Finding Curriculum That Fits Your Family

Ronald E. Johnson, founder/CEO of Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum, has written an excellent overview of different types of homeschool methods and curriculum. You may want to share it with your friends who are just beginning or considering homeschooling.


By Ronald E. Johnson, C.Ph.D.

Parents currently have access to wonderful curriculum options. However, selecting the perfect curriculum for your family requires careful consideration of multiple factions. Here are some practical tips that will help you save money and prevent frustrations on you and your child.

1. First, decide how you want to conduct your home school.

            Virtual schools (via the Internet)

            Packaged programs (books in a box) from specialty vendors

            Eclectic (parents pick-and-choose books from various suppliers)

            Lock-step by grade levels using hardback books or software

            Guided individualized learning using hardback/soft cover textbooks or software

2. Second, decide which instructional material you prefer.

            Secular textbooks/software (used in public and private secular schools)

            Religious textbooks/software (used in church schools)

            Virtue-based books (used in religious and secular institutions)

3. Third, decide how you want to conduct your home school program (the system you will use)

            Hire the services of a private organization to order your materials and keep records.

            Work with a home school support group regarding procurement and records

            Set up your own program in which you order materials, keep records, provide transcripts

4. Fourth, evaluate advantages and disadvantages of options available to you.

            Most parents talk with friends who home educate then start with the program recommended by friends. That may or may not be good because their children, personalities, finances, and spouse support may not be a good fit for your family.

            Here are some considerations:

            Do you feel confident and capable of preparing and teaching daily lessons in all subjects for all grade levels of your children? If not, select individualized material.

            Do you want to use the Internet? If so, then your child will need a computer.

            Do you want to use programmed curriculum that does not require you to plan or teach each lesson? If so, you may use the computer and/or individualized books.

            Do you plan to provide hands-on instruction for each child each morning and/or afternoon?

            Do you want/need guidelines for a daily system for providing oversight of your    children? If so, you must be prepared to pay for services that are either on a one-time basis or on-going?

            Do you want/need to belong to a local home school support group that provides assistance with book procurement, tutorials, field trips, graduation ceremonies, report cards, and transcripts? If so, check the Internet for “Home School Support Group.” These are usually listed under city, county, or state classifications.

            Do you want an eclectic approach in which you provide oversight while your children read specific books, participate in field trips, engage in tutorials, take lessons from others (art, music, athletic training, etc.)? If so, be prepared to make adjustments for inefficiency, lack of self-discipline, “I’m bored,” and/or “I don’t feel like doing anything.” This approach is sometimes beneficial for specific periods of a child’s development, but if it is the primary system, it often results in students not being prepared for the rigors of college studies; nor does it allow the student to transfer course credits to public or private schools if home education is no longer an option.

[Read the rest of the post at Doc’s Blog.]

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