How Do I Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum? Learning Differences

Are you sick and tired of bleeding cash on curriculum that ends up being a total fail halfway into September?

Friend, I hear you loud and clear. If you want to avoid the endless money pit searching for the next homeschool program, read on.

Choosing The Best Homeschool Curriculum & More

Today I’m going to:

  1. Walk you through a process to help you choose the best homeschool curriculum for your unique child (and save you some cash),
  2. Then, veteran homeschool moms share their top homeschool language arts curriculum choices for kids with learning differences. 

So let’s get started.

Give Up The Best Curriculum Pipedream

Here’s the thing. In order to choose the right tools for your family’s homeschool journey, it’s critical to look at the child in front of you.

If you get nothing else from this post, know this:

No homeschool curriculum, no matter how amazing it is, is going to be perfect for EVERY child.

Even the Best Homeschool Curriculum Is Not The Best

Let’s take All About Reading, an extremely popular homeschool reading program. It’s based on the orton-gillingham approach to reading instruction and is excellent for all types of learners including those with dyslexia.

As an educator and a momma on a soapbox about language processing issues, I cannot more highly sing the praises of All About Learning Press.

However, this doesn’t mean that it’s the be-all end-all curriculum. And it certainly doesn’t mean it the best homeschool curriculum for every child.

All About Reading or Math U See: Bad Choices?!

The reality is that there will be pros and cons to any homeschool curriculum that you choose.

And that includes some of the best out there including All About Reading and the other beloved homeschool favorite, Math U See.

homeschool language arts curriculum reviews for special needs

Cons of The Best Homeschool Curriculum

  1. All About Reading can be time-consuming which could be challenging for a child with a limited attention span,
  2. Math U See can be monotonous for kids who need more variety in order to stay engaged…
    • Remember, engagement is everything when it comes to learning.

On the other hand, both programs are extremely effective and include hands-on manipulatives that appeal to kinesthetic learners.

All About Reading and Math U See are both excellent homeschool programs. But, again, neither will be perfect for every child and family.

And this is why we mommas have to stop looking for the best homeschool curriculum. It doesn’t exist.

For a more detailed review of Math U See, check out: The Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

In the end, homeschool curriculum needs to be seen as a tool to serve the best interest of your child and not the other way around.

Ask Questions To Know Your Child

The next thing we need to do when choosing curriculum, is to get to know our kid. Really… to stop and think about the exact child we’re trying to educate.

In my world, when moms come to me asking how to choose the best curriculum, I always circle back with specific questions.

  • What subjects does your tend to do well in?
  • Which does he struggle with or resist?
  • Are there any subjects that your child particularly enjoys?
  • Which concepts cause tears on a regular basis?
  • What is she most interested in?
    • For kids who struggle with learning or taking direction, pairing their interests with learning objectives can make all the difference.

As simple as these questions seem, the answers are essential to making a worthwhile choice for everyone involved.

All About Learning Press

Identify Learning Styles

Diving in more deeply to your child’s (and your own) learning style can help you identify root causes behind learning struggles and resistance.

In order to identify learning style, it’s best to ask specific questions that uncover strengths and weaknesses.

  • How does your child learn? How is she wired?
    • Is your child constantly talking?
      • (Verbal Processors have a hard time learning through passive listening and often need to engage in dialogue to best understand concepts.)
    • Does your kid incessantly flip, fall our of chairs, climb, etc…?
      • (A kinesthetic learner needs to engage in movement in order to best learn.)
    • Is she constantly doodling?
      • (This child is likely wired to learn through drawing.)
    • Zoning out when passively listening?
      • (This child may need to engage in a mindless activity in order to zero in on auditory information).

With this understanding, we then have a starting point.  By doing this pre-work, you’re now armed with essential information to choose the best homeschool curriculum for your child.

This serves kids academically and emotionally. And in the end, this changes the entire homeschool dynamic.   

RELATED POST: How To Help A Struggling Reader (& Writer)- A Comprehensive Guide


All About Learning Press

What’s The Best Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum?

Once you have a better understanding of your child’s wiring, learning style, and interests, it’s time to check out curriculum options. 

Below you’ll find some of the best homeschool language arts curriculum choices for learning differences. 

Veteran special needs homeschool moms share their favorites and they tell you why.

Best Homeschool Curriculum- Language Arts

1. Master Books

Melissa Cochran, M.Ed., is a former principal, reading specialist, and kindergarten teacher. She homeschools 2 teens with ASD, ADHD, PTSD, Anxiety, SPD, and PDD (Persistent Depressive Disorder).

With so many nuances to how her kids learn, Master Books has been a hit in her home!

Master Books curriculum is open-and-go. The curriculum is written to the student and is easy for new homeschoolers to jump into without feeling overwhelmed.

Bonus! They have materials for Social Studies and Science, too.

Heather Purvis also enjoys Master Books with her son.

My favorite is Master Books. It is Christ centered with a Charlotte Mason approach. I’ve had luck with the phonics and reading for my struggling reader.

It is not strenuous which makes it approachable for my son.

Master Books isn’t heavy on pencil paper work, but more living education. Their phonics and reading is focused more on letters, sounds and recognition. Not a ton of sight words.

It’s a laid back approach with very simple reading by student with more reading to them by the parent.

Heather Shank-Purvis is mom to 5 very different learners. Some are in homeschool, private and public school. Her homeschooler navigates life with ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, PANS/AE, Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.

Masterbooks For Kids With ADHD

According to Janelle, Masterbooks has been a great resource for her ADHD homeschool.

I just switched to Master Books and so far I am loving the look of it!! We’re starting with Language Arts For A Living Education and I’m excited.

