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Choosing Homeschool Curriculum: What to Consider
Your Children's Ages
© Beverley Paine 2011
No one can tell you what the 'right' curriculum is for your family. In this series of articles, also available as an inexpensivePractical Homeschool Series booklet, my aim is merely to offer advice, information and questions to guide you in making an appropriate choice. Take what resonates with you and your family situation and leave the rest. There is no need to end up feeling like a slave to the curriculum you choose - if it isn't working there are plenty of alternatives to consider.
What ages are your children ?
The age of your children naturally determines the focus of the curriculum.
Preschoolers need very little in the way of formal curriculum. Children of this age enjoy a hands-on and play-based curriculum, and especially enjoy playing 'school', doing pre-reading and maths activities, educational games and puzzles.
Before adolescence, children need to have a good grasp of the basics:
This provides the scaffold for learning effectively through the teenage years and beyond.
Teenagers may require a different approach than younger children, one which offers them greater responsibility for managing their time as well as some input to the content and direction of their activities. Learning might be tailored to suit emerging interests or the beginnings of a career pathway. Specialisation as well as a general education is possible.
Don't worry about what curriculum your teenager will need if he or she is aged only three! So much will change between now and then. If the last three decades are anything to go by, it is virtually impossible to imagine the different types of resources that will become available.
Find out what the learning styles are of all members of your family. It's a fun thing to do and will give you an insight into what kinds of learning materials and activities you'll need for each of your children.
Knowledge and understanding of these attributes will help determine your choice of curriculum. Search online for information about 'learning styles' and 'multiple intelligences'.
See also the other articles in this Choosing Curriculum series:
Or purchase Beverley's inexpensive Practical Homeschooling Series booklet from Always Learning Books - over 40 pages of practical information explaining the different approaches as well as useful and helpful advice.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.
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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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