By Juli Herman
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I recently sat down with my planner in hand and started jotting down next year’s school plans for two of my children. Ever since we started homeschooling without a set curriculum, we have been doing a lot of trial and error and learned a lot from it. One important thing I learned is that I should include my children in the planning of their ‘curriculum’.
Rather than being told what they should learn, and how they should learn it, being given a choice to customize the learning approach is truly liberating and empowering. It gives them that sense of ownership in learning, and it can also drive up their motivation for learning. My 12 year old son loves building and working with the computer. So when I was planning out his Science curriculum for next year, I asked him how he would like to approach it. Knowing that his interest lies mostly in Physics, I said,
“Would you like to do it by projects? You can play around with the electrical circuit kit, or figure out your own projects like those you find in the library books.”
He nodded agreeably to this idea, and together, we brainstormed project ideas he would do for next year’s science. For my 13 year old daughter, I suggested keeping a nature journal, where she could draw and sketch to her heart’s content and delve into Biology. I laid out all the different options of doing Science; picking home experiments from books, doing it online from online sources, making models, lapbooks, etc. She took her picks and alhamdulilah, we had her science curriculum all laid out for next year’s science. I also recently found a rich resource of online classes on Currclick. My daughter is currently attending one on Herpetology and loves it. The approach used in this class is very similar to what I had laid out for her, and so it is a perfect fit for her interest and learning approach.
This approach pertains mostly to those who do not use a set curriculum. It does take more work and brainstorming, not to mention continuous research and searching, but when planned well ahead of time, it can be quite rewarding. It will also be quite useful when it comes to customizing a high school homeschool for those who wish to do so.