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How do homeschooling parents know what to teach their children?

Updated on June 3, 2008

I learned a long time ago that the easist way to start a fight in Texas was to go to any street corner and just say loudly enough, "I have the best chili recipe in the world."

By the end of fifteen minutes you will have a full fledged riot going on, since everyone in Texas has the best chili recipe in the world and is willing to defend it till death.

Oddly enough, it is almost exactly the same with homeschoolers. We tend to believe that the way we do it is the absolute best, and Heaven help those who would disagree with us.

So here are my thoughts on the subject of picking curriculum for your children - realizing that they are not my children.

My credentials? Three successful adult children who were all homeschooled from K-12.

Here are the points to consider...

  • What do you want to accomplish thru homeschooling? Be honest because some curriculum is better than others for differing goals. Is religion important to you. Then you need to consider publishers who think that is important to them also. If not... then you might want to avoid those publishers.
  • Do you want to set the homeschool up as a "school" complete with a dedicated space, and a school atmosphere complete with schedules and periods. Some curriculum are more structured and enable you to do that a little better. If you are more willing to let the children determine when, where, and what they study then you'll want to ensure you pick one that that has maximum flexibility.
  • How best does the primary teacher relate to people and how best are the students at learning? There are three basic "learning styles" but not surprisingly there are also three basic teaching styles that go along with the learning styles. The problem is that when you have one teaching style trying to teach a differing learning style there are going to have to be some compromises on both sides or there will be real problems.

Here is a quick and easy way to find out your learning/teaching style.

It is obviously best to find a curriculum that fits best with the teaching/learning style of the homeschool.

I have always recommended that parents considering homeschooling start with one of the "packaged" curriculum from a publisher such as A BEKA or one of the others. They can provide a complete "1st Grade" all the way thru high school. Makes it very easy to make the choices since the choices are very limited.

Going to a homeschool curriculum fair cannot be beat. As an alternative, here's a place that has a number of reviews from parents just like us.

It is fairly normal to see a progression over a few years. As parents become more and more experienced with homeschooling they tend to not focus as tightly on the "recommended" curriculum from the publisher but become much more willing to "roll their own" so to speak.

I also highly recommend that parents take advantage of the public library. Our county library is right down the road and the resources it offered in the way of videos and DVDs was tremendous. Whatever the subject, and age range, there was usually a very well produced video that helped to flesh out the subject and make it come alive. For instance, we were able to watch virtually all of Shakespeare plays done by professional English actors. Combined with a basic book on the author and his works it became a very fulfilling way to satisfy a literature semester. And we parents had fun also.

Again... everyone is going to have their opinion, and they'll usually think that is the only opinion that God should have given everyone. But keep your options open, keep the focus on what works best for your family, and do enjoy the company and companionship of other homeschooling families.


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    • dutch84 profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for answering my request.

    • broteem profile image


      10 years ago from KHARAGOUR

      I have been enlightened after going through the above submissions.

      I had sometimes back thought about something like the homeschooling for my own son who had just left his school nearly two years back. He was never a happy boy in the school for more than one reasons. I should not state that he was avert to studies. The problem with him was that some of the subjects he was reluctant to study. He had great inclination towards mathe and physics and also in films. His limitation was that he paid little attention to cramming. Now he is in a private engineering college where too he does not always feel happy as the system here too is such that he is askd to rot a lot.

      I have chanced to study him.

      In India, my native land, schools are there and colleges are there and all these are to satisfy the need of the job market and they are hardly for the cultivation of knowledge. From the time of MACLAY (one British official of the early 19th century whose prescription for the spread of education in The British India was reasoned by the need of the office clerks only) education in this country is never for the cultivation of knowledge. On the other hand,a student who is made to take education under such constraints of the job market is not assured a sure job after the completion of his education of any level. There are less and less job and when the hammer of globalization has struck it appears that it has struck on the head of the students. Hence, I have started to consider that students, that is, our children, will show their back to the educational centers if their earning is not ensured at a large scale. If a boy or a girl will have to hunt for a job, even a sub-standard one, after going through the precarious education system prevailed in the country and if, again, a boy or a girl finds himself or herself unemployed even the papers in support of his acadethismical degrres are in the pocket, next ones may think that itis futile to attend the classes under the half-learned people who are selected as the teachers.

      Should we not think in a different way for the education of our dear children ? The main trend in Inda is to shift from the government schools or from the schools under the government control to the private ones and mainly to the English medium school. Why this has been happening ? Simply we are very much worried of the prospects of the children.

    • profile image

      HS Mom of 3 

      10 years ago

      We have hsed for 7 years. One thing I see a lot is "my child doesn't want to do that." I don't want to sound too strong, but you are the parents, the directors of your children. Did you let them cross busy intersections, no, because you know better what is safe and what they need to become productive citizens. Why would you leave something so important, say like their education up to them? As they get older they should have input but you are footing the bill and the buck stops with you, the parent. I have three middle school boys and if i left it up to them they wouldn't go to any school, hs, public or private. They would ride skate boards all day long. Don't be afraid to make choices that may not be popular.

    • Ric Reyes profile image

      Ric Reyes 

      10 years ago from Sacramento

      This is some sound advice. I would only add that parents should keep in touch with other homeschooling parents and local teachers as much as possible. Don't reinvent the wheel. Also, homeschooling allows for a more efficient use of instructional time. As a high school teacher, I see how much time is taken up by passing periods and set-up/clean-up time. Take advantage of that opportunity!

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      Great advice! When I decided to home school my youngest daughter, I went to her school councelor and discussed it with him. He daid it was obvious that I had spent a lot of time thinking about this and not acting on impulse. He also gave me a list of the required subjects that she would normally take in school as a guide to helping me choose her curriculum. He was very understanding and an excellent resource!


    • vrajavala profile image


      10 years ago from Port St. Lucie

      Homeschooling is great. Over here in florida we have state-run virtual academy funded by the legislature and it's growing. My grandson doesn't want to go because he has friends in school already. Maybe the younger two will attend. I think it's great because it takes the child out of the increasingly negative school environment, often drug infested.


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