When evaluating curriculum, we use three main sources to learn about the materials: we gain personal experience by interacting with the curriculum itself; we read reviews by/ask questions of people who have used or are using the curriculum; and we look for a review by Cathy Duffy. We have been reading her reviews for years, and consider them usually right on the mark.
In 2005, Mrs. Duffy released her book, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. We list here many (though not all) of the items she recommended in that book. Although we don't always agree with her assessments, generally we too recommend these materials highly. But we also advise you to actually obtain her book to see why she suggests them. In 100 Top Picks, she offers guidance to help you decide which materials would actually work best for you.
In 2012, she released an updated version, retitled 101 Top Picks. Six years is a long time in the homeschool publishing world, and many of Cathy's top picks were adjusted (see a list of differences here). The same thing happened again three years later, in 2015, with the publication of 102 Top Picks (see list of updates here). The core of the book in all three editions remains very similar, still offering you the tools to narrow your focus and guide you through a simplified curriculum selection process with questionnaires and charts. She helps you understand your own preferences in terms of a philosophy of education, learning styles, and goal setting, enabling you limit the seemingly limitless possibilities to a manageable number of choices.
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