Re: Curriculum choices? Overwhelmed...
I think you'll be less overwhelmed if you choose a learning/teaching style: classical, waldorf, charlotte mason, traditional, montessori, unschooling, etc.
I tried Before 5 in a Row. It is Christian, but SUPER easy to just ignore that part. This is VERY unstructured and not intense at all. My daughter is 4 and beginning reading, so it didn't fit us. She was doing 2 "units (which should last 1 week) in just 1 day. I think a 3 yo might like it better.
I used Oak Meadow Kindergarten. 100% secular. It is laid back and very reading intensive. I loved the feel of it. It felt right "in my heart" but wouldn't challenge my daughter unless I skipped to a 2nd grade curriculum. That didn't feel right. I did love the reading component though, and we have changed how we read stories to be more interactive.
We are currently using Mammoth Math 1st grade. They don't have a kindergarten. I feel like she is getting these concepts (addition, greater than/less than) but is missing out on some "core" concepts that she would get in Kindergarten math. She doesn't much love the constant work sheets without manipulatives.
We are doing Handwriting Without Tears for handwriting which she loves. It is low key, but really, too easy for her. But she isn't physically developed enough to be able to write well, so it is okay that the concepts are easy, even if the work is right where she is.
I am looking to try Math U See "primer" (kindergarten) to be sure we get those early concepts down in a more interactive way. I just haven't found it at a good price.
I picked up Horizon's Phonics for cheap, so we will try that and see how it goes. It is Christian based, but I haven't seen the curriculum yet to know whether I will mind.
I recently picked up "Connect the Thoughts." It is all digital, and secular. It is supposed to be read X to student, do Y. I am ignoring that, and just using it as a baseline, for each topic. I LOVE the safety units and creative "writing". I didn't love Science I, but it wasn't bad. We'll just rush through parts of it. It has a "history" component that I look forward to, too. I also picked up their Halloween unit which I'm excited to start next week. All in all, a decent price, but doesn't include math or reading. It is on sale until Sunday for anyone interested.
All in all, I've figured out I am a Waldorf mom trying to keep up with a more "unit studies" kid. I haven't found a unit studies curriculum that really fits us, so I am allowing "connect the thoughts" to guide us with ideas and the library to provide the rest. Since DD1 won't be 5 until April, we have lots of time to figure this all out.