Homeschooling Advice: What Is A Curriculum?

Parents who home-school their children should know that a curriculum is an important part of the learning process for students.

The program of study provided by an educational institution is a curriculum. When parents choose to home school their child, it is their responsibility to design, approve, and administer a curriculum. A program of study is a broad description, but a home-schooled child has specific needs.

A major benefit of home-schooling is being able to provide children with an education that focuses on the subjects that their parents find important. It also takes into consideration a child's individual interests and aptitudes. Yet it is also important that the curriculum provided keeps home-schooled children advancing (particularly in areas like literacy and mathematical skills) at the same rate as those children in the public education system and private schools. Parents who home-school their children must keep current on what is expected of students at their child's age level and should keep records of their student's progress.

When parents are considering home-schooling their children, they should consider what subjects and courses are important to them, and they should do their research. Many books and guidelines for home-school curriculums are available. Parents then have the freedom to create a well-informed curriculum or adapt an existing curriculum to fit their child's needs.

Parents may design a curriculum to be as structured or as open as they desire, but times should be scheduled on school days to focus on specific subject matter. A written lesson plan can be an invaluable guide. A well-rounded home school curriculum should include lessons in a variety of subjects. Basic subjects like mathematics, science, and language arts are necessary elements of a home-school curriculum. History, social studies, geography, physical education/health, and music are also subjects that have been proven beneficial to students when included in a curriculum. Also keep in mind that home-schooled children do not attend public school sex education classes or classes that require a separation of church and state. Therefore, it is important for parents to give consideration to broaching topics like sex education, religion, and evolution. All of these subjects can then be approached in a variety of ways. Lessons can be taught through lectures, reading and other assignments, quizzes and tests, educational programs or videos, activities, and field trips to places like libraries and museums.

Children who are home-schooled are often taught in a much more isolated environment than those who attend public or even private schools. They do not learn about other students' lifestyles and opinions or interact with them on the playground or at lunch. Yet socialization is an important part of being a student. Socialization can be incorporated into home-school curriculums through the inclusion of group activities. Educational outings should be planned with the additional purpose of giving students opportunities to interact outside of their homes or classrooms. In addition, home-schooled students often enjoy participating in programs like 4-H or scouts. Group sports and volunteerism are also great ways to get home-schooled students interacting in the community.

A curriculum is a vital part of the learning process for any student. A home-school curriculum should allow students to advance at the same rate as other students their age while being tailored to their individual needs. Organization and the incorporation of a variety of subject matter and teaching methods into a curriculum will produce a well-rounded and capable student.

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