More Decisions – What Curriculum? Choices (Part 6)

Categories: Choices, Léo’s Insights 2022-2023

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We didn’t know better and there was very little available at the time.  Thirty-five years ago, there were but a few well established school curricula that could be used at home.  All were based on school ideology and methodology, even if coming from a “Christian” perspective.  Still, we determined to keep it as close to school programming as possible so our children would not be harmed by our decision to home educate them.

This was a mistaken understanding of home schooling, one that has survived with new home schoolers to this day.  We are all nervous about this new venture and this is normal.  While there may be some people who have researched and discovered best practices for escaping school processes, most people know very little outside of the status quo school system and therefore feel much more comfortable with home schooling than home educating or unschooling.  This is okay.

Here is the best solution for this “what-to-do”:

Do not attempt to fix everything right away.  Go easy.  Start with a program that helps transition from school in as easy a way as possible.  I suggest beginning with a prescribed program such as Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) or Christian Light Education (CLE) which come in all subjects with all that is needed to administer the program.  These programs are more mom-friendly and allow the parent-teacher to start getting to know their children – what works and what doesn’t.  Remember though, you are the boss and these programs do not have to be completed as prescribed, especially when it is discovered they don’t meet the needs of your child.  Most parents then transition from these programs to become more eclectic in their home education approach.

Programs such as ACE, CLE, A Beka, Bob Jones, Alpha-Omega and a host of other programs were designed to be delivered in a school and so will have to be adapted to work in a home education setting.  Although they may be tried and true programs that have served many families well for a very long time and modern versions may include digital lessons and helps, they were invented before the advent of the internet and digital technology which has provided many alternatives to classical home education programs such as these.  Still, it is best to start with something simple and easy and then transition to greater parental autonomy in programming once you have a foundation in place.

The main thing to remember about curriculum is that while it may be a useful guide, the parent remains the boss.  You may choose to do the entire year’s program with ACE or CLE or whatever, or you may choose to do only some subjects and experiment with other things for some subjects.  If the child is bored, get the next level.  If the child is frustrated get a lower level.

Keep in mind that curriculum is more for parents than children.  Children will learn no matter what is being used.  Many parents desire to follow some kind of program that provides some structure.  Moms who love telling dads how many pages were completed today will find prescribed programming a comfort.  Moms more excited about seeing children flourish in “the interest of the day” may find prescribed curricula to be stifling.

Curriculum is good and most of it does help provide some structure. The worst that can happen is you discover that it doesn’t work, at which time you should find something that does.  And don’t be afraid to get help from your facilitator.  They are there to help you with the “what’s” of home education.

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