Homeschooling has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more parents choosing to educate their children at home rather than sending them to traditional schools. Current estimates show that there may have been a 50% increase in homeschool since schools reopened after covid. If you’re considering homeschooling, you’re in good company! One of the first things you’ll need to think about is your curriculum.
There are a lot of different homeschool curricula available, each with its own unique approach to teaching and learning. Some are more traditional, while others are more child-led. Some are designed to be very hands-on, while others rely more on textbooks and lectures. It’s important to consider your child’s learning style, interests, and goals. You’ll also want to think about your own teaching style and what kind of time and resources you have to devote to homeschooling.
A Classical Approach
When it comes to homeschool curricula, one of the most popular options is the classical approach, which is based on the idea that children go through three stages of learning: the grammar stage, the logic stage, and the rhetoric stage.
During the grammar stage (ages 5-9), children focus on learning the basic ideas and skills related to various subjects. This might include learning to read and write, studying basic math concepts, and learning about history, science, and literature. The goal of the grammar stage is to establish a foundation of knowledge that students can build upon in the later stages.
In the logic stage (ages 10-13), children begin to analyze and evaluate information. They might start to ask more questions, engage in critical thinking, and debate different ideas. The goal of this stage is to help students develop their ability to think logically and make connections between different subjects, and form opinions on the things they’re studying.
Finally, in the rhetoric stage (ages 14-18), children focus on communicating their thoughts and ideas effectively. This might mean writing essays, giving speeches, and participating in debates. In this stage, parents focus on helping students develop their communication skills and become confident and articulate speakers, writers, and communicators.
Classical homeschool curricula often include a mix of textbooks, lectures, and hands-on activities, and they may also incorporate classical literature and other resources. Classical Conversations is a popular curriculum that employs a classical method of teaching.
The Montessori Method
Developed in the early 20th century by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator, the Montessori method is an approach that emphasizes a hands-on and child-centered learning.
In a Montessori classroom, children are given the freedom to explore their interests and learn at their own pace, with the teacher acting as a guide rather than a traditional instructor. The classroom is set up in a way that encourages children to learn independently, with materials and activities that are designed to be self-correcting and developmentally appropriate.
One of the key principles of the Montessori method is the idea that children are naturally curious and motivated to learn. Because of this, the teacher’s role is to provide a supportive and stimulating environment in which children can explore and discover new things on their own.
Montessori classrooms are usually full of puzzles, games, art supplies, and manipulatives for early familiarization with math and science. These materials are designed to appeal to a child’s senses and help them learn through hands-on exploration and discovery.
In addition to traditional subjects like reading, writing, and math, Montessori classrooms often include activities related to practical life skills, like cooking, gardening, and caring for animals. These activities help children develop independence, responsibility, and a sense of community which fits in great with the overall Montessori focus of helping a child develop into a well-rounded person.
There are many different Montessori homeschool curricula available, ranging from complete programs with materials and lesson plans to more open-ended approaches that allow parents to create their own curriculum based on their child’s interests and needs.
Replicating School at Home
If you’re interested in a more traditional approach, you might consider a curriculum that follows a traditional school schedule, with set subjects and assignments for each day. These curricula often come with textbooks and other materials, making it easy to follow along at home. Although some people opt for homeschooling because they don’t believe that traditional schooling yields the best learning outcomes, there are a lot of parents who like the structure of public education but simply would prefer to replicate it at home.
For these families, there are countless resources to choose from. Often times communities even have homeschool groups where parents can connect with others in their area to share methods and ideas. There are also many religious homeschool curricula available, depending on your family’s values and beliefs. Some religious curricula are based on a specific faith, such as Catholicism or Protestantism, while others are general in nature with a more non-denominational creationist focus.
No matter which curriculum you choose, it’s important to remember that homeschooling is a collaborative process. You’ll be working closely with your child to tailor the curriculum to their needs and interests, and you’ll need to be willing to make adjustments as needed.
One way to find the right homeschool curriculum for your family is to do some research and ask other homeschooling parents for recommendations. You can also attend homeschooling conferences and workshops, where you’ll have the opportunity to talk to other homeschooling families and learn about different curricula.
Another option is to try out a few different curricula and see what works best for your child. It’s okay to switch things up if you find that one isn’t a good fit for your family—the beauty of homeschool is that it is an ever-evolving process. Most homeschool families make a lot of changes as they find their unique homeschool groove, and that’s okay! Homeschooling can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for both parents and children. With the right curriculum, you can create a learning environment that is tailored to your child’s needs and interests, and that will help them grow and thrive.
We’re proud to offer curriculum and resources that are a great fit for all homeschool settings. We’ve got curriculum that can be used in a classroom setting as well as curriculum that includes nightly dinner table prompts to get the whole family reviewing and expanding on the day’s lessons. All of our books are also great for read-alouds, or individual study—we even have books for toddlers! We know that your family classroom isn’t going to look like anyone else’s and we think that’s exactly how it should be. We’re just happy to be here to help.