So now that you have had an overview of the basics and some tips for researching curriculum, let’s dive into details of each of the five main approaches to educating your kids. Remember that curriculum refers to the materials you use to educate with. This can be books, videos, audio recordings, computer software, or a combination. It is a course of study that you select for your homeschool.
There are five main types of education philosophy and corresponding curricula: Traditional, Classical Education, Charlotte Mason/Ruth Beechick, Unit Studies, and Unschooling/Relaxed Homeschooling. Let’s talk about Traditional curriculum!
Traditional curriculum refers to published textbooks and workbooks, some with activity guides, special assignments, and projects integrated within the course. Each subject is covered in 180 daily increments over a span of 12 years. This is most typically what you would think about how a public or private school classroom works. There are a few variations, many pre-packaged curricula to choose from and use, and some convenience for you.
Traditional curricula is published as books, computer software, and video programs. The video programs are usually a recording of an actual classroom or at least of a teacher instructing a class. The student watches the video and follows along in their textbook and workbook at home. Computer software programs tend to be more interactive and some even feature automatic grading.
Some traditional approach homeschool companies that have been around for years are Alpha Omega Publications, BJU Press Homeschool, and Master Books. Each of these programs offers specific textbook or multi-media for each individual subject and by grade levels. For instance for grade 3 you would find corresponding teacher and student curriculum for each of the following subjects: reading, math, spelling, science, social studies, writing, and more.
Typically there is a separate teacher book or video that contains a standardized scope and sequence, guidelines for the teacher, and the answers to questions in the student textbook, workbook, quizzes and tests. The scope and sequence gives you information as to the broad picture of what things will be studied in that course as well as the details within a weekly, monthly, and/or semester suggested plan for your school year.
For the student there will be a textbook, workbook, and possible activity book that they will work directly out of. The student will follow your directions on what pages to read each day, when to take the quizzes and tests, and what experiments or projects to complete. You will assign the materials to be covered to each of your students, teach and guide them in their studies, and grade their progress and papers.
One of the benefits of traditional education curriculum is that each year you naturally progress to the next grade level of books and materials for each subject. The companies have done all of the planning for you as to what is taught in each grade level. And as the teacher you simply follow along what the instructor guide tells you as you direct and teach your child.
Another advantage of traditional education curriculum is that you can still use the pre-packed materials but mix and match them to your student’s abilities. Maybe you have a child that excels in Math so you could use a grade level higher than their current grade level for that subject only.
Also some students really thrive on using and completing a book. They enjoy systematically going through each lesson. There are even some companies that break up a large textbook/workbook to create books with fewer pages. Kids still learn the same amount of material, but they finish each book a little quicker which is motivating for them. This works great for a child who is intimidated by thicker textbooks.
With a traditional textbook style of teaching and learning, you and your kids have a very cut and dried method of moving through their education. You buy the appropriate grade level subject materials and teach from them. Your students learn, progress through the curriculum, get graded on their accomplishments, and advance to the next grade level in that subject.
Next we will discuss Classical Education!
I love God, family, friends, and encouraging people. I enjoy helping others in the education world from my experience in my job and from when I homeschooled my kids. As a wife, Mom, soon to be Grandma, and the Education and Homeschool Web Merchandiser, I hope my blog articles are helpful to you as we live life together.