As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been teaching my children at home since 2000. When we first started out, we were working with a satellite school and my only task as a teacher was to make sure the assigned work was understood and completed. But once I started putting my own curriculum and lesson plans together, I needed to get a little bit more creative.
When choosing curriculum, I consider a lot of things. I finally narrowed it down to three main points of interest. I’ll share what works for our home-school situation. I can’t guarantee my method will work for you but if it does, I’d be happy.
Watch your students. What things interest them? How do they learn best? What kinds of things challenge them? When you can answer these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what curriculum will work best for your student.
Interest-based learning is pretty amazing. I wish I’d known about it years ago. For our oldest, it really would have encouraged a love of learning. Our girls are benefiting from this now, though, and I see them actively researching things that interest them on their own. I do what I can to incorporate their interests into the curriculum choices. Our oldest daughter loves languages. I try to include some kind of foreign language lessons each year to encourage her to keep studying those. Our youngest daughter is interested in mechanics and how things work. I’m not much good at teaching that, so her brother lets her help him with minor car repairs and such. She’s learning in a hands-on way and it’ll stick with her. Which brings me to the second point.
How do your students learn best? Are they kinesthetic learners? Do they enjoy learning with clay, dominoes, or legos? Maybe your student is an auditory learner. Do songs and stories seem to help them retain the lesson? Perhaps your student is a visual learner. Do they like to read stories and instructions on their own? Does this help the lesson stay with them longer? Once you figure this out, you can add another dimension to choosing your curriculum. Here are a couple of articles for those who’d like to read a little more about this.
- What Is Your Child’s Learning Style? – from http://www.schoolfamily.com gives an easy to understand explanation of the topic.
- Learning Styles of Children – Learning Styles of Children – from http://www.education.com gives a more in-depth view into the topic.
Humans Need Challenges
Without challenges, life gets boring. And so does the home school setting. The trick is to find the point where your student is challenged, not pressured and stressed. Anyone who works in a stressful environment knows the detrimental effect it has on the mind and body. But if you do find the right balance, your student will gain a sense of self-respect and empowerment like no other. It stirs my soul to hear my girls say, “I got it!” with huge grins on their faces.
A Free Downloadable Poster
I created this nifty blog graphic in Canva. (It’s my first attempt! If you haven’t tried it, you might like to visit the site.) By narrowing down my keywords to three, I left plenty of room for options in our choice of curriculum. Using targeted questions that need only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer helps speed me along during school shopping, too. So here’s the poster and I hope you like it! What kinds of methods do you find helpful when choosing curriculum? Feel free to leave a comment below.
2 Peter 1:5-7 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
5 For this very reason, try your hardest to furnish your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.