Homeschool In A Box Versus Planning Your Own Curriculum

Homeschool In A Box Versus Planning Your Own Curriculum

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I would like to share with you my personal experience with “School In a Box” Kits Versus Planning Your Own Curriculum. I have done both, and each for an extended period of time; so I would like to share my takeaway with you.

Homeschool In A Box Versus Planning Your Own Curriculum

When I first started homeschooling like many of you it was a completely new venture, I knew I didn’t want my children in the public school system, and I also knew I wasn’t ready to send my child off to anyone else at 4/5 years old. I began doing all the typical research, and also like many of you I quickly became overwhelmed. Beginning the process of choosing curriculum is stressful; we want to make the right choice and yet there are so many things that only experience can teach us sometimes no matter how much we research, right?

I knew I was not prepared to choose and pull curriculum from various sources, and I also didn’t know enough about homeschooling, in general, to try to lesson plan on my own. I made a choice for my family to order what many refer to as an accredited “school in a box kit” and I will tell you why I am glad I did looking back on it.

School in a box is essentially everything you need for that school year or semester included in the shipped box. You won’t need to supplement anything in many cases. In some cases you may need to supplement recommended readers or companion books, or possibly a few items that may be optional. You usually will need to purchase your own school supplies such as pencils, paper, crayons, etc. but other than that it’s all in there. Usually,  also included is a daily lesson planner all filled out, so it totally takes any planning pressure off of you.

I think this can be fantastic for your first 1-3 years of homeschooling or if you have multiple kiddos. We did this Pre K – 2nd grade, and it created a wonderful foundation for my daughter and I both. We were entering completely new territory, and this took so much guesswork and stress out of the equation that she and I spent those years focused on just the learning.

What We Really Learned

As far as my daughter, she learned fundamentals that I couldn’t have taught at that point well enough for them to really stick with her. The program we chose was right for us, and set her up with a great foundation in Bible, Math, and Language that had paid off when we later branched out into other sources of curricula.

As far as momma…let me tell you I learned a lot! I learned that I could lesson plan on my own, I learned that after those first few years I now knew better what my child’s learning style was. I had figured out that certain subjects weren’t meshing with she or I because she and I both learned a different way! Imagine that! Our kids aren’t carbon copies of ourselves…lol

Those first few years I gained confidence as her teacher, I got to know my student on an intimate level, and we both could branch out with confidence after this experience. There were periods of time of course that we all have with our kids – they get frustrated, they cry, we get frustrated that “they just don’t get it”, or we think they should pick this up by now. Honestly, homeschooling is a beautiful journey in getting to know your children on a deeper level than you ever think possible.

So after those years of school in a box, finding out how I taught and how she learned I decided I was ready to pull from various sources and make my own lesson plans. Some of you may think 3-4 years is a long time for me to decide to finally transition over to lesson planning on my own, but everyone is different. It took me a long time to feel confident enough to try it, yet I know many moms who go right into it in their first year. That’s awesome if you can do that! I needed the experience and time first.

Homeschool In a Box Vs Planning On Your Own

As far as pulling from various sources to create your own curriculum – if you don’t have teaching experience be patient with yourself. It does take a bit of time to find choices that work well with you and your children. It helps to know their learning style and also how you learn and comprehend. If you and your child are opposites, then you need to make some adjustments, but that’s one of the most magical parts of homeschooling! You can customize the curriculum for that child, and who knows your child better than you momma? You get to create a customized education for your kiddos, that is such a huge blessing for you and your family. We need to remind ourselves of that more often.

We even debated going back to “School In A Box” at one point, I found it was more complicated to lesson plan and prep with two littles at home. With so many responsibilities for mom, it felt like time to take some lesson planning off my plate. But when we weighed out the loss of our freedom to choose each piece of curriculum, and tailor the choices to each child specifically, that just isn’t enough for us to go back for a measure of convenience. We love our eclectic mix of what fits the child, the learning style, or current season. I love that homeschool can shift with whatever season your family is in.

Do what is best for YOUR family in the season you are in!


Just a quick note about cost, I have spent almost as much buying curriculum from multiple sources as it cost to just bundle the school in a box. By the time I searched and found the best choices for us in each subject, and the needed supplies, supplemental books and everything we use it didn’t save me a ton of money. I have spent $895-$1100 on an accredited school in a box kits, and I have spent $700-900 on curriculum for a school year on my own. So just for comparison sake, it really depends on what curriculum, books, and styles you choose. However, there are moms that know how to pull everything off the internet for FREE. Incredibly awesome if you can do that!

Whatever stage you are in, I hope you are gaining the confidence you need and that the Lord is directing your path! Reach out to me anytime if you need help learning how to choose curriculum, I would love to hear from you and help in any way if I can.  I have gained a lot of knowledge from both options, and see the value and benefit equally to both.

Best of luck weighing your choices!




  1. Oh, I so agree! I love getting our boxed curriculum and having everything done for me! All I need to do is focus on teaching my kids and I never spend my weekends and Summer planning. I love that also my boxed curriculum is flexible so if we don’t like something we simply send it back for full refund and choose something else instead.
    I don’t think I will ever leave my boxed curriculum. 😉

    1. I agree Ana! The choices now are many! Not like 10 years ago. Planning does take time. There are benefits to each choice, and can easily depend on your comfort level and season.

  2. Thank you for this post. I grew up on box curriculum. My personalityis also suitable for a box curriculum.
    My little boys are thriving so far on box curriculum. But I can see how they can benefit from a more ecclictic approach. My middle boy needs more online stimulation. My eldest is more like me so a more academic approach when he is older.
    Who knows what we’ll do in a few years time.
    I think next year I’ll continue with box.

    1. I totally understand, it can serve a purpose for sure. You will know when you are ready to branch out and plan on your own or not. 😉

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