Links to the rest of the series: 5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool
Day 1: What Should I Teach?
We have been homeschooling as a family for going on seven years now. Every year has been different. Every year we have used different materials and I really feel that there has been no continutiy from year to year. We have been hopping from one shiny curriculum to the next.
But . . .
God has been teaching me a lot. I shared about all the things He has been teaching me in a guest post on Mom’s Mustard Seeds, Letting God Rule Your Curriculum.
You don’t need a shiny new pre-packaged curriculum every year to have a great homeschooling adventure. One of our favorite years was the year we studied Native North Americans and we pieced it together from a variety of sources. The kids loved it and we all still talk about it.
A Bit About Us
Elisha spent kindergarten at a local public school and I hung out at home with Moses (4) and Malachi (2), and the twins (Zion and Hosanna) would arrive about 3 years later.
Elisha had the most amazing kindergarten teacher who fell in love with him. In that first year of his public school life, we discovered that Elisha had ADHD and Autism/Aspergers. The decision to put Elisha in public school for that one year, was a very hard one. There were some life circumstances beyond my control and it was the very best thing for our family at the time.
I had always wanted to homeschool. We had even done some preschool at home. When we officially made the decision to come home to school, I had this “school” mentality stuck in my head. Even though I wanted so much more for our learning time at home, it was hard to truly trust my instincts (the nudging of the Holy Spirit). Trust your instincts.
Getting Ready For This Year
My hubby graciously brought a ton of boxes up from the basement for me to go through, this weekend, so that I could start purging six years worth of homeschool materials BEFORE I place my orders for this year.
The thrift store pile was pretty decent and my mom was gracious enough to drop it off this afternoon. I wish I could say the keep pile was smaller, but it’s not. I was able to create several empty boxes by merging materials together, thus giving the illusion that I was purging more than I really was. This was not intentional, but a nice result. We love our books.
This is just part of the keep pile, but in my own defence, we have five kids. It is my hope to move most of these books into my homeschool cupboards, so that they are more easily accessible. If something is not in front of my face, I tend to forget it exists. I am very visual.
I had some books that I was looking for and could not find them when my husband informed me that we still have more boxes to go through in the basement. Yippee, more books. (rolls eyes)
So, how do you decide what to teach?
Do you blog surf and read excellent reviews and think that everything is a perfect fit for your family? It’s okay. I have done that. There are so many things to think about when you are deciding what to teach your family. If you need some help getting started, I have gathered a list of important resources for you to start with. After you take some time to pray, of course.
Topical Course Of Study
The Topical Course Of Study from World Book is an amazing place to start. They have a list for each level from Pre K to Grade 12. The lists are very logical and concrete, which works well for my brain, but also leaves room for personal interpretation.
Home Learning Year By Year
The cover says, “How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum. What Your Child Needs to Know from Preschool to High School.” This book covers what to teach, how to teach it, and what resources to use. It is a fully loaded resource.
Design A Study
These books are very useful in helping you to plan a course of study for your children. I have owned various versions of these books over the years, but I am hoping to replenish them with the most recent versions when I place my orders for this coming year.
Core Knowledge has a series called, “What your ____ grader needs to know.” You can find most of the series available on Amazon. It is worth looking into.
Prescribed Learning Outcomes For British Columbia (or PLO’s)
The PLO’s for BC can be found on the BC Government’s website, Curriculum Packages by Grade. If you live in BC and participate in a DL school, you will need to be somewhat familiar with these. Everyone else can browse at their own leisure or disregard.
I did a quick search for a set of resources that would tell what the state standards were, but I came up empty. If anyone has a resource for this, please let me know.
Thinking More On The Subject
This article about What To Teach Your Children has some more food for thought, including how to write a mission statement for your family.
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Disclosure: None of the links in this post are affiliate links. They probably should be, but they aren’t yet. I just love sharing excellent resources.