Curricula refers to sum of books, materials and activities used to teach students. Learning goals are chosen based upon "Benchmarks" which are outlines of the content expected to be learned at each grade level. These benchmarks are built into each publisher's curricula and are found in the outlines or Scope and Sequence Charts of text books, cd roms, online courses, workbooks, tutors' material, cooperative classes, work experience, certificate programs, dual enrollment courses and more!
Most homeschool curriculum publishers align closely with each other on what is expected for each grade level, but have differnent styles as to how they present it. You can mix and match different curricula to fit your goals. A good practice is to pick one or two major publishers to follow then create, add or replace school work as needed. The activities possible for homeschoolers are endless. Civic recreation programs, homeschooling cooperatives and private classes in your community are all great resources.Watch thisvideo about learning methods.
Homeschooling is a lot more popular today than in recent years, and as such it is easier to find curricula suited for homeschoolers For a comparison, read this original list of publishers. Two good examples on this list still popular today are ACE Ministries and Abeka. Request samples from the companies that interest you.
Knowing your student's learning style will help you pick more effective curricula and strategies. A "visual" learner for example learns differently than a "hands on" learner. ReviewLearning Stylesor take an Online Survey to help you.
Tests are assessments of progress and are an important part education. Tests are also tools used to make decisions. For example, a college's SAT Prep Test or the free K-12 online diagnostic placement test with ACE Ministries will show weak areas on which to work. Use this link to learn to identify gifted students.