How to Plan Your Own Homeschool Curriculum (and Why You Should)

Pshew! Have you ever tried to put together your own homeschool curriculum? I do every year and let me tell you…it can be scary! You want to make sure that your child has the best education possible so you scour the curriculum websites and groups, make your purchases, start the year and then? You realize that you absolutely hate the curriculum you bought or that it just simply won’t work for your kids. What will you do then?

The answer is pretty simple. Plan your own homeschool curriculum.

Learning how to plan your own homeschool curriculum might seem scary, but its really not! Learn how to plan it and why you should go ahead and take that leap!

Maybe you haven’t gotten as far as picking up and trying a boxed curriculum set. Maybe you’ve only recently made the big decision to homeschool, notified anyone that might need to be (school board, etc), and decided where you will be homeschooling ( spare bedroom or kitchen table). Haven’t done that yet? Go ahead and backtrack to the 5 Steps to Take Before You Homeschool,  then come back and see me here.  If you’ve already done all of that, your ready to head to the next step! Putting together your own curriculum!

When we first decided to homeschool Emma, I tried the boxed sets. Lord knows I did and I spent so much money on them as a result. How I wish I could go back and stop myself, because in truth? While boxed sets are awesome for some kids? They’re not so awesome for my kid. That’s why we chose to create our own. I pick and choose from boxed sets, use worksheets, and supplement with whatever else I need to.

Decide your budget– This is a must do first step. Know exactly what you have to work with so you can choose a curriculum and supplements in your price range. If you are on a shoestring budget, no problem because it can be done! We have a Huge List of  Free Homeschool curriculum here on Six Dollar Family to give you some specific sites to find a wide variety of free curriculum.

Plan Your Subjects – You’ll need to make sure you know what your state requires first and foremost. After that, you’ll want to decide what to learn based on your child’s age, interest level, learning levels and more. Start with the basics, reading, writing, math, grammar and social studies, then build from there. For instance, my Emma wants to learn the violin. I love the idea of adding a dedicated music class to our curriculum so we’re working on building that for the upcoming year. Once you have your core subjects planned, it’s time to start gathering the items you’ll need. Just like you planned them first, gather the items for your core subjects first. Whether you are purchasing or borrowing your books make sure you know what you are using first then you can easily fill in the gaps with supplemental books, games, flashcards, etc.

Get a planner – Research, get other homeschooling moms advice, physically flip through some if you can and find one that seems to work for you and your child(ren). Keeping track in a planner will keep your much more organized, on task, and it can also be used as part of your portfolio later if your state requires it. I personally use Homeschool Manager to plan my curriculum, but also to keep track of grades and attendance. It makes it super easy to do and I’m not surrounded by paper. You may also want to get a planner for your kids as well. If you don’t want to pay big bucks for one, we have a VERY nice printable student planner HERE on the blog totally free for you.

Use the Library– Your local library will become your best friend. Take advantage of it to save money on things like readers, curriculum guides, textbooks and more. This is an especially awesome way to save if you won’t need them long term or do not have a younger child who will need them later.

Hit the thrift stores and yard sales- I am always able to find books for various topics here, sometimes even school textbooks. One of my best finds was the entire Little House series for $18.00. Mainly I use thrift stores for reading books or other supplements for unit studies we’re already doing. They’re especially good for supplies that I may not be able to find elsewhere for experiments or art projects to help keep the costs low.

Check used curriculum pages on Facebook– Do a quick Facebook search and you’ll see that there are quite a few ranging groups from general homeschool sales to pages specific to curriculum’s, learning styles, and location. Buy at a lower cost and when you are done with it you can resell and offset some of next years cost.

Organize it all- Dedicate a bookshelf to your current curriculum or a crate if you are short on space. We have a dedicated homeschool room, but I tend to buy A LOT of supplements so I keep it all organized in these 4 shelf bookcases. They’re the perfect height for Emma to not have to strain to reach and they hold a ton. Tuck books all around your home that supplement and support your child’s studies. Encourage reading all the time, make your entire home a learning space for maximum benefits. As I said earlier, I don’t keep a paper planner with my curriculum, grades or attendance. Lord knows I have enough paper floating around this house. That’s the reason that I like Homeschool Manager so much. It’s all right there for me and I love that it will actually assign a grade for each subject for me since my Emma still likes to have “regular” grades.

Enjoy it- Don’t forget to take a deep breath and enjoy it. You got this Momma! Go at you and your child’s own pace, remember the reasons you decided to do this whatever they are and know that no one can love and care for your child the way you do.


Just as a quick side note: I’ve mentioned that I use Homeschool Manager twice in this post. I honestly do and was not compensated in any way for mentioning them here. However, because I truly love the program as much as I do, they’ve agreed to give Six Dollar Family readers 30 days free to try it out when you use THIS link! If you decide to stay with them, you’ll pay just $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year and take it from this homeschool Momma…it is SO worth it!

Want to earn FREE books to use in your Homeschool? Head over HERE and contact me! I can show you how (and it’s super easy!)

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Stacy Barr
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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family . By the age of 30, she had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Her book, also called Six Dollar Family, has sold more than 7,000 copies since its release.

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