Three Things to Consider When Making Curriculum Decisions
I know that it’s curriculum-choosing time for a lot of you, and after talking with parents at the last two conventions, I wanted to suggest three things to think about before you make any curriculum decisions.
- Your student’s learning style
- Your household patterns and routines
- Your student’s gifts and goals
Your Student’s Learning Style
It’s important to know whether your student learns best by seeing, hearing, or doing. When you work with a student’s learning style, rather than against it, the student will learn more easily and retain a lot more of what he learns. If you are teaching multiple students using one curriculum, adapt it to fit whenever you can. For example, if you have an auditory learner, allow him to sometimes listen to audiobooks, rather than read everything, especially if he needs to read something that is full of challenging ideas, such as classic literature. If you have a kinesthetic (hands-on) learner, look for resources that will actively engage him, such as science with a laboratory component, or literature that requires looking, listening, and doing.
Your Household Patterns and Routines
Most homes have an easily distinguishable atmosphere. Is your family atmosphere serene, quiet and home-centered, or do you have a noisy, busy household that is more car-centered? Be sure to take this into account when selecting curriculum. If you’re rarely at home for a whole day, it’s probably not a good idea to choose a curriculum that would require your student to spend 5-7 hours in front of a computer screen or video monitor. On the other hand, if you prefer a peaceful, home-centered life, you may not want to enroll your student in a co-op that requires your student’s physical presence on a daily basiswx. Matching your homeschool style with the household atmosphere that best works for your family is an idea that can make homeschooling a joy, rather than a trial.
Your Student’s Gifts and Goals
Standardized education is like a one-size-fits-all garment: it might cover the essentials, but it doesn’t necessarily fit or feel right. Every child is an individual with God-given talents and goals. The right resources will allow your student to fully develop the knowledge and skills needed to fulfill his or her mission in life.
If you have a student who is deeply interested in art or math, find resources that will make your homeschool like a mini-magnet school for that subject. There are books, audios, videos, and classes available that will allow you to do this for any subject. You’ll find that working with your student’s personality, gifts, and goals will help you provide a truly nourishing education that can benefit him for a lifetime.
As most of you know, my personal homeschooling style was relaxed and eclectic, informed by the ideas of Charlotte Mason, as well as the “classics and models” concept of Thomas Jefferson education. This meant very few textbooks, lots of living books, and a focus on sharing information in a way that was absorbing and memorable, plus generous amounts of time to pursue individual interests.
Many families follow a similar model in grades 1-8, then feel they must go into something more traditional during high school. We didn’t– we stayed relaxed and eclectic, but just added in a few community college classes and some CLEP exams in order to earn college credit while in high school. If a traditional strait jacket didn’t fit in the early grades, it’s unlikely to be much better a few years later!
Finally, the Excellence in Literature curriculum is finally fully complete and is available on the website as individual books or as a complete five-year curriculum in a big binder for those of you who want to mix and match the units. The five levels are Introduction to Literature, Literature and Composition, American Literature, British Literature, and World Literature.
Spelling Made Easy: The Homonym Way to Better Spelling was a big success at the recent HEAV conference, and we almost sold out. We have a few left (more coming!), as well as a few discounted beta copies. You can get whichever version you want– beta, e-book, or print book– at the website.