so important for children. Children lose skills quickly if they are not constantly practicing them until mastery.

What is Secular Homeschool Curriculum?

Before I jump into giving you the best secular curriculum choices out there, I want to explain my definition of secular.

The debate over point of view has been a long standing one. Will you teach your child from an evolution point of view, scientific fact point of view, or from a creation point of view? This choice is ultimately up to your family. However, this post is about secular homeschool curriculum, so we chose to only include curriculum that focuses on facts.

Here’s an example:

  • Evolution- A hummingbird’s beak evolved to drink nectar from flowers.
  • Creation- A hummingbird’s beak was created to drink nectar from flowers.
  • Scientific Fact- The shape of a hummingbird’s beak allows it to drink nectar from flowers.

By fact, I mean that the truth is stated without adding in the theory. Like the example above, we know for a fact that a hummingbird’s beak is shaped the way it is so it can drink nectar from the flower. However, we do not know for a fact whether it evolved to be that way or it was created by an intelligent divine source to be that way. All we know for sure is that the beak is shaped that way for a specific purpose.

I think it’s always best to start with scientific facts and then question the science to determine your own beliefs. By choosing a curriculum that focuses solely on facts, your child has more freedom to question and develop opinions which leads to stronger critical thinking skills.

Secular Math Homeschool Curriculum

Remember a curriculum is a tool for teaching. You will need to adjust to meet the needs of your child.

As you begin your search for a math curriculum, you’ll run across several terms that are only used to describe math curriculum.

Mastery- Focus on one topic at a time

Spiral- Teaches skills in small chunks and rotates more frequently through the topics

Conceptual- Focus on the why

Procedural- Focus on the how

A good math curriculum has a healthy mix of all these methods, but most importantly the skills naturally build on top of each other. A good math curriculum should also have a strong focus on number sense and mental math. Mental math helps them think deeply about the operations and how the numbers relate to each other. Games such as Monopoly give children a good reason to practice mental math.

Our favorite math curriculum is Math With Confidence. This is a fairly new curriculum. At the time of this publication, only Kindergarten through Third Grade is available. This curriculum has a healthy mix of the 4 methods described above. They incorporate spiral review in their warm-ups which helps children build fluency over time. The main lessons are taught in a mastery format where your child will focus on one concept until developmentally appropriate mastery before moving on to the next concept.

All lessons teach the why (conceptual) and how (procedural) of each concept which helps them build a deep, connected understanding of each topic.

But most importantly, Math With Confidence is parent-friendly, hands-on, and fun. The curriculum provides lots of games and real-life connections.

Secular Reading Homeschool Curriculum

The best reading curriculum is all encompassing, but it mainly focuses on phonics in the early years and progressively switches to comprehension. Since learning to read can be very systematic, lessons should be hands-on, multi-sensory, and fun.

Once your child is highly motivated to learn to read, which can happen anywhere between ages 5-10, I recommend starting with Logic of English. This curriculum is hands-on and fun. It incorporates games and movement into every lesson. Logic of English is also multi-sensory. Every lesson uses sight, sound, touch, and movement to help your child grasp each concept.

Logic of English starts with just phonics instruction. Your child should be familiar with letters, but does not need to know the names or sounds to begin. However, they do need to understand that letters/written words represent spoken language.

This curriculum systematically teaches all the sounds of each letter while teaching your child how to read and spell simultaneously. As your child progresses through the curriculum, it becomes more focused on comprehension. The curriculum also includes vocabulary, grammar, handwriting, and basic writing instruction. 

Once your child has completed the Logic of English series, I recommend switching to Essentials in Literature. This curriculum focuses on comprehension skills. Each lesson comes with a video taught by a certified teacher and has a healthy mix of short stories, novels, poems, fiction, and non-fiction literature. 

Secular Writing Homeschool Curriculum

When choosing a writing curriculum, you want to choose something that explicitly teaches skills instead of just giving writing assignments with no real instruction.

A good writing curriculum combines spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and original thought. A good writing curriculum:

  • Teaches the steps of the writing process
  • Teaches a variety of writing types and genres
  • Has fun, engaging, multi-sensory lessons
  • Is flexible and allows you to follow your child’s lead
  • Gives your child a choice on the topics they write about
  • Introduces skills in a way that builds on top of each other
  • Encourages dictation in the early years
  • Models writing and uses picture books as mentor texts
 

Even though our favorite language arts curriculum is Logic of English, it is not complete where writing is concerned. Logic of English only teaches composition for sentences, nothing beyond that. However, Logic of English is complete in the early years with reading, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar instruction.

If you choose Logic of English as your basic language arts curriculum, I suggest adding Essentials in Writing once you complete Logic of English Foundations Level A. Essentials in Writing gives you the missing pieces of teaching the writing process, original thought, and writing compositions beyond a sentence. Essentials in Writing was created by the same certified teacher as Essentials in Literature mentioned above.

Essentials in Writing is one of the best writing curriculums I have come across. It includes everything on my list above. The lessons slowly build on top of each other to help your child gain confidence in writing. When you add Essentials in Writing to Logic of English, you have a complete language arts program. And as bonus points, the lessons in Essentials in Writing are all pre-recorded!

Secular Homeschool Curriculum for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We can’t forget the toddlers and preschoolers! This is my favorite age to teach because they’re usually excited about any type of activity you place in front of them.

When it comes to toddlers and preschoolers, keep it simple. This age is all about exploring the world and following their lead. Trust me, when you follow a toddler or preschooler’s interest trail, you hop down some really fun rabbit holes. You never know where the learning will take you.

As far as academics (the 123’s and abc’s), let that come naturally. This young age is NOT the time to focus on academic learning. The more you focus on exploring their interests the more prepared they’ll be for reading, writing, and math in the long run. The research constantly shows that delayed academics is the best for children.

For this age, I recommend The Activity Room by Hands On As We Grow. This is a one-activity-a-day membership for toddlers and preschoolers. Each month you’ll receive an activity calendar with doable activities that use supplies you have at home. If one activity a day isn’t enough, you can search a database of over 700 activities to find something that will help your toddler or preschooler explore the world.

Combined Subject Secular Homeschool Curriculum

What about social studies and science?

Choosing a science curriculum can be tough. Every curriculum will teach different topics at different times. There isn’t a sequential order to teach science which makes choosing a science curriculum based on topics covered a bit challenging.

When choosing a social studies curriculum, you want to ensure it teaches REAL history. A good social studies curriculum doesn’t leave anything out, nor does it focus on just one point of view.

You want to find a curriculum that encourages your child to explore multiple viewpoints, tackle challenging social issues, and think critically about past and future events.

You want a curriculum that:

  • Encourages your child to explore multiple viewpoints of historical events and people
  • Opens discussions that help them create a deeper understanding and empathy
  • Explores current events so your child can make connections to historical events to find patterns and to think critically about how they can be a contributing member of society
 

For science and social studies, I recommend following one or a combination of the following three curriculums:

 

All three of these curriculum offer hands-on, literacy based lessons. Layers of Learning is my favorite because they incorporate more art into their learning. They also have a 4 year cycle, so every 4 years you’re learning the same topics, but you delve deeper each time.

For us, we do a combination of the 3.

Other Secular Homeschool Resources

If you’re looking for one curriculum that covers almost every subject, I recommend Blossom & Root. This curriculum is hands-on and nature based. The only thing it’s missing is social studies. However, they do offer a US history curriculum.

We can’t forget about all the fun subjects either. Here is a list of some of our other favorite secular homeschool curriculum and resources.

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