Author Topic: Homeschooling Curriculum  (Read 2267 times)

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Offline Lake Lili

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Homeschooling Curriculum
« on: August 20, 2013, 07:16:19 PM »
Well I have to admit that I made most of the choices back in June but I wanted to share with you the process through which I chose Monkey’s curriculum.

For the first three years that we homeschooled, we went with a prepared curriculum.  When you choose prepared curriculums, it is like choosing a school – religious? secular? math oriented?  heavy language focus?  For us the answer was a secular curriculum that would not interfere with the messages Monkey was learning at Sunday School and would give him a strong science base. It was hard work finding a secular curriculum, but we were really pleased with what we learned about Calvert.  It came recommended by two groups unlikely to tolerate idiots – the US Army and the US Foreign Service.  It was a good way to start.

As we were wrapping up our Grade 2 year last May, we did an overview assessment of how the year had gone and one thing stood out firmly, after a year of banging away at it, he did not understand grammar.  The way it had been taught made no sense to him.  So we went late date shopping for a new grade 2 English grammar program.  Layola Press’ Voyages in English came highly recommended by a number of parents whose children also had language processing issues.  [As a side note, I can’t say enough about the quality of service received from Layola Press and the two day turn around in getting the books from Chicago to the semi-rural wilds of Southern Ontario.]  Monkey took off with their curriculum and his sentence structure improved vastly.

Other parts of Calvert’s program have been excellent, in particular Math in Focus: Singapore Math and Science: A Closer Look.  Both programs go through to the eighth grade and Monkey has excelled in them.  Math and science are such vital parts of the curriculum and I was pleased to see that the Science program offered an English and Math component starting in the third grade in order to start to gear the student mind towards the interconnectedness of all subjects.

From a Canadian perspective the biggest challenge with the US curriculums has always been geography and history.  Luckily for us there are a couple of really terrific programs out there.  Donna Ward at Northwoods Press has written a number of excellent books for the primary grades.  For geography there is Canada My Country and Geography: Province to Province.  For history there is Courage and Conquest and Canada’s Natives Long Ago.  Through Home School and More in New Brunswick, I found Apple Press’ series of mapping workbooks for grade one thru six.  Northwoods Press also has an extensive list of Canadian fiction for children covering every historical period.  Monkey loves the voyageur books.

We also found books on music, art and drawing, and Latin. We are also teaching practical skills using Popular Mechanics for Boys and the 1911 Boy Scout manual.  We spent a lot of time determining what was required by the Province of Ontario and then finding materials that allowed us to expand further.  Some things made no sense… What is the point of teaching about Pioneers in Ontario, if the students don’t already know about the creation of New France and the 13 Colonies, not to mention the American Revolution.  So rearranging the history curriculum to teach with a more linear approach will allow us to give Monkey the base on which to develop a good historical perspective.  Additionally there is no point in teaching about the voyageurs, if students don’t know their geography.  So the goal is to use these primary years as an opportunity to lay a solid foundation for Monkey’s education and we believe that our curriculum will give him that.

So my question for other homeschooling parents is what curriculums are you using and why?
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline wild_E

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 08:26:27 PM »

Gravlore

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 11:45:20 AM »
I want to home school but the one thing I have a question to is this. Why must a child learn about a certain part of history if the parent does not want him or her to? Their are Egyptian historians, Greek historians etc. Why must Canadian history be taught? Yes we live here but why the bubble mentality? I ditched everything but the voyageurs history in my head since it can be used as a base business tool (HBC). Yes a 'well rounded' person is good but a focused one is better. If my child takes an interest in building things then why not put 60% of our time into everything building related (engineering/math etc) instead of 25%? The industrial arts students in todays world make more money and are generally happier than the desk sitting book wizards. Following curriculum's make for good little robots that are government approved. Personally I was a complete failure in school but after I left I have learned more and done more than my teachers thought possible (yes they said it and they are very mean) since I was able to seek out what I/me/myself wanted to learn and not what some beurocrap wanted me to learn. Creative minds are suffocated in our current system. I am happy to hear that a movement is on to home school.

Offline thecrownsown

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 02:32:32 PM »
Ok, so this is my understanding.....

The gov't's curriculum is there to ensure kids get a basic fundamental understanding of a wide range of things.  There are a few reasons...First they need how to function in society with basic language, written, math skills, etc.   Second, social understanding and appreciation.  Things like history, sociology, group activities, etc.  The third...mental development.  Believe it or not, the mathy engineer type who is "forced" to take some music, or literature or english will develop critical thought, and have a better "tool kit" when he grows up.   

I agree with you in the sense that if your kid has a knack for science, or for a trade, or a particular skill you want to encourage him and develop it, but at the same time he needs exposure to a plethora of information to round him out.  That doesn't mean he needs to read Shakespeare in his free time if he wants to be an Engineer, but he does need to know how to properly read and write.
I know to many guys who graduated with honours in Engineering and have found there careers being stifled because they can't write a proper letter or email, or can't communicate there thoughts properly....so they stay in more junior roles...

So ya, I agree learning and pounding home facts on history, geography, etc. may not serve any practical purpose but it will help in the minds development and you never know...it may be something they apply later on in there life.

