The Curriculum Choice

May 13, 2009

What Kind of Homeschooler Are You? Tips for Defining Yourself

Filed under: Curriculum choices, Homeschool philosophies, Uncategorized, Written by Kari — snailstrail @ 8:23 am

Homeschoolers are in a world of their own. To outsiders, all homeschoolers are the same…weird. But inside the world of homeschooling, you quickly become defined by your method of teaching. When you meet another homeschooler, some of the first questions asked are, “What curriculum do you use?” and “What kind of homeschooler are you?” To new homeschoolers, this can be completely overwhelming and finding your options can literally drown you in information. I know that there are a lot of moms that are just like me.

I began researching homeschooling, and how to do it, while I was pregnant with my first child. I was still teaching in a public school at the time, but I knew one day that I would have the blessing of homeschooling my kids. I am a first generation homeschooler so I had no idea that there are actual methods and theories about teaching your kids at home. I also didn’t know that there are curriculum just for homeschoolers. Almost 5 years later, I am still trying to define what kind of homeschooler I am.

Before you google your eyes out, turn off your computer and sit down and write out everything you believe about education. This is your mission statement; it will become your foundation for all of the choices you will have to make. In my mission statement, I included how I believe my children learn. I also included how I think that learning is assessed. Brenda has written a great article that can help you as you write your mission statement .

After you have your mission statement, and you feel you need to put a label on what kind of homeschooler you are, find the methods/theories that best suit you based on your mission statement. Research the homeschooling methods out there and find one that matches your core beliefs. If there are several that match you, you might be Eclectic. As you make a list, write down what you like and don’t like of each method. Here is a list of just some methods:

* Classical
* Unschooling
* Charlotte Mason
* Ruth Beechick
* Traditional
* Eclectic
* Unit Studies
* Notebooking
* Lapbooking
* Religion or Faith Based
* Virtual Schooling or Hybrid Schooling or Distance Learning
* Deschooling
* Umbrellas (your child learns under an organization, a public school, or private company)
* Montessori
* Enki
* Waldorf
*Reggio Emilia
* Delayed: The Moore Method
* Accelerated
* Principle Approach
* Thomas Jefferson
* Relaxed
* Delight Directed
* Child-Led
* Research Based
* Radical unschooling

Now that you know how you will teach your child, you have to find the tools to do this. There are so many curriculum choices on the market that there are conventions just so that homeschoolers can check them out. There are three main ways to find your curriculum. First there is the boxed curriculum. This is curriculum that covers every subject area for the entire year. Everything is mapped out for you, may even be scripted, and often comes with all the materials your child will need. Your second option is to pick and choose specific items from a boxed curriculum. You might just want to buy the math materials or the reading books. Another option is to create your curriculum from free online resources, or resources from the library. You also have the freedom to design your own curriculum.

There are three steps to developing your identity as a homeschooler. First, write your mission statement. After you have this ingrained into your heart, find a method that fits your beliefs. And finally, find curriculum that matches your foundational beliefs and method. The great thing about homeschooling is that you have the freedom to teach however you want to teach. And you can change your methods and curriculum whenever you want. Even if it is in the middle of the school year. If it isn’t working…move onto something new. One thing that can give you a concrete foundation is your core beliefs in how you believe your children learn best. In homeschooling, it doesn’t matter what kind of homeschooler you are. It doesn’t matter what curriculum you use. Because, as a homeschooler, you are doing what is best for your child.

Written by Kari Wilcher

The Curriculum Choice

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April 17, 2009

Rod and Staff English

Filed under: classical, language arts, Uncategorized, Written by Korey — Korey @ 1:32 am

Rod and Staff English: Grades 3, 4, and 5

Grade 4 English

I am generally a devout Charlotte Mason homeschooler but I do wander off the path sometimes. When it comes to teaching grammar I tend to go the way of classical education. We have been using Rod and Staff English for 3 years now and it has been one of my tried and truly loved curriculums. We started using Rod and Staff when each of the children reached 3rd grade level.

Rod and Staff is a publisher that produces bible-based curriculum for christian schools and homeschoolers. They produce curriculum from preschool to high school levels. They provide full curriculum or you can purchase individual subjects. I have used their English and Math programs. For this review I will only go over their English curriculum.

In third grade the student will study sentence types and structure. There are different types of writing exercises throughout the book. Simple diagramming is taught at this level. There are five parts of speech taught: nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs. There are lessons that teach dictionary work, proofreading and communication skills. There are 125 lessons and 5 unit tests.In the fourth grade the student will learn seven parts of speech: nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. Diagramming is included in many of the lessons. There are lessons on capitalization, punctuation, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms. A typical lesson has an oral drill, a written practice and a review. Composition skills are taught with various types of writing lessons. There are 127 lessons and tests for each chapter.In fifth grade the student will learn all eight parts of speech. The student will learn many new grammar terms. Diagramming is continued to be taught but at a higher lever of skill. There are composition skills taught including outlining, writing a report, writing a friendly letter, poetry skills, and writing stories. There are 119 lessons and tests for each chapter.

 What are the pros? Rod and Staff is an excellent and thorough grammar program. It is above grade level in my opinion. It is easy to teach, an open and go type program. The teacher manuals are easy to use. There is plenty of diagramming practice. It is a strong grammar program. It has a classical approach to teaching grammar.

What are the cons? If you don’t like diagramming or don’t feel it is important, you may not like how much diagramming is taught in many of the lessons. It is above grade level. If you have a student who struggles in grammar you may consider going a grade level down. If you don’t want a program that has any religious content, you may not like the bible references that are throughout the book.

If you are interested in finding more information regarding Rod and Staff curriculum, please click on the link below.

http://rodandstaffbooks.com
Written by Korey
The Curriculum Choice

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