Thursday, September 18, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: 7 Questions Concerning Curriculum


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Joyice from Raising Boys Homeschool. She's sharing 7 Questions Concerning Curriculum.



Joyice is a born n’ raised Southern Belle; married to her college sweetheart and together they’re raising two handsome, rough and tough young men. She and her husband have a fierce, but loving, plan to raise up men God can use. In her “free” time, she enjoys all to do with Jesus, family, reading, writing, teaching, cooking, and shopping! 



7 Questions Concerning Curriculum
Curriculum is a hot topic amongst homeschoolers. Everyone wants to know what everyone is using and why. I'm no expert, but I've been homeschooling enough where I am settled in my choices and I feel I can offer a bit of advice to the "up-and-coming" homeschooling mom.In my experience, I've learned 7 questions worth asking when choosing curriculum for the year.
#1: What does God want me to teach?
I urge to ask the Lord about what He wants you to teach in your homeschool. If you have an open heart to the Lord leading you, He will. He has answered this prayer of mine of more than 1 occasion. I had to be still and wait. I learned how to not grow anxious and jump the gun and when I did it made all the difference. Be honest with yourself. Have you really been trusting God in your homeschoool?
#2: Is it Christ-centered? 
As a Christian, I want to make sure that we honor and learn the teachings and truths of our faith. I also want to give my sons a Biblical worldview so they do not become deceived by this world. Just because the curriculum is advertised as “Christian” is not enough to impress me; though it is enough to interest me. But if I plan on spending money, I need more than interest. Do not be afraid to ask your potential provider if they can explain to you how their curriculum uphold Christ.
  #3: Can I Teach It?
I have found styles and methods I simply adored. Seriously, I in the midst of reading a blog or pinning an image that is sure to offer methods I can use, I screamed, “I want that for my boys!” I have ignorantly and embarrassingly been led by this one feeling in deciding on a method (believing I had to) and choosing curriculum. Silly me, total rookie move! I could never get somethings to work despite how badly I wanted it to. Consider your teaching style when choosing curriculum. Just because it looks good online does mean it fit well with how you naturally teach.
#4: Will it deliver?
At the end of the day the curriculum has to do what it says it will do AND it has to help meet your goals. Decide what goals you have for your children. Cross reference what yo have against the scope and sequence and see if you have a match. Share a few of your goals with you potential provider. They can help decide if it will be a good fit or not. 
#5: Will my children enjoy it?
Notice I used the word enjoy, and not fun. I do not think that learning should always be fun. Honestly, who loves studying every single thing about every single subject? I don’t and neither do my sons, but sometimes it’s necessary. I love English, but if I have to read Brit Lit I’d just scream! There came a point where I needed it for my degree. It was not fun for me, but I found ways to make it (somewhat) enjoyable and that’s what I want to teach my sons. I don’t want to create a culture of just “fun” that will come back to bite me—or them. Sometimes you have to study a topic that you don’t want to. My son will tell you, while he is in love with math, he’d rather not solve 3 digit subtraction problems; but he has to anyway. And he understands that.
I also do not believe my boys should have full control of their education and curriculum choices, but I realize this is their education, not mine. I also believe that people, even children, tend to care about things they have a “say” in. Involve you kids if you can. They are kids, so they don’t know what’s best for them. But they can tell you a little about what they want to learn. Listen.
#6 Will it work long-term?
I desire long-term use. I do not want to have to research, ask questions, and pray I am making the right decision every single year. I want to get something that I know will work so we can establish a relationship with the providers, rely on the curriculum’s format (teaching and learning is so much better with this), and avoid the time and energy of constantly searching for something else. Sometimes, providers only cater to elementary or high schoolers and that’s fine; but I don’t want to hop around each year. If something works for my family, I want to stay. Just because you only see 2 volumes available does not mean that's it. Often times authors are writing. Do the math and see how long and what grade/year would be your child's last year in that program. Ask them if that is the end or are their more books or programs coming. 
#7: Can I afford it?
While you may be in love with the latest and greatest $500 curriculum, it may be out of the budget. The budget is different for every family. So the main issue here is just to be sure it is a financial for your family as well.
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