With the rising popularity of homeschooling, parents have many choices when selecting commercially provided homeschooling programs. Having a balance of structure and spontaneity is important when designing a homeschool curriculum, and like a restaurant menu, many homeschooling programs provide both a full course or an a la carte option. Parents will need to make some decisions about which type of program to pursue.
Curriculum material can often purchased separately and then combined to create a cohesive program. Usually, the more curriculum materials that are included, the more expensive it will be. Many homeschooling programs will include weekly lesson plans, grade record sheets, an attendance log, an activities agenda, reading list forms, and other tools, such as awards or certificates. Many programs also come with an online interactive element, where the child can do many of their lessons online, or use as a basis for further exploration in their subject area. A successful homeschooling program combines elements of a traditional education with other types of unstructured learning exercises, and hands-on activities, such as field trips.
Specific learning objectives for a particular unit or subject are also an important consideration in choosing a homeschooling program. It is usually best to define specific learning objectives for each subject or topic being covered. This allows children to learn at their own pace, and even excel at a subject at a more rapid rate than they might in a traditional school setting. Having learning objectives also allows for creativity in meeting the objectives with different materials and learning experiences.
In addition to specific educational content, homeschooling programs may also emphasize certain values in their curriculum. Many homeschool programs are based on the Christian faith, which is often incorporated into the material, but there are also many programs that convey a humanist or non-religious perspective. It is important that parents review the underlying messages in any program or curriculum they choose, and make sure it is agrees with the values they want to impart to their children.
When choosing a homeschooling program, a parent will have many resources available, and by being clear about their intended outcome, will find the material that best serves their child. They can commit wholeheartedly to a since program, or pick and choose out of many models that will meet their children’s educational needs. With so many resources available, they will have assistance every step of the way.