There are many ways of home educating children and some of them involve using entirely, or partly, pre-prepared curriculum from companies who put together sets of books or appropriately graded activities and subjects for simplicity and a cohesive form of structured study.
Within these curriculum supplies there is often the opportunity to be extremely flexible with how you personally use the supplies, the time you do them in, the order that you use them or even the approach you take within a structured curriculum.
Its my experience that many (not of course all by any means but a fair few!) people start out feeling they will “need” a structured approach and look at pre-prepared curricula as a perfect way to do this; then there comes a period of avoiding all such things and then people come back to them, often as a resource for finding excellent books, as much as a place to buy in a particular way of “home educating.”
Its important to remember that the majority of these suppliers come from America where many states stipulate a requirement for such things. Its equally important to remember that there is no reason at all to “do it their way” if you do buy a package from such a place, it can often be a cost effective way of getting lots of great books without buying into the ethos any further than that. No one will be marking “how you do it” so the choice is yours.
Galore Park – our absolute favourite in 2009/2010, these old fashioned text books are designed with UK style Independent Schools in mind. They are not not National Curriculum but they are detailed, interesting, varied and stretching, these books please all my girls and me, giving us a baseline education that i think is comparable to my own private schooling.
Ichthus Resources – a great UK place to buy varied HE text resources for a more structured approach. Often sourced from the US but with lots to offer UK HEers.
SHL (Wits End) – a National Curriculum off the shelf package for UK HEers who want a school curriculum based style, perhaps if HEing temporarily or while abroad or as a starting base.
Sonlight is a well known curriculum supplier. Although we haven’t used a “Core” programme, we may yet at some point and know several people who do. We do use some of their books and materials and find them good value for money, especially if you take advantage of their shipping discounts. One of the things I like about Sonlight is that although it has Christianity as the Core of its study, it is not afraid to supply and tackle issues that fall outside those ideals – so it covers Native American prayers and supplies books which encompass evolution etc even if it does not directly use them. It gives plenty of scope for liberal or non-Christian people to use the supplies to their own needs.
Core Knowledge (2015) This is new to me and appears to cover a series of topic and subject areas in a series of workbooks graded by age.
There is a comprehensive and more up to date list on Home Ed Info which you may find useful.
The links below have been left for information but may have some issues or be out dated.
Ambleside Online – I’ve included this because its something we love and they do have links for buying some books, but its essentially a free curriculum utilising many free online resources.
Rainbow Resources – a supplier of individual items but with an immense catalogue. US but does ship to UK.
Materamabilis – free online Catholic Charlotte Mason Curriculum built jointly to suit US and UK needs.
Classical Christian Curriculum – I’ve been told good things about this but have not spent much time looking at it yet myself.
The Well Trained Mind – the website for the well known classical education book with a wealth of resources available.