The Types And Use Of Curriculum In Homeschooling

An overview of various types of curriculum used in homeschooling and how to determine which is best. Talks about various methods and styles used by homeschoolers.

A curriculum is a structured plan with a series of courses designed to help a student master subjects. This area is very confusing for parents, especially ones new to homeschooling. Curriculum run the range from the same materials used in schools to none at all. It can be as structured as you feel comfortable with. The flexibility of homeschooling allows parents to choose programs and change them regularly to find what works for their child. What works with one child one year may not work the next year, so do not let yourself get tunnel vision. Any book can used for learning.

There are multiple teaching styles and methods that are used by homeschooling families. A tradition method refers to a style that is like classroom study. Textbooks, workbooks and traditional teaching methods are employed, even down to blocks of time for each subject. Unit studies are based around a topic that interests the child. Lessons is multiple subjects are built around this topic using materials from books, crafts and other activities. The literature approach is similar to the unit study but uses real literature books to teach. The Charlotte Mason method is based on the literature approach.

Another approach that is becoming more popular is the classical education method. This style is an attempt to look back to the past, examine books that were used and what goals were important. It is broken into two parts, the Trivium and the Quadrivium. Trivium contains three areas of grammar, dialectic and rhetoric with each one geared for a certain age group. Mix and match of all the above methods plus others and you get eclectic homeschooling. Eclectic homeschooling is where most families end, picking and choosing what works for the family.

Talk with other homeschooling parents about the curriculum they are using. They have probably gone through several programs and can tell you what seemed to work and what they did not like about them. Check with the local groups to see if they have an annual sale or swap meet for materials. Curricular materials can be found inexpensively with a little work. Ask libraries and public schools when they dispose of older materials and if they are available for purchase. Materials can even be checked out from a library, which can be good if you are trying a program. Some areas have retail stores that carry curriculum.

Some parents want to use the curriculum from one company for all their children. This may not work if your kids have different learning styles. Be prepared to modify where necessary. You may find yourself using one subject from one company and other subjects from others to get the best fit for your child. Parents need to be honest with themselves. If they are not very organized then choose curriculum that can be done. Have your child evaluated if necessary, to determine whether they are a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner. This is important to make sure that the curriculum chosen will suit the child. If you are schooling a special needs child, be aware that even more flexibility may be needed.

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