Monday, February 1, 2010

How on Earth do You Know What to Teach?

This post has been written as part of TOS Blog Cruise, a new venture that the TOS Homeschool Crew has set sail on. Each week, TOS Homeschool Crew members will be given a topic to blog about and you will have access to their replies each Tuesday as part of a blog carnival hosted both on The Homeschool Crew blog and on the TOS Homeschool Crew Fan Page on Facebook.

Even more than the ever dreaded "what about socialization?" question I get the "how do you know what to teach?" question. People ask me ALL THE TIME if the government provides me with the textbooks/workbooks to teach my children at home. Ha, yeah right! Considering that the main reason I have chosen to home school is for academic reasons it is highly, HIGHLY unlikely that even if the school board wanted to provide me with a complete curriculum I would refuse it (or maybe, if it was FREE, accept it, look it over and toss it on a bookshelf-I have a hard time refusing free books *lol*). People look at me aghast when I tell them that I am the one that decides what I should teach my children and THAT, my friends, is the one of the best reasons to home school, in my opinion! My children are bogged down with material that they are not interested in, or ready for, or bored of, because I get to custom build their curriculum myself.

So, how do I decide what to teach my children? I'll let you in on a little secret, for the most part, I DON'T. I do start the year knowing what areas are important to me. I want my children to love books so I know that the majority of my home school curriculum will revolve around quality literature. If Liam is reading a book set in the medieval period and shows an interest in knights and castles then our history will revolve around that period of time. We'll read other books set at that time, we'll research it at the library, we'll cook foods common in that era, we'll look at art from that period, our geography will focus on the areas that we've seen in our research of that period. Even science can revolve around good literature. When we read Charlotte's Web we learned about spiders. When we read Owls in the Family we learned about owls. I feel that children need a strong foundation in mathematics so I do choose math program at the beginning of the year (with very little concern about what they should know (according to the government) by the end of the year). I have no worries. They will find themselves were they need to be and beyond. I want my children to receive some kind of religious/moral instruction so I do have an action plan in place for studying in these areas but, beyond these basic plans, I am very open to going wherever the wind takes us. I don't particularly worry about what the government of Nova Scotia wants my children to know. They don't get to dictate how I run MY home school.

I also have no fears about changing things around if I see that our plans just aren't working. In general, when things start going downhill (bad attitudes, lack of motivation, things just "not clicking"), I take some time to meditate on what I really want my children to learn in that particular area. Most of the time I see that my children are learning what they really need to know as part of their daily living and if not, then the vast majority of the time an idea will come to me in the middle of the night that I will work on implementing in my homeschool. Most times, these ideas feel like divine intervention and things just happen to have a way of falling into place in the end. My children are still young and are eager to learn so it is my role to facilitate that process without making it TOO MUCH of a chore *lol*.

I am happy to let them take the reins and direct us where to go!

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