For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Days of Homeschool Essentials - The Curricula

Today is day 3 of the "Homeschooling Essentials" blog hop. It is time to look at a very important topic: the Curriculum.
5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

I know for a fact that the topic of curricula will come up in many of the different bloggers' post on the hop this week. If you are going to talk about the essentials of homeschooling you cannot avoid the topic of curriculum since you kind of need to have something to teach to your kid.  Homeschooling, after all, is home education.

Now the question is how to approach this particular topic.

The way I see it, the topic of curriculum can be dealt with in several ways. But for me I will focus on what I believe are the things that need to be considered when thinking about curricula.

1) Your goal

As I mentionned on Monda,y Homeschooling is a long-term project. You are forming, educating and preparing your children for their lives as adults. So, some of  the questions to have in mind are:

  • What do I want my children to know?
  • What do I want my children to value?
  • How do I want my children to think?

These questions inevitably will direct you towards your goal. In our family we believe:
  • that there is a certain body of knowledge that all should know. 
  • that what one values determines the way he lives .
  • that one of the best thing we can do for children is to teach them to be critical thinkers.

With lots of research, we came to the conclusion that classical homeschooling is the best fit towards accomplishing these particular goals, so our curriculum selections tends to be classically oriented.

2) Your worldview

Our family is a christian family. We believe in God the creator. We believe in sin and the total depravity of human kind. We believe in the historicity of Jesus christ, we believe in His death on the cross and resurrection, and we believe that salvation is to be found in Him and Him  alone. We also believe that a christian is someone who lives his whole life in gratitude to His savior and creator and as an act of worship.

With that in mind, our homeschool must reflect our beliefs. We want to communicate, teach and impress these truths upon our children's hearts. We cannot save them, as this is the work of God, but we do have a responsibility as parents to teach them the truths of Scripture and the realities of our world.

For many that means only using Christian materials, but not for us. The reason is that we believe Christ reigns over this whole world as it is His. There is truth to be found in every corner of this world, and I want my kids to know that, and learn how to be discerning. We want them to understand the reality and differences between natural revelation (as found in the world) and Special revelation (as found in Scriptures).

So to that end, here are what we do:
  • We catechise them. In the past we have used the Westminster catechism and now are using the Heidelburgh cathechism.
  • We put a high importance in church attendance. God  and the things of God always take precedence.
  • We read the Bible together and we pray together.
  • Whatever we use in our homeschooling we seek to relate to a christian worldview and value.
3) Your homeschooling style /chosen method

Now, just because there is a particular homeschooling philosophy that best suits your goal, this does not mean that this is the only style that you have to use. One must identify the homeschooling styles and methods that can work well within his goals and worldview.

The amount of homeschooling styles and methods are anything but few. Lots of them overlap. Here are the main ones:

Charlotte Mason
School at home or textbook
Unit Study
Umbrella organzation
Unit Study
Distance education

How do you choose? You don't really have to. You can explore each and see what you think of each. You can follow one to the T, or you can pick and mix. In homeschooling nothing is set in stone except for your goals and worldview. The methods and style you choose can be flexible. You just have to do your homework.

Personnaly our homeschool, although overarched by a classical philisophy, is relaxed, delight-directed at times, computer-based at times, and definitely eclectic.

4) Your children's learning style

Lastly knowing how your child learn is a very important consideration when picking curriculum. If your child hates workbooks, forcing him to use them might be a disaster. If your child thrives on hands-on or visuals, you will be surprised at what he can absorb when you use that.

I have a workbook-oriented chid and one that is not. I had to adjust. None of my boys use to like writing, so I stayed away for a long time from curriculum that involved too much writing. Now that they are older this is not a problem as much. But I am glad I made the adjustment early on. They still learned and they did not have to cry throughout the process. That said, I am not advocating always going by the whims of your kids, but only to allow for flexibility.

Now, do not forget to check my other crewmates' posts here and on the crew blog.

Marcy @ Ben and Me

Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Tess @ Circling Through This Life

Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart

Kayla @ The Arrowood Zoo

Deanna @ His Treasure Seekers

Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool

Beth @ Ozark Ramblings

Rebecca @ Raventhreads

In the series:

Day 1: The Basics part I
Day 2: The Basics Part II
Day 3:  The Curricula
Day 4: The Attitudes
Day 5: The Extras


Kayla Arrowood said...

So important to know the learning styles your children have! That was a great thing for me to understand!!

Leah Courtney said...

I'm glad you mentioned all of these as factors in deciding what curricula to use. Sometimes it's easy to just pick out something others think is great, and it might not fit us.

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