I have come to a single conclusion on curriculum that you can take to the bank.
When it comes to choosing curriculum for your student/child, the MOST IMPORTANT THING is that the material is challenging enough for him.
Yes, some brands of math are easier than others. Some brands of science will be more challenging than others. Some reading programs move more quickly than others. Choose the most challenging materials for your student that you can find and stick with them.
Keep in mind that some students will be challenged more easily than others. There is a balance between easy, medium, and hard. Some subjects will be easy for your child, and those that come easily are the ones that need to be the biggest challenge, as that is where your child’s strengths lie. The subjects that your child sees as being more difficult for him are often not his strengths and already are challenging.
I am a huge proponent of challenging strengths in a student.
For example, if I have a student who is very good in math and science and is interested in a career in engineering, I am not going to be super concerned because learning a foreign language isn’t his favorite thing. I am not going to force that student to spend endless hours honing his foreign language skills. A simpler language curriculum most likely will be challenging enough for him. I will want this student to put a whole lot of time and energy into the more in-depth science and math courses using the most challenging materials I can find.
Perhaps my other son is interested in foreign missions and Chinese language study. I am not going to push or be as concerned with development of his science and math skills if that is not his strength. He will need to pour his energies into the realm of language, sociology, psychology, etcetera.
See what I am saying? We tend to think that our high school kids must excel at EVERYTHING when in reality they should master the material we give them in everything, for sure, but their areas of interest should be honed more sharply than those that do not interest them as much.
That’s really my final word on choosing curriculum.