I look at choosing my homeschool curriculum this way. I have a favorite book, one that I find myself regularly reading over and over again. Well, an author I return too. I find that the older I get, the more addicted I become to the written word. As I read his works of greatness, I am constantly finding pieces of them that I see anew. My mind is lead on a new adventure in a new way. Almost always I realize a piece of the book that I did not recognize before. I fall in love with the book in a new way each time.
After 125 years, studies show that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to remember what is learned and store it in the Procedural Knowledge tank. This is the type of knowledge for math. Makes since as math is a building tool and much review makes mathematics very successful. The encoding or retrieval of stored knowledge, is done through relative learning and repetition. The learning of a subject as it relates to knowledge already learned thus keeping it in the forefront of the mind. This is what the pure definition of learning is according to the Department of Psychology at the University of Berkeley: "a relatively permanent change in knowledge that occurs as a result of experience; that learning changes the individual's fund of knowledge".
This is the learning style that I have found to be so vital with schooling my babies. I am constantly amazed at how they each interpret their books. What they drawl out of their studies. How they each come out with a totally different diagnoses of what excited them when we read together. When I first started teaching my babies, I thought that learning a curriculum was all about the amount of information they would get out of the lesson. Making sure they get through everything and do good on the tests. After all, I thought, isn't test scores how we know they are learning? Blah!
Now I am realizing that it isn't the quantity but the quality of their retention; which can not be determined by a "test". It's not what they study so that they ace get an A (see my post on grading here) but what they drawl out of their studies. What they remember months later verses the blank glazed over "what you are saying is not computing" teenage stare. Just as I have found as I get older and learn how to learn, repetition and the love for learning is the key. Students are not cattle. They can not be herded though their school years with a bombarding of meaningless facts and dates. They need to know why their studies are important, piece them together.
When searching for a curriculum, finding one that instills the desire to return to the stories in history, relate the science of physics or biology or geology with what their talents or gifts are. To want to use the math they learned while you are at the store. A curriculum that instills the adventure and the draw to come back. These are the curriculums that will instill a retentive knowledge in our students. One that builds upon itself. The amount of dates and highlighted information they know for standards or a test or a grade will not get them through life. But the stories, those stories that hold place in their hearts will. The stories that draw them in again and again. The stories that impact the way they see others, they see the world, they make their choices, they lead their lives. The way they succeed in higher learning. These are the stories, the sciences, the mathematics, and the information that is true learning.
I want to encourage you to not be bogged down by the one size fits all idea of how to home educate your student. Rather your student is
There is a curriculum for them all. The most important thing is to spend time evaluating and reevaluating your student. Every student changes with each year. One curriculum might fit them one year while as they mature, another will fit them the next. Don't get stuck on the one curriculum for all time, maybe that will happen but don't force it. As always, enjoy the time you have with your kids. You only have 18 years with them. Every moment, treasure it in your heart. I guarantee you that no matter what curriculum you choose, being called to homeschool, what you give them will be enough. Don't let the frustrations or standards or worries choke out the joy of being with your kids and them being taught by you:)
*The curriculum listed above are just a few that are available. Do your research and match what is right to your student. Mix and match and have fun! I am not an affiliate with any of the curriculum mentioned. I have however, either used one of the above curriculum or have a very close friend who does.
*"How Students Learn...and how we can help them" by John F. Kihlstrom, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
Welcome! Marie is a wife, mother of two teens, and a fur baby. Marie and her family live in the north-central US. She is a homeschool Momma, avid outdoors man, and is disciplined in the study of Jewish and Christian Scriptures along with Hebrew and Greek dialect. Marie has been asked for years to share herself, so, welcome to Marie' life:)