Step 4 - Investigate and Get Curriculum

With your vision in place (step1), an understanding of different approaches (step2), and your thought-through course of study (step3) it is finally time to search for and source curriculum.


Always remember that once you have a curriculum it is still not cast in stone.


As you implement it and measure progress, you may change your decision if it is not supporting your vision or helping you to reach your goals.


What Is It About?


Do not let the term 'curriculum' confuse you. The word can mean different things to different people. On this website it will mean the choices of specific books, textbooks, workbooks or equipment to do per subject area.


This step is an exciting step in the whole process since it is now the time to go out and

search,

research,

find,

borrow,

source and

buy books, workbooks, textbooks, toys, software, games or anything to learn with for your children!


It is the step where you actually go about looking for the material to use per subject – whether at

homeschool expos/fairs,

bookshops (or secondhand bookshops),

homeschool catalogues,

the internet,

presentations,

your friend’s house,

even your own house.

Wherever – search for materials to use.


It may be an overwhelming step since you can be flooded by options to choose from.


I have seen many moms at homeschool fairs/expos buying all sorts of stuff, not necessarily knowing why and where and when they will use it.


If one is prepared with a course of study it is so much easier to visit an expo or fair or even go to a bookstore – you will know what you are looking for!


You will know what to get and what not to get.


Also remember that one’s own home is usually already filled with all sorts of ‘curriculum’ to be used although it is not recognized as curriculum.


Go through your own house with different eyes and see the possibility of curriculum in your own bookshelves, CD/DVD collection, PC games/programs, toy shelves, workshops, hobby cabinets etc.


When searching, sourcing and getting curriculum, analyze curriculum as follows:


  • Does it support your vision?

  • Will it develop the type of knowledge and skills necessary for your children today to survive in a complex world?

  • Will it suit your approach for this subject?

  • Does it fit into your course of study?

  • Do you know anybody trustworthy that has used this curriculum? (contact that person about this then)

  • Does it impress you with not only the ‘form’ it is presented in but also with regards to the content?

  • Do you agree with the chosen content?



Below are some suggestions per subject area, but please note that these are not the only options available…curriculum abounds!


1. Languages – do you really need a curriculum to learn to read and write well?


To read better – READ, to write better – WRITE.


For this one does not need curriculum as such, only enough books or good material to read.

But if you want to help in teaching your child to read and grammar aids for English have a look at some such as Learning Language Arts through Literature, Evan-Moore and ABeka. For a comprehensive Afrikaans curriculum look at Omvattend Afrikaans for the Foundation Phase. A variety of writing curriculum is available such as Getty Dubai (for handwriting) and then for creative writing Writing to Learn, Writing in Narrative, Excellence in writing and The One Year Adventure Novel.


2. Math – there are lots of Math specific curriculum available on the market e.g. Saxon math, Singapore math, Miquon math, Math-U-See (this is what I used through all the years very successfully), Mastering Mathematics etc.


3. Natural sciences – the most important focus here should be to get children interested.


Often you get children interested by reading about exciting science stuff in an exciting matter, as well as by doing all sorts of real science projects and experiments.


Look for good living science books such as Apologia books (all of their books are great resources written for the  homeschool community), Usborne, Dorling Kindersley, Kingfisher, Love2Learn, ABeka science books, LAPA boeke, Fantasie boeke.

Be on the lookout for Science experiment books or kits such as Dorling Kinderley’s, LAPA, Chart Studio.


4. Social studies – Often history is better understood when read through the eyes of a person.


So biographies, autobiographies or fiction books about history are much more enjoyable than the textbook type of history.


Movies can also give a good sense of history if viewed in context.

Keep Geography practical and have lots of maps and a globe around to often refer to countries when read about them.

Love2Learn, Sonlight, Footprints (for South African history) provide Social science info.


5. Economic studies – use books such as the Money Matters for Kids series by Larry Burkett, Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Kid, Poor Kid and other books or Richard Maybury’s Uncle Eric books on economy.


6. Technology – in this subject you can either focus on using technology (which will happen as a matter of living) or on learning about technology.

I personally also view any engineering/artisan type work as technology i.e. the early childhood blocks, Lego, Fischerteknik building, to more advanced design of own projects, products, including woodwork, metal work, using tools of all sorts with dad or other people.


Technology is something we all find useful but we must always remember that it should serve us, not the other way around.


7. Arts and music – it might help to distinguish between doing arts/music (the practical side), learning about art/music history, and art/music appreciation.

This will enable you to see that by taking music lessons your child is already doing music, so one can choose if you want to add music appreciation also or not.

Usborne have quite a number of nice books on Art and music appreciation/history. For curriculum on South African Art and Artists click HERE (also in Afrikaans, Suid Afrikaanse Kuns-reeks vir kinders).


8. Life skills – for life skills I really believe that one doesn’t need a curriculum - only involve your kids in life.


Let them do stuff – around the house, in the garden, chores and tasks as they grow older.


If you do want to assure yourself have a look at this book, Life skills for kids by Christine Field.


9. Interests per individual child – it is important to note that different children will be interested in different things and subjects areas, and it is worthwhile to support the individual interest by getting the books, resources, tools or whatever needed to do that.


10. Faith building – as a believer I this is the most important learning area to focus and the easiest to get ‘curriculum’ for, since it involves real life living.

Practical application of the truths learnt is what real discipleship is about – this is observed and taught in real life context – so get out, be real and live!

Be involved somewhere where you can give (of your time, money, talents, care, etc.).

Be involved somewhere to love and to share – in a fellowship of some kind.


Talk often and be real about normal life struggles.


For excellent input have a look here.



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For an example of what we have done Go to Step 4 Curriculum personal


For more information on the phases click on the relevant link:

Step1 Vision

Step2 Approaches

Step3 Course of study

Step4 Curriculum

Step5 Plan and do

Step6 Measure and reward

Step7 Adapt to improve


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