How to Write a Homeschool Curriculum Review

by Jimmie

A good curriculum review gives a prospective buyer a clear opinion of the teaching material and whether or not it will fit her needs.

Writing a curriculum review of material you have used is a fantastic help to other moms seeking to buy it. Share what you love or dislike about a particular resource by writing a thorough review including all the things listed here on this page.

Photos of Curriculum I Have Reviewed

Science Books
Science Books
Beautiful Feet History of the Horse Curriculum
Beautiful Feet History of the Horse C...
Paragraph Writing Workbook
Paragraph Writing Workbook
Science Books
Science Books
Vocabulary Curriculum
Vocabulary Curriculum

What Every Homeschool Curriculum Review Should Include

1. A Full Title Plus Author's Name and Publisher

It can be very frustrating to hear about a good resource and not be able to find it because you aren't crystal clear about the title or author of the book. Be very detailed in the name of the resource you are reviewing.

2. Links to Retail Sites

Link to the curriculum's main website if one exists. You can also link to the product at a few major retailers where there is a good price on the book. If you don't, a reader will most likely ask you where to buy the item. Go ahead and help them out with a link.

3. Recommended Ages or Grades

Every mom wants to know if this material will work for her children. Be as specific as you can about ages or grades. Tell what the publisher recommends and then add your own assessment. Give examples from your own experience, telling the ages of your children when they used the material and how well if fit their level.

4. General Overview of the Material

Besides stating what the curriculum covers, be sure to explain the layout and structure. Is it set up in daily lessons or weekly assignments? How long is the material supposed to be used -- one week or one semester? Is there a teacher's guide or answer key? Is the book a reproducible or not? Is it hardback, softback, spiral bound, or something else.

To make your review as helpful as possible, give the maximum amount of detail you can muster up.  

5. Photos

Pictures liven up any online post or article. A curriculum review is no different. Take some photos of the material in natural daylight. Go outdoors if necessary to get good lighting.

Consider photographing your child with the material, reading it or working on it in some way. When you give your review a personal touch, the reader is more likely to trust your opinions.

6. Worldview

Don't forget to address the background of the curriculum. Is it Christian, secular, or some other worldview? And explain how integral that worldview is to the material.

Optional Things to Add to a Curriculum Review

Helpful Extras

If you want to go beyond the curriculum review and offer more help to your reader, consider adding these things to your post.

1. Tips for Using the Curriculum

Do you have any organizational tips for getting ready to teach the curriculum or for managing it? Those kinds of ideas make a mom more confident with buying and using a new curriculum. Share your experience.

2. Supplementary Materials 

Tell your readers the things you need to use this curriculum, for example specific school supplies or reference books. I once reviewed a Bible curriclum that required a certain Bible translation and highlighters. That kind of information may be important for the mom who is shopping online in hopes of using the material immediately.

Did you add any extras that meshed nicely with the curriculum? Share those. A mom may already have them or want to buy them.

3. How the Curriculum Works With Various Learning Styles

Does this curriculum work well for certain learning challenges? Or did you modify it in someway to make it a better fit for your child's learning style? Share that too.

4. If the Curriculum Can be Resold

Some materials, such as digital products and CD-roms, are forbidden to be resold. Since many parents hope to recover some of the cost of curriculum by selling it used, you may want to include this possibility or lack of in your review. 

More Review Helps

The Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Writing Product Reviews
This article is written from the perspective of an affiliate marketer who is trying to sell things. That may not be your goal, but the article still offers some very practical tips.

What is Your Purpose in Writing a Curriculum Review?

A Caution

Respect Copyright

Do be careful in your curriculum review not to give away too much specific information that might violate copyright and cause the publisher or writer to be angry. It is not your job to give away free samples from the material. If the publisher makes those available, by all means, link to them. But don't scan images from the book to share. And be careful with photographs. Make sure they are distant enough that no one could use the photo as a substitute for the curriculum.

The Curriculum Review Bible

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curricu...
B&H Books
$21.99  $4.84

Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks

This hefty paperback book is a curriculum bible of sorts. It is jam packed with curriculum reviews, all following a set formula so that different material is easy to compare. Cathy Duffy shares which types of learners will get the most benefit out of each curriculum she reviews. 

And, of course, these are her top picks. So each one is a curriclum that she highly recommends.

You can get some brief curriculum reviews at her website, Cathy Duffy Reviews.

Some of My Curriculum Reviews

Daily Paragraph Editing Curriculum Review
This review is posted at The Curriculum Choice, a blog devoted exclusively to curriculum reviews.

Beautiful Feet History of the Horse Curriculum
This fun unit study covers language arts, history, and science all in one curriculum. Read my review and list of supplementary materials.

Discover for Yourself Inductive Bible Studies Curriculum Review
I gave this Bible curriculum two thumbs up!

Winter Promise Versus Sonlight
In this review, I compare two similar publishers based on my experience with them both.

Updated: 02/27/2012, Jimmie
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sheilamarie on 05/03/2012

Great tips, Jimmie! Very thorough guidelines for writing a curriculum review. Good reviews very helpful for someone choosing which educational materials to use.

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