A2Z Homeschool – Ann's Blog

Homeschooling From Ann's Perspective

Can I make my own curriculum?

June12

Question:

Can I make my own curriculum?

Can I mix and match different “brands” of curriculum? My 4 and 5 year old children are very artistic. I really need someone to walk with me step by step through this for a bit until I get the hang of it. I need some specific advice and insight. I need someone who can tell me exactly what to do and how to do it and so on.

Answer:

You can build a custom “curriculum” around their best skills!

For reading they’ll probably enjoy books with illustrations for some time. Fortunately, most children’s sections of large bookstores have zillions of these books on all topics. Forget any form of structured “reading comprehension” lessons: just read with them and talk to them about the plot while you read. “What do you think the character meant by that? What do you think will happen next? What clues does the picture give us?” Just use normal questions that occur to either of you while reading.

For writing, perhaps get them a set of gel pens and black paper to write on. Have some FUN with writing in a colorful way. I have on my site some fonts you can download. You can print the stories using these fonts and let him use their color pens to illustrate the stories and go over the fonts to practice handwriting in a way that would be meaningful to them.

There’s a lot of art in the patterns of math facts. Get a large pad of graph paper for doing math problems on. Color in the squares to show sums or black out previously colored squares to show subtraction. Make up patterns by defining a square that is 10 on each side. Color in every second square or every third, etc. Use math manipulatives. These can be purchased at teacher supply stores and through catalogs. You can also use items you have around the house. Many get by for years using LEGOS to teach everything!

I’ll point you to my “Content Standards” page but do NOT set your standards as low as the state requirements! The standards can be handy to help you see what concepts need to be understood before you can move on.

An inexpensive way of getting fairly accurate science information for young children, for example, is to subscribe to several good scientific children’s magazines and one or two grown-up ones to keep on top yourself! (The same goes for history and geography!) So, yes, you can mix and match – this is called the “eclectic” approach to homeschooling, which I bet most of us will admit we do, rather than consistently follow just one method all the time for all subject areas.

Kids grow and have different educational needs through the years as well. Homeschooling is a very personal project, which is why I am not telling you exactly what to do. It would be like telling you precisely how to clean your house or what to plant in your garden. I might be able to tell you what grows well in your particular ecosystem, but ultimately, it is up to you to decide what to plant. If you had a specific question, such as how to get a catsup stain out of your carpet, I might have a suggestion that would work well on MY carpet. But I am not going to presume which furniture you should buy or how you should arrange it or how “neat” you must be.

Just slowly collect a shelf full of those books with titles that are sort of like “Fun things to do with kids in your city,” or “Things to do with kids on rainy days,” or “Hiking with kids in your region,” or “Gardening with kids,” or “Crafts for kids,” or “How to make your own Science equipment,” or “Make an Indian Village.” — the list is endless! Just have FUN with this.

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