Also, we love their Bible curriculum for my 11 year old and words don’t express how much we LOVE it! It’s so good!

Janelle, homeschool mom of 3, ADHD-infused homeschool life

Orton Gillingham Language Arts Curriculum Options

As mentioned earlier, Orton-Gillingham homeschool curriculum are designed to support children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

So here are a few recommendations that you may want to consider depending upon your student’s needs.

2. Logic of English

Logic of English Tree

Beckye Barnes, a homeschooling rockstar and an educational advocate, loves Logic of English.

Logic of English amazing. It is available both online and in print. Based on the science of reading, it is a full language arts curriculum.

Ms. Barnes is a homeschool mom of two teen boys, Autism, PTSD, ADHD, dyslexia & dysgraphia. She just recently graduated a student with a 4.868 GPA who is entering college as a freshman with 30 college credits.

3. All About Reading & All About Spelling

All About Learning Press

Colleen does a great job modifying AAR to fit the needs of her child. Simply by slowing down the pace, she makes it work.

My dyslexic son is doing well with All About Reading at a slower pace.

Colleen has homeschooled four children, each with different learning styles. Speaking about All About Reading, she continues,

Physically moving the letter tiles, my son can now see that the ending or beginning sounds stay the same.

He was thrilled when he was able to read a story from the reader. I think that boosted his confidence that he will be able to conquer this struggle.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, dyslexia and ADHD

Additional Orton-Gillingham Homeschool Curriculum Options

All About Reading

Beckye Barnes also recommends several other programs for struggling readers. Each use the Orton-Gillingham method and start at the foundations of phonemic awareness.

She recommends any of the following programs:

Beckye also recommends two online supplements Nessy and Teach Your Monster to Read as they are also based in the science of reading.

Other Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum Choices 

Here are some other homeschool language arts curriculum choices that Crystal and Kara have found helpful in their homeschools.

Both ladies have children who learn differently, from autism, adhd to language processing speed.

4. Collections Close Reader

I like Collections Close Reader for 6-7 Language Arts. My girl hates reading, listening, writing, etc. and this has collections of short stories.

There are short questions and vocabulary sprinkled throughout the stories.

It can be done in small chunks even if a student can’t finish a whole short story.

Crystal, homeschool mom of 2, Autism & ADHD

5. Rod and Staff Grammar

Kara, a homeschool mom of two adopted sons with multiple learning challenges, offers her favorite grammar curriculum.

For grammar we love Rod and Staff for Grammar. I like that it’s traditional and gives clear examples. I love that they include sentence diagramming and start it early.

It really forces kids to learn the parts of speech and how to use them.

This is something I wish I had learned earlier as a kid. I really only learned them through taking Latin.

Kara also mentions the importance of keeping lessons short to maximize learning.

I also like that they give short exercises that are to the point, not just busywork. I also like the teacher’s manual- it gives easy to understand examples and uses concrete things within my kids’ realms of experience.

Kara, homeschool mom of 2 adopted sons, ADHD, Aspergers, Sensory Processing Issues

RELATED POST: Teaching ADHD Students At Home: 19 Homeschool Tips

6. Classical Academic Press- Writing & Rhetoric

Kara continues about her favorite writing curriculum for her boys.

We love Classical Academic Press’ Writing and Rhetoric. It seems more comprehensive and we can go at our own pace, which right now is important. If we cannot finish an entire one in a day, we can break lessons into two smaller ones.

It’s concrete, but also allows my kids to think about things in depth, but in smaller chunks they can process.

Kara points out that her son will often write long, involved “paragraphs” with tons of words, but without any cohesive meaning.

This is a huge indication of an underlying language processing issue that often needs to be explicitly addressed.

Check out Reading, Writing & Relationships to learn more.

Writing and Rhetoric is forcing him to use the concept and main ideas of the stories to create his own. It gives him a good example of appropriate length and level of detail.

I cut the lessons down and spread them out keeps them focused while working in-depth, with good quality.

RELATED POST: How To Help A Struggling Reader (Writer, Can’t Follow-Through On Directions Kid)

7. Christian Light Homeschool Language Arts

Personally, Christian Light Language Arts is one of my favorite homeschool language arts curriculum. 

CL is a program that tends to lie low in advertising, but it packs a mighty punch. I was introduced to CL several years ago after teaching my children how to read. This was a godsend for a number of reasons.

Christian Light homeschool curriculum is:

  • Student-driven: It’s written for the student to work through on their own. There are small check boxes throughout each lesson to guide the student. Who doesn’t love to mark off checkboxes? (Wait? Is that just me?)
  • Small Chunks of Teaching: Each grade level is broken into 10 smaller workbooks which allow kids to have small attainable goals throughout the year. Kids love to “finish” each workbook. This helps with motivation.
  • Complete: Once your child is reading, this program can stand alone for several years. Includes grammar (with simple sentence diagramming beginning in second grade), spelling, vocabulary, and penmanship.

Choosing The Best Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum?

If the ultimate goal is long-term learning, it only makes sense to use materials that will support each child (and family) best.

Like all things, however, no homeschool curriculum is perfect. A resource may be an excellent fit for one season, but not another.

This is to be expected as kids grow. When it isn’t working, feel the freedom to pivot in order to best educate your unique child.

Be sure to grab a copy of the Homeschool 101 Planning Guide. It includes questions I use when creating targeted plans for individual students and families.


Logic of English Tree

All About Learning Press

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  1. Teaching ADHD Students At Home: 19 Homeschool Tips
  2. How To Help A Struggling Reader (Writer, Can’t Follow-Through On Directions Kid)
  3. 9 Simple Tips For The Beginning Homeschooler

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