Deciding upon curriculum is one of the most important aspects of a successful homeschool year. Not because your child(ren) will be adequately educated but because it will set the tone of your Culture of Education. To cover “What Every ___ Grader Ought to Know” –which is a silly concept– that you will somehow fail your child if they don’t learn specific concepts at/by specific grades. Teachers at traditional schools using the same books do not teach the same concepts meaning that ‘something’ is missed in each of those classrooms. The only way you will fail your child is if you fail to teach curiosity, observation, diligence, character, how to learn, and faith.
Your curriculum is your tool and not your goal. Completing a huge pile of books is wonderful as long as it has been used to teach life lessons alongside details contained withing the pages.
Create a balanced weekly plan that works for your family:
-this does have to do with curriculum, I promise-
- Baby Season? Consider Year ‘Round Schooling
- allows for 3.5 days of school per week
- allows for slow mornings and naps
- allows for calling off a school day that is infected by The Grumpies
- Inundated by Toddlers? Include them in your older student’s lessons when they ask
- a good attitude is everything (our saying, “The only choice you have while doing as asked is a good attitude or a bad attitude.”)
- they just want to be a part of what you are doing
- it is all play to them until age 7-9 when it becomes their ‘job’
- train them in diligence and they will eventually do their job well and independently
- every lesson does not need to be purposeful or taken to a finished product
- give them a crayon and a paper with their first name letter to trace
- give them another color crayon (or have them find that color) and re-trace
- give them a sheet with numbers to put in order
- be creative but let them into the world of school
- will make adding them style SO much easier
- will give them an identity as a hard worker, a learner, a student
- will let them know that they are equally valued and ‘seen’
- Elementary Age should be about character and diligence
- Create, with your child, an expectation/consequence sheet and be consistent
- If they can’t count on you to follow through, you ought not to expect if of them
- Attitude continues to be a focus
- Self-control mastered by/before age 11 directly relates to happiness as an adult!
- And what about the books???
- Lots of reading
- Readers are children who are bored or overworked
- If they have siblings to play with, technology to space out into, etc they will not enjoy reading. Make reading a privilege, but realize that it takes diligence on your part to be sure that they read and comprehend regularly and see you modeling the said behavior
- Lots of reading
- Middle School is the beginning of adult behaviors with you guiding your child(ren) toward:
- Diligence and attention to detail
- Responsibility and independence
- Caring about the quality of work
- By checking regularly, requiring corrections (not perfection), and checking the corrections
- Allow them to make choices within a parent regulated realm
- Create, with the child, consequences that fit the action/inaction
- Boys (and our men) NEED respect- just toss it in a sentence and see what happens
- “I respect your choice to ____ but cannot allow such behavior to continue. Do you have another way that you might handle/fix this problem?”
- Girls (and our women) NEED love- again, use it in a sentence and see what happens
- High School is a young version of who your child will be in college or career
- Control over their actions and choice has long ago evaporated
- Your main connection with them is to remain in relationship and communication
- Not to be confused with berating which leads to shut down
- We don’t always like our teenager’s choices, actions, and words but keeping in the forefront of our minds that only they can choose to change them directs the method and manner in which our responses are spoken
By now you are asking, “But how does this help with CURRICULUM CHOICE.”
The books you use are as important as how you relate to your child. So, let’s take an actual look at levels and curriculum styles.
Choose your books based upon how they garner and maintain your interest and ease of unpacking the material.
Just because it worked wonders for your friend does not mean it will do the same for you.
Taste, touch, see, before buying. The UPS man is not your home school motivational guru!
Usually, less is more. Your can tailor anything to your child’s learning style. What you can’t do is tailor anything to inspire you to teach. We have used college texts to teach K science–they had such cool and real diagrams! We have used children’s books as middle school research sources. It’s ALL okay! If it works for you, it will work for your child- you will make certain of that or you will change direction. This is your child. Have not fear that you will miss something (of course you will- at school they miss things all the time), or mess something up (of course, you will- at school….), or whatever. This is life, but you are the most vested person in your child’s life which tells me that you will bend over backward to get it right and then some. Trust yourself that you are the best teacher for your child. Definition of the Best Teacher: “The one who cares enough to learn each child’s heart and then connect with it so as to gain their attention long enough to inspire them to learn.” YOU don’t even have to work at being THAT person! You are!
- Perhaps cost is key which means selecting from various and sundry books/sources
- This is called Eclectic (in my humble opinion, the richest and least expensive option)
- Perhaps life is stressful enough and you need school to be real but not over taxing
- This is called Relaxed (woven with eclectic it cultivates amazing days of learning)
- Perhaps having work, scope, and sequence laid out for you is key
- A boxed curriculum works here
- Perhaps having a 3rd party leading the course and expectations
- High Schoolers take most of their classes through online or in person homeschool programs, or dual enrollment credits. Look through the High School pages found through the main menu for more
A NICE CHECKLIST ARTICLE TO HELP YOU GET STARTED