Overwhelming Choices – curriculum

four core subjects curriculum

Conquering curriculum choices –

Earlier this week I was talking to another homeschooling mom (though now I am a "retired" homeschooling mom) who had always used canned curriculum for her medium large family.  She had recently moved to our state, and the state curriculum she had begun to employ was so restrictive that it had become obnoxious. 

As a result she decided to go it alone for the first time.  After the miracle of God that provided her with a whole library of books (for free) to use for the next several years, she was beginning the overwhelming task of how to organize her school year for several grade levels and several subjects.

A blast from the past –

I shared the "aHa" moment of my own, when I realized that all I needed to teach to educate my kids was 4 subjects.  I was encouraged by all the friendly homeschooling moms out there to be providing music lessons, art lessons, 4-H, language lessons, crafts, gardening, animal husbandry, mechanical engineering, rocket science, business economics, journaling, home economics, and psycho ceramics (cracked pots)….

At that time, I remembered a simpler past when people talked about the "3 Rs" — Reading, wRiting and ‘Rithmatic.  My grandmother was a school teacher in the early 1900s in a one room school house.  She qualified in part, because she had completed the curriculum available at the time and attended one year of teacher’s college in her state. 

They were happy to have a capable 18 year old to teach the young farm kids through the same curriculum.  What was this magic curriculum that produced such literate and knowledgeable people as our grandparents?

My research showed that early curriculum was something resembling the "Original Eclectic McGuffy Readers".

The three "Rs" –

If so, and if it was the 3 Rs, curriculum was based on Language Arts (reading and writing) and Math (arithmetic) — 2 subjects.  That’s it!

I added to that basic two, a formal approach to History and Science to build my first simplified teaching plan: Language Arts, Math, History, and Science.  That’s only four subjects!  (Additionally, we added some form of Bible training, usually using a kids’ Bible study or Awana Club as the highly social and enjoyable venue).

Because I was under obligation under state law to provide "like" curriculum for my students, I did check out the scope and sequence for the publicly schooled kids in my state.  I followed the sequence to be sure I was complying with the law.

I did note that one single curriculum was never effective for all personality types under my roof!  Think how "locked in" your kids would be in a larger classroom.

But, what a relief for me to only have to teach four subjects!

When my kids asked for music lessons, we complied.  When one asked for foreign language materials, we complied. 

It does get trickier in high school as there was a requirement for a speech class, a computer class, economics, etc.  At that time I checked out the entrance requirements for the college they most likely would attend, and worked to that paradigm.  (And yes, they all continued on to higher education.)

So simplify your life.  Teach those 4 subjects.  Take time to get to know your kids and encourage them to be the individuals they were born to be.

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