Have you recently made the decision to home school? If so, you are probably asking the all-important question, ?What home school curriculum should I buy?? With so many home school curriculum choices on the market today, even the most knowledgeable Christian parent can easily become overwhelmed with choices ranging from classical to eclectic, or from print-based to computer-based. So where do you start? Consider these four foundational questions when picking your family?s home school curriculum:
Is the curriculum Bible-based?
When planning a child?s educational future, Christian home school parents need to remember that spiritual growth is just as important as academic growth. Many Christian home school curriculums only offer a sprinkling of Bible verses within subjects, rather than a solid biblical education. Don?t be caught off guard. Choose a Bible-based home school curriculum with content that thoroughly trains your child?s heart and mind with God?s Word.
Does the curriculum meet your state?s requirements?
Since standardized home schooling laws do not exist for all 50 states, home school parents need a working knowledge of their particular state?s laws. What subjects are required? What are the number of calendar days or teaching hours required in math, science, grammar and spelling, history, art, and other subjects per year? Are any teacher qualifications mandated? What, if any, paperwork is involved and required to be filed with the Department of Education? Are annual standardized assessment tests required? Make sure to find your state?s most recent regulations to address these issues and more.
Does the curriculum fit your child?s learning style?
The way your child learns is an important consideration when choosing a home school curriculum. Each child has a unique learning style, whether it?s visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. With a curriculum that meets your child?s learning style, not only will your child be more motivated to learn, but he?ll also have more fun and remember more of his academic studies. To help determine your child?s primary learning style, observe your child and answer key questions such as the following:
When explaining a new idea or skill, your child learns best when?
Visual ? seeing or watching the idea or skill demonstrated
Auditory ? receiving verbal instructions about the idea or skill
Kinesthetic ? performing the idea or skill and being directly involved
When spelling words, your child often?
Visual ? recognizes the words by sight
Auditory ? spells the words aloud or sounds out the word
Kinesthetic ? fusses when reading and is often a poor speller
When solving problems, your child?
Visual ? plans ahead of time, organizes by writing, and makes lists
Auditory ? verbalizes the problem and talks out solutions
Kinesthetic ? attacks the problem physically and can be impulsive
When your child has periods of inactivity, he responds by?
Visual ? doodling, staring, or finding something to read or watch
Auditory ? talking to others, singing, or humming
Kinesthetic ? fidgeting or finding something to play with
When introduced to new situations, your child responds by?
Visual ? looking around and watching people or events
Auditory ? asking questions or talking about what?s happening
Kinesthetic ? touching or feeling, manipulating, or trying things out
Note: Younger children usually fall into the kinesthetic category due to their learning maturity level. However, once formal learning begins, it will be easier to determine their true learning style.
Does the curriculum fit your teaching style?
Just as each child has his own style of learning, each home school parent has his own preferred style of teaching. Finding a home school curriculum that matches your needs, as well as your child?s, is the secret to preventing home school burnout. Some questions you might consider when choosing a home school curriculum you?ll enjoy teaching include the following:
? Do you like teaching by the book with step-by-step teacher guides, or do you enjoy the freedom of adapting lesson assignments and preparing your own lesson plans?
? Do you prefer to be directly involved in the learning process, or do you enjoy being a facilitator and guiding a self-directed learner?
? Do you enjoy the structure of teaching with predetermined goals, or do you feel your child?s natural curiosity and life?s experiences are the keys to learning?
Simply stated, choosing the right home school curriculum for your family doesn?t have to be a frustrating decision. Remembering these simple questions will help you explore and enjoy the freedom you have in picking the perfect curriculum that makes your home schooling a true success.