What do I consider when selecting home school curriculums?
When deciding which home school curriculum to select, there are a number of factors to consider. Parents need to make informed decisions based on their family values, educational philosophies, and the child's individual learning style. With the wide variety of choices available, finding the right curriculum for each family will be a matter of trial and error. There are three basic methods of home schooling, all of which will affect one's decision about the type of curriculum they would like to use.
Unschooling, or child-directed learning, is based on the family's lifestyle of learning. There may be little or no curriculum used, but there should be plenty of literature, crafts, science materials and the like available for the child's use. The books and materials used will depend on the child's current interests.
On the other end of the home schooling spectrum are the traditional school-at-home home schoolers. Those who choose this method prefer the organization of traditional schools, and may choose one of the many available pre-packaged curricula. The benefits of already-made curricula are that parents are not left with the responsibility of lesson planning, and they can gauge their child's progress using the tests that are usually included. Often, these programs include on-line courses in which the child emails their work to the company who grades and returns it for the parent. The down side to utilizing these programs is that they can be quite costly, although not as much as private school.
Most home schooling families fall somewhere in the middle of the continuum, using some books, some curriculum, and also real-life learning experiences to teach the children. Curriculum is not necessarily pre-packaged, and many families use materials from several different sources.
Parents have the freedom to teach their children subjects like science and history from a biblical viewpoint, while using whatever curriculum fits their child's learning style best for subjects like handwriting, language, and math. Home schooling parents should borrow as many materials as they can, obtain references from other home schoolers, and test the curriculum on their children before making a commitment to stay with one particular program.
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