Homeschool Textbooks

Traditional or "School at Home"

Using homeschool textbooks as a complete program is a traditional form of schooling at home.

I do not use homeschool textbooks as a complete program. I tend to pick and choose from different publishers both traditional and not so traditional. I do believe there is a good place and time for a traditional textbooks approach. In combination with other teaching methods it can actually take a lot of pressure off of mom.

I must add my encouragement that if school is becoming overwhelming and you are using a complete textbook curriculum package... consider switching things up! School can be a great time with your kids. Don't let yourselves become slaves to a curriculum. Let a curriculum work for you!

A traditional approach will often use a complete program from one publisher. Alpha Omega, Bob Jones, Abeka and Seton are 4 traditional homeschool programs. 

Your homeschool can also use a combination of textbooks from different publishers. An eclectic homeschool (what I would consider myself) may use a traditional text for some subjects and be more delight directed using other forms of materials for other subjects.

For those desiring a more traditional homeschool setting and using a complete program from one publisher, the graded texts usually follow a formal scope and sequence. Usually each subject is taught independent of each other.  

A complete homeschool program may consist of teachers manuals, quizzes and tests. These are often formatted with a main student text and consumable student workbooks.

Homeschool Textbooks Pro's and Con's


  • Students work independently.
  • Many programs include video materials.
  • Can be comfortable for new homeschooling families who are used to a traditional classroom setting.
  • If a parent is sick or can not supervise it is easy for someone else to step in and know just what needs to be done next.
  • Passing tests and completing chapters and textbooks can give a sense of accomplishment, goals are easy to define and achieve.


  • Material is often geared to the average student. Those who don't fit in these parameters may either get bored with the material or be overwhelmed by the pace.
  • Grading can become overwhelming for a large family with children of differing ages.
  • Each grade level works separately, studying different topics. It would be more difficult to combine studies with students of multiple age groups
  • Assumes that a predefined body of knowledge makes up a complete education. Not much room for rabbit trails or delving into particular areas of interest.
  • Does not take into account different learning style's
  • Each topic is taught independently of the other.  I am a big believer in combining things when possible.  I believe composition should be taught by writing about topics studied in history for example.  

Just do the next thing simplicity.

Homeschool Quick Tip

When I use text books for a subject.  I like to make a copy of the table of contents, then jot in names of books, movies, games, field trip ideas right in the margin of the topic where they would fit.  

For instance, there is a unit on the Civil War,  I know I have a couple of books on the shelf that my son would enjoy while he reads that chapter.  If it is written right there... I don't forget to assign that book.  

Or you may see a movie about something pertaining to that textbook.  Write it down so you won't forget.  

Homeschool textbooks offer the simplicity of just do the next thing.

Many families thrive on the structure and steady process of a traditional curriculum format. They don't have to make decisions of what to do next, the program is all set up and you just need to complete the next book.

My suggestion if this appeals to you is to consider using texts in a relaxed manner.  Add lots of interesting videos, living books and activities to keep things interesting as you work through the textbooks.

Choose to use textbooks for only a part of your studies.

There are no homeschool "rules" that say you must choose one size fits all curriculum for your very NOT one size fits all son.

Break free from any preconceived notions of what "school" needs to look like.

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