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


April 24, 2009

Meet Me At The Corner & Robert Sabuda Pop Up Books: A Review

Filed under: Literature, Written by Kari — snailstrail @ 3:17 am

We got an amazing pop-up book for Christmas from Big Sister Snail (we are known as the snail family at The Snail’s Trail). who is in college. It is called The Chronicles of Narnia Pop Up Book by Robert Sabuda. It is absolutely the best pop-up book I have ever seen. It is so amazing that it stays high up on a shelf and can only be read with Mommy or Daddy Snail. It has become very special to us. Just look at the amazing detail and how big some of the pop-ups are:

Little Snail loves the ship in the book.
The pop ups are giant and very detailed. We have spent hours just oohing and ahhing over them.
Just look at that giant lion! He just leaps off the page!

I was very happy when my friend, Donna Guthrie, told me that there is an interview with Robert Sabuda on her website, Meet Me At The Corner. Check it out (just click here).

The host of this virtual field trip is a little girl. She does an excellent job at interviewing Robert and showing kids how he makes his pop-up books. Our favorite part of this virtual field trip is learning how to make a pop-up card. It has really inspired us! After we watched the virtual field trip, we visited Meet Me At The Corner’s Learning Corner to extend our learning on pop-up books and Robert Sabuda. The site even directed us to Robert Sabuda’s website with directions on how to make more pop-ups (Aslan the lion is on page 2).

We have completely fallen in love with Meet Me At The Corner. This website needs to be added to every homeschoolers list of favorite, most useful, websites.

Meet Me At The Corner, Virtual Field Trips for Kids, is more than just a collection of videos for kids to watch. It is a dynamic, interactive site that allows kids to submit their own individually created videos! Meet Me At The Corner is becoming a community where children can be creative and expressive. As a homeschooling mom, I know that to get my kids to really learn something, I have to make it interactive, hands on, and fun. But most importantly, if I want my kids to really learn something, they have to produce something. With Meet Me At the Corner, The Snails can write, direct, and produce their own educational movies about what they are learning. They even get to use the old video camera! It has really been amazing to see their storytelling come alive. I especially like that the kids can use this as a medium to re-enact the stories that we read and recap the units we have been learning. Of course our videos aren’t near ready to upload to Meet Me At The Corner, but they will be when The Snails get a little older.

The virtual field trips that we “just have to watch over and over again” are:

Meet Me At The Corner makes planning your units, themes, or projects easy because with each video you can get recommended books, websites, activities, downloadable files, and lessons to extend your learning.

I am so happy that my friend, Donna, has created such an amazing resource for kids. Please, visit Meet Me At The Corner for your next field trip. I hope that it inspires the storyteller that is in your child!

Written by Kari

The Curriculum Choice

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