Wednesday, April 15

Choosing the Right Curriculum for Your Family

Choosing the right curriculum for your family means first determining your family’s homeschooling style. Some families are strictly one style, while others prefer a blend of styles... 

Your family might try out one style and find that it’s not for you. It may take a few years to settle down into the right fit for your family, and that’s completely normal.

What style is best for your family?
When choosing a style (and there’s a good chance you’ll change as your children grow), consider these questions…

  • What’s your teaching style?
  • What are your goals?
  • How do your kids learn best?
  • What values do you want to instill in your children?
  • What’s your lifestyle? Do you prefer routine or flexibility?
Classical
This approach utilizes three stages of learning : grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. These stages match up with elementary, middle, and secondary school. This is a rigorous approach to schooling, but produces results. 

Charlotte Mason
Developed by a 19th century educator who believed in reading 'living books' rather than 'twaddle,' this approach involves living learning. It revolves around reading aloud together as a family, and following child interests. Nature walks, art museums, and living books are all a part of this approach. 

Unit Studies
This approach takes all of the subjects and smashes them together in an in-depth study of a topic. For example, a unit study of Rome might include reading and writing about Rome, studying the history of Roman emperors, calculating timelines and marketplace purchases, creating artwork and projects from Ancient Roman times, and studying water (from the aqueducts built during this era).  Units may be literature-based, and this is a great style for teaching multiple grades together.

Unschooling
Definitely for the Type B family, this is a child-centered approach to schooling. There are no formal lessons, or even formal curriculum, but the children follow their interests and learn from life experiences. Schedules are not utilized, and there is much flexibility and freedom. This does not mean that they don’t read, write, and do math, but that they follow their interests. Math might be adding up the tab at the restaurant, or figuring the tax.
  • Includes
    • Child-led learning
    • Lifeschooling
    • Roadschooling
    • Waking up and finding the beauty in each day

Waldorf
Similar to unschooling, this is a child-centered approach that focuses on nature, arts, crafts, music, and movement. Technology is not a big part of this curriculum.

Eclectic
This is just a fancy way of saying ‘a combination of styles.’ 
  • Includes
    • SchoolhouseTeachers
    • Just a little bit of everything!
    • Pick & choose from the smorgasboard of styles

Textbooks
This is a fairly common style in the first few years of homeschooling, especially if you've pulled your children out of public school, to build confidence.  Don't forget to do a bit of de-schooling before starting the semester! 

Stay-at-Home School
A lot of organizations don't consider this to be "real" homeschooling since it's being paid for and run by the government and someone else is doing all of the teaching.  For a small percentage of people, though, whether it be because of job commitments, life 'events,' or something else that is preventing them from being able to sit down and dedicate themselves fully to educating their children, this really is the best fit.  It's never my first recommendation, but still a valid option.
One of our favorite all-in-one resources for families is SchoolhouseTeachers.  It includes all classes, for all grades...and it's one price for the entire family.  There are many different learning styles to select from, so if you have one visual kid who needs a relaxed pace and one aural kid who needs a more stringent pace, there are classes that will fit them each.  With over 475 classes available, plus extras for mom and dad, this is my favorite resource to offer new families who are wanting to dip their toe into homeschooling but don't even have an idea of how to answer the above questions!

U.S. Homeschoolers!Try out SchoolhouseTeachers for only $5!  Spend the entire month poking around, trying out courses, and seeing iff it's a good fit for your family.  {Hint - we think it will be!}  For the cost of a cup of coffee...what have got to lose?!

2 comments:

  1. We love unit studies but we also lean Charlotte Mason. We are very eclectic, though!

    ReplyDelete