Homeschooling Curriculum - Are You Making the "Right" Choice? by Matt WeightAfter deciding to homeschool your child, you now to work out what you are going to teach them. There are many curriculum choices you can make. You can purchase pre-packaged curriculum, make your own curriculum, or you could even teach a combination of both. Some parents prefer to focus their teachings on their religious beliefs. However, it is important to keep an open mind and remember that your children are their own people and they should be taught about the world from many different perspectives. Remember that there is no "right" way to teach your children because the "right" way for one child may not be "right" for another. It is important to be flexible and change your curriculum to tailor to your children as you discover their individual requirements as they grow.
So what is Pre-Packaged Curriculum anyway? Well Pre-Packaged, "school in a box", or "all-in-one" Curriculum are comprehensive education packages that cover many subjects (usually an entire year worth). They contain all required books and materials. Some even include pencils and writing paper. The intent of the "school in a box" is to try to recreate the school environment in the home. They are typically based on the same subject-area expectations as public schools, which allows an easy transition into school after being home schooled, if desired. They are among the most expensive options for the homeschooled, but are easy to use and require minimal preparation.
The majority of today's home-educated students use an eclectic mix of materials for their Homeschooling needs. For example, they might use a pre-designed program for language, arts or mathematics, and fill in history with reading and field trips, art with classes at a community center, science through homeschool science clubs, physical education with memberships in local sports teams, etc. This has been proved to be one of the most successful ways of educating the Homeschooled child.
Home educators are also able to take advantage of educational programs at museums, community centers, athletic clubs, after-school programs, churches, science preserves, parks, and other community resources. Secondary school level students often take classes at community colleges, which typically have open admission policies.
One of the major benefits of Homeschooling is the ability to blend lessons using a central theme, for example, a study unit about Native Americans could combine lessons in: social studies - like how different tribes live now and lived prior to colonization; art - such as making Native American clothing; history of Native Americans in the US; reading from a specialized reading list; and the science of plants used by Native Americans. You could use this same technique on another study unit where you chose another broad topic to study.
Homeschooling also offers student paced learning. This is similar to "all-in-one" curriculum and is often referred to as "Paces". These workbooks allow the student to progress at an appropriate speed that suits their individual needs. They allow the student to master concepts, before moving on to the next subject, instead relying on the speed of the teacher and other students where they may move on to the next subject too quickly or not move on quickly enough.
Another form of Homeschooling is "Unschooling", that is, an area in which students are not directly instructed but encouraged to learn through exploring their interests. Known also as "interest-led" or "child-led" learning, Unschooling attempts to provide opportunities with games and real life problems where a child will learn without coercion.
Unschooling advocates claim that children learn best by doing. A child may learn reading and math skills by playing card games, better spelling and other writing skills because he's inspired to write a science fiction story for publication, or local history by following a zoning or historical-status dispute.
No matter which technique you decide to use when you start Homeschooling your children, you should remember to be flexible and revise your teaching choices, as you will need to adapt your curriculum to better tailor to your child's needs as they become apparent.
Copyright © 2006 Matt Weight
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