Next week I’ll be sharing some Back to Homeschool tips that help get my kids off to a great year at home. For my non-homeschooling readers, some of these ideas will work for public school too, so check back next week! This Thursday, I’ll be sharing with you my homeschool curriculum for the 2010-2011 school year. I have done this in years past and it seems to be a reader favorite.
As I have been preparing my curriculum over the last few weeks I have had some things on my heart regarding my homeschool curriculum post that I wanted to share with you, my readers and friends.
This is the curriculum that works best for my family.
Every child is different and every family is different. There is no one perfect way to homeschool your kids. Feel free to get ideas from my list and email me about my choices, but don’t feel like what is best for our family is the only way.
I’m all about eclectic learning.
Classical, Charlotte Mason, Principle, Unschooling, Montessori, Unit Studies, Textbooks, Lapbooks, Workbooks, Workboxes, Co-ops, Online Classes…. I embrace it all. I like a little bit of everything, so we do a little of everything. I don’t follow a particular method for every subject. If it works for our family we use it, labels are for public schools.
I have a large homeschool budget (and a large family).
My homeschool budget is around $2500 for six school aged kids. My most expensive student this year is my 11th grader. I spent about $800 on her curriculum, that is outrageous- but I know it will last through several kids. I realize many families do not have such a large budget for their curriculum. I feel fortunate that I am able to purchase things for my children this school year that I would not have been able to purchase five years ago. You can homeschool for less, I still use all of the tips I wrote about in that post, and even though this year I will spend close to the $2500 budget, next year I will not spend nearly as much.
There will be gaps.
Just as there are gaps in education for public and private schooled children, there will be gaps for homeschooled kids as well. There are many awesome choices out there for homeschoolers but you can’t do it all. The quicker you learn this the better off you will be as a homeschool teacher and mom.
I don’t do grade levels.
In our homeschool, we work at things until they truly “get it,” not pass a silly multiple choice test or finish the book. If it takes two months or two years it doesn’t matter to me. One of my children could not read well until they were almost 11. Does that mean they needed to stay in the first grade until they are wearing deodorant? Of course not! They moved ahead in some subjects and we continued to work on reading until it clicked.
I don’t do tests until they are at least 10.
Since all my children are one of one in their class I don’t see the point. Tests and grades are used to measure yourself against others. If you get a C- on the test and that just happens to be the highest score in the class, that is a pretty good score. If the teacher is grading on a curve you will end up with an A, but did you truly know the material? I check work for completion, effort, and competency. If I notice that a child continually struggles with a certain skill we go back and review it. The only reason I give tests at all is because that is what society uses to measure knowledge and I need to prepare my students for the life outside of our home.
It’s really all about character, isn’t it?
Sometimes, most of the time, I believe this. But a really great person who can’t read or balance a checkbook is going to have some problems in life. It is my hope to raise hard working, smart kids who are of strong character. I have seen many families focus way to hard on one or the other. I think you need to find a balance.
Different strokes for different folks.
We have never built a life-sized replica of the Mayflower, slept outside for a week surviving only on roots and berries, traveled the United States in an RV getting real life lessons in geography, or memorized an entire book of the bible. It is really hard not to compare yourself to other homeschoolers, especially in this day and age where message boards, blogs, and Facebook allow homeschoolers around the world to connect with each other. Just because the homeschooling family down the street has all eight of their kids in violin lessons and play concerts around town doesn’t mean they are giving their kids a better homeschool experience. Do what works best for your family!
Learning and living go hand and hand.
I often time think we, as homeschoolers, spend way too much time using curriculum when our children our little. I truly believe you don’t need to purchase a thing for your younger students. Children learn best by doing and they can learn so much from you! Read books, play games, cook, clean, take walks, live life!
Bottom line: One of the best things about homeschooling is that it isn’t a one size fits all approach!
Isn’t that the reason many of us started homeschooling to begin with?
- Perhaps we wanted our children’s education to have a religious foundation
- A child with learning disabilities is able to avoid labels and can thrive in loving home environment
- Homeschooling affords a child who excels at gymnastics, tennis, or other activities the flexibility to develop that ability
- Maybe dad travels frequently and homeschooling allows the whole family to travel together
As we begin another school year, my encouragement would be to spend some time contemplating what works best for your family. Try and sift through all the outside noise and focus on your children’s abilities and giftings. Just because everyone else is using a specific curriculum doesn’t mean you have to do it too. Isn’t that one of the biggest lessons we try to teach our children in life? Sometimes as parents we need a gentle reminder that the same principle applies to us too.