Friday, June 15, 2012

Creating Original Curriculum

One of the biggest advantages to homeschooling is that we know our children best.  However that can also be a challenge as it can get hard to buy a curriculum that fits.  Designing your own will certainly meet your needs but can be time consuming.  To increase your chances of success, keep these guidelines in mind.

1. Determine your goals - What exactly do you want your child to learn?  Answering with social studies is too broad and needs to get broken down.  Perhaps it's Charles Darwin and his voyage on the Beagle.  You could look at pictures of finch beaks and then create your own evolutionary tree with a bird species you created, drawing changes through time.

2. What are your child's interests - If you child loves dance but hate geography, sweeten the geography pot.  How about poems written about traditional dances that include the name of the country that the dance originates.

3.  What are your child's strengths -  You want to design projects that build on your child's strengths.  Yes we all need to work on our weaknesses, but we bring those up usually with work that we can succeed at.  For example, a kid with great gross motor skills can do pretty good addition bouncing on the trampoline.   Does it have to be sitting at a desk doing a worksheet or does it have to be they learn math.

4.  What are your child's weaknesses - The above dance example wouldn't work for a kid that hates writing.  But if they love dance and you want them to learn the names of the countries, print out pictures of folk dances in traditional costumes.  They have to pair the dancers to the countries the dances are from on a large map of the world.

5. Pitch it to the right level - You wouldn't ask a child ready for finding the area of geometric solids to name the shapes.  That's an extreme example and it's usually more subtle.  If you can, design projects with multiple steps increasing in complexity.  Start with the easy one because we all like to feel good about work well done, the middle one would be where you think your child is at and the hardest would be last.  If you don't get there on the first day you can always use it another day.  If it's all too easy, start harder next time and smile that your child is so smart. 

6. Learn from your mistakes - usually your mistakes feed into one of the above 5 points.  Which one was wrong and you'll get it right next time.

Please post your curriculum design ideas!

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