There are so many options, so many curriculums, so many good things! How do you decide?
It can be tricky to decide what to cover and with what company and with what add-ons. But I would like to suggest to you a way to start your decisions on tricky subjects. It is not the process, not even close, but it is a start and it will reap great benefits in your home and your children’s lives. I promise.
So what is the key?
Yep, that simple. Have a conversation. Start it simply – What do you want to learn about? What is of interest to you? Do you have any ideas about what you want to do?
No time frame, no curriculum boundaries, just simply finding out what each student is interested in.
When we began these discussion with each of our girls, it was somewhat eye opening. Miss J wanted to learn more about birds. She also enjoyed cutting things out and gluing them into notebooks, simple lapbook style. She also talked about wanting to read the American Girl books. So guess what? This directed us to think about how we could accommodate her interests and we came up with a few wonderful ideas.
Miss J’s personalized curriculum?
- Birds study – This is a study that I was able to create from notebooking pages I had and handwriting quotes I found. I also included some bird coloring pages I found. I will share a post soon with more specific information about this book she created. Doing about 3 a week, it was a semester long unit.
- Grammar Interactive Notebook – Again, this was created just for her. I found a number of resources that fit what she needed to work on or review for her grade level. I printed those on various colored pages and she created her own grammar notebook. I plan to share this soon, as well, since she has recently finished it. Again, this took about a semester.
- History with American Girls – World War II is her favorite time period right now and she has read a number of books on the time. But with her comment about American Girl, we zoomed in on Molly. We are using a lapbooking set that I had found and saved several years ago, specific to Molly. We are also going to be making a few things that are mentioned in the Molly books. She is finishing up the reading right now and then we will have another conversation where she will share what she read about that she wants to make. I am certain food will be part of that discussion!
What did we find out in the discussion with Miss L? That she was really interested in civilizations that vanished. She was enjoying a couple of books that we had to review. She wanted to not be focused on writing all the time and she didn’t like her math. Well, the math was one we are not changing because we are seeing the need to just push forward with what we have been using (Horizons). The others, though? That we could accommodate.
- Lost Civilizations – We determined a set of questions about each civilization that she needed to answer. They did not have to be written out but they did need to be answered so that I knew she had retained information from her research. We checked out books on one civilization at a time and she would read, write notecards, and draw pictures. She then decided she wanted to create a notebook of just the Lost Civilizations so she started one with all of the information from her previous notecards in a composition notebook. She spent time on some interactive websites and created something physical for some of the groups. She is still working through this study.
- Girls In Science – This is the series of books that we got two of for study originally. We received architecture and meteorology. We found astronomy a few weeks later. Each book not only covers a ton of information on the branch of science but it also includes three biographies of women who are using this type of science in three different ways. She has been making notecards of information in the books as she reads and at the end of each book, she compiled that into a notebooking page that she put in a binder she keeps.
And for Miss E? Well, she pretty well had most of her subjects as a continuation of the previous year when we had this conversation (one of the year-round home school benefits and disadvantages – you have to adapt your time frame to what is needed!). But she gave good input on things and we knew what to change and what to continue, as well as allowing her to determine her own science.
- We found that she loved the hands-on aspects of the Ancient Greece program she was using. She finished that out.
- Since she loved the Ancient Greece so much, she will be able to continue learning about that at her own pace by using SchoolhouseTeachers.com and the Drive Thru History courses.
- She also wanted to learn about chemistry this year, not the lab part of it but what it was. So, we went looking for options. We found a few a let her choose. She chose Friendly Chemistry, which we access through SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This is a video course that we are able to print off the textbook for. She also gets worksheet practice on electron notation and the like. There are printable tests and the course will count toward her high school credits.
- One thing we hear each time we continue the conversation is “sign language.” She is taking her third year of instruction in sign language and loving it. This is a pretty intense course with a teacher from our congregation who really pushes her to do well. She is in the class with her best friend, which is a good incentive to work even harder. This is a point where hearing what she wants helps us to keep on track with her interests.
So, as we move forward, we have these conversations. Over and over. These discussions allow us to make decisions for the girls that not only get their basics covered but do it in a way that they find interesting. One of the reasons we are continuing geography with a 3rd grader is that she loves it. It is the first program she wants to do each day. So, Let’s Go Geography is on her schedule and she is thrilled. These are the things that make education fit the child, rather than fitting the child to the education.
I encourage you to do what you can to tailor your child’s education based on their interests. This doesn’t mean you skip the important stuff. There is plenty that is dictated to them because they don’t have a preference so they do what we require. But, when we can choose something that is of particular interest? We do. Because the girls really respond to the options.
This post is part of the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair, hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will update this part of the post with the listing of all the others who are posting on the topic of their method of homeschooling.
Looking for more curriculum ideas? Visit my fellow homeschool bloggers!
Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 22nd.
Our Homeschool Plan for 3rd, 6th, 8th, & 12th Grades by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Our 10th Grade Plans by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Planning Out Our Unschooling Studies by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
The Details of Curriculum by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Reflections of a Curriculum Junkie by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Freedom through nature journaling. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
How I pull together a homeschool curriculum without packaged curriculum by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
Our Favorite Curriculum and Resources – An Annotated Bibliography by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
Our 2018 Homeschool Curriculum Choices by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Top Home Educating Resources by Sarah @ DeliveringGrace
Homeschooling Curriculum We Are Using This Year by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Use the Force and Complete the Course by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Choices, choices – how to choose your curriculum wisely by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home
Our Curriculum Needs – grade seven by Annette @ A Net in Time
The Heart of Our School by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
What We Have Loved Using – Virtual Homeschool Fair -Week 3 by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
How to Avoid Gaps in Education by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
Tricky Subjects and Starting the Decision Making Process by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
High School Syllabus by TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy @ GoldenGrasses
How We Homeschool Together (Our Curriculum Choices for Preschool, First, and Tenth Grade) by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine