Sometimes we think that because we are working out our children’s curriculum that we need to understand everything that we need to teach them. Phooey to that! Creating your own Australian homeschool curriculum doesn’t mean working out all the lessons and chugging through the syllabus linking outcomes and crossing all the dots. Although you will need to understand the curriculum to some extent you can still use pre-made curriculum and it’s not cheating – it’s sensible! Much of what I have taught my children I have learnt along the way myself. The skills we need to learn are where to find information, how to tweak and how to slash.
The perfect homeschool curriculum doesn’t exists. You will find that some curriculums work better than others but as a whole nearly everything you buy will need a little tweaking. Although this may seem like too much work you do quickly get the hang of it.
What Are The Myths to Homeschool Curriculum Planning?
1. I need to know it all
I have used bought curriculums since I started homeschooling. However I must admit to never strictly following the resources as directed but I do find having a preset curriculum has been very helpful for me. The subjects that I have felt needed some structure are the ones where I have used set resources.
2. Always use textbooks or Never use textbooks
I’ve found that I have needed a math textbook. Up till 8th grade I can remember most of the material that my kids learn BUT I could never put it all together or remember what it is that they should learn when. Using a program is sensible for me. I’ve been a Singapore math fan for ages. We are also a Math Online family as well.
English is a subject I feel more confident in, however daily lesson planning is exhausting. So I find having a backbone curriculum works well for me. Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons combined with copywork and dictation has given us a solid foundation in the primary years.
3. You must teach everything you are told to
When you purchase a curriculum it’s ok to leave portions out if they re not relevant to your child or you feel you will cover (or have covered) it somewhere else.
A classic example of this is when you are using curriculum written for another audience. For example I know in Australia we can often feel that some of the resources offered don’t apply to us in Australia but here are a few tips to Australianising your curriculum:
- Swap books for Aussie books and poems. You can use our book lists for some ideas.
- Find the corresponding information in an Australian setting. Try our curriculum guides for some ideas.
- Remember to swap the seasons on the calendar
- Watch for American spelling and convert to British spelling
- Cut or reduce imperial measurements and use metric.
4.You must stick to the right grade (or higher)
It is OK to juggle with grades. In the US and Britain their school years start around late August so you will sometimes find that a sixth grade text may suit your seventh grader better than a seventh grade curriculum. If you’re group teaching some subjects (eg. history) your children you may want to follow a family schedule rather than teach according to the grade in a syllabus. It’s OK to do that. When you document your lesson planning have a plan for when you will cover particular topics. The board of studies say they are flexible with planning – but you do need a plan.
5. Conversations are not lessons
Many a time I’ve just talked about something I need to teach my children. For example my children have never done lessons on what does a fireman do – I just told them. I haven’t given them any worksheets on puberty – I just told them. A lesson on slang (which is in the syllabus) is simply me identifying slang words as they come up. When you get in the habit of teaching as you go you realise how much you really are imparting knowledge to your kids.
6. A Book isn’t good enough
80% of my children’s seat work education is book based. Books are a wonderful source of information and far more engaging than most textbooks. When you are hunting for curriculums look for books first – curriculum second. If you want a worksheet try to shift your thinking to notebooking as a way to record your learning.