Where the boat has tipped to far over, (and you hear this from front line teachers as well as home schoolers) is these boobs of "consultants" in the Min. of Ed. get rid of core programs like grammar, English, etc. and replace them with social credits that have virtually no purpose.....   

I get a letter or an email today...I can tell the age of the person (generally) without even meeting them.  A 50+ year old will write clear and concise.  A sub 30 year old will ramble on, dance around what they want to say, abbreviate important words or topics, etc.     Even an Engineer who wants to be more than a worker bee and wants independent thought needs to read, write and have critical thought.
"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and the smallest minority on earth is the individual."

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Gravlore

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2013, 03:06:47 PM »
Critical thinking is not what schools allow. When I used to question something I was looked at as a trouble maker. I personally had no use for old English literature but wish I had more spelling and grammar in school since I use it daily. The schools here are removing long division since we have electronic means of calculation. Well rounded people are a good thing but I find it comes through exploration vs dictation.

Offline wild_E

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 06:30:06 PM »
Gravs - +1 Karma for being so open and honest!
That is actually very hard for guys to be open especially in a place like this, so +1 Karma


Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2013, 10:34:33 AM »
Hi Gravlore,

Thanks for taking the time to reply and for bringing up some really important issues.  Why Canadian history? Because we live here...  As for the Greeks and Egyptians, Romans, French, Vikings, Australians, Peruvians...  Go for it!  The world is a big place full of fascinating things.  Nothing beats teaching about Angkor Wat and being able to show in real time the discoveries they have been making in the past year.  Last year, I taught British history using Channel 4's archaeology show Time Team.  I taught European history first because we have been focusing on Explorers.  We started with the Paleo-Indians and Beringia, then moved back to Europe with the Romans, then moved on the Spanish, French, Dutch and English.  Now that everyone has reached North America, we start with Canadian history.

I am a historian and genealogist, with a focus on the fur trade, so I have a tendency to focus on history and geography.  But I also see it as something that is important for the understanding of the development of our country.  I also think that it was possibly the dullest and most boring subject taught in Ontario schools in the 1970 and 80s and I doubt that has changed.  What I am wanting Monkey to get out of learning it is that this is a vast country with a history that is complicated by foreign wars and economic pressures - both historic and current.  Many of the people who can here have been escaping lives that were endangered by war and economic failure, and they brought those issues here, from the Highland Scots and the UELs through the Vietnamese boat people and the Somalian and Haitian refugees.  I want Monkey to be able to look at the world around him and understand that it is complex and to dig for the background story on issues.

My child is in grade 3 - age 8.  So he is not yet making career decision beyond the using policeman, fireman, soldier.  Any of which would be terrific (terrifying for mother but terrific careers).  However as he gets older and is more able to define his own aptitudes the we will certainly help him.  If he wants to be a mechanic - fantastic! I'll help him find someone with whom to apprentice.  But its more than being able to fix an engine or tire. He needs to understand the math and business end of it too - not just the mechanics.  He needs to learn about parts, suppliers, how their business run, how to cost jobs, hire staff, handle property ownership or leases, deal with banks, understand waste disposal regulations... the myriad of factors that will enable him to become a successful adult. 

As for using the Ontario Curriculum as a guide line, it is just that.  A guideline.  But it is useful for understanding the expectation.  In our case, I can say that Monkey is two years ahead mathematically but a year behind in reading.  If I used a French or British or Idaho curriculum, I might give a different answer.  As we live in Ontario (for the time being) this is the yardstick I have chosen to use.

Hope that this gives some answers to your questions.  Look forward to chatting further.
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline Lake Lili

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2013, 10:47:42 AM »
Hi thecrownsown,

Great post!  I concur about the language of correspondence... heading down hill fast.

I would respectfully disagree with the Shakespeare issue (Lord knows I've only struggled through three - McBeth, Lear and Twelfth Night).  And it is not that I am suggesting that every teenager needs to read every work or learn them off by heart, but rather because Shakespeare and his phrases have become such an integral part of our language.  From "Some are born great, and some have greatness thrust upon them.." to "All the world's a stage.." to "To thine own self be true.." to "Ignorance is a curse of God..." to the prepper's mantra "Listen to many, speak to few".  The language of Shakespeare is now more important than the stories.  For that reason alone, I'd include it.  Along with Oscar Wilde and Thoreau, Poe, Tolkein...
... if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what flock are ye?  - Alma 5:39

Remember to keep clear the line between sheep and sheeple!

Offline wild_E

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013, 11:04:27 AM »
Lili,
remember boys are generally behind in reading and grammar compared to girls until the 5th or 6th grade. I myself was two years behind in reading and English studies until grade 6. With the help of a wonderful teacher and his wife who ran the Ottawa Library, downtown branch I jumped from grade 4 reading to University level.


We all have our own yardsticks, is a phrase from a dear Aunt in Law.
This means we all learn at our own pace, like our own things and live life ourselves differently to others.


cheers and thanks for the postings everyone, I am sure they will help others out.

Offline thecrownsown

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Re: Homeschooling Curriculum
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2013, 11:10:53 AM »
Hi thecrownsown,

Great post!  I concur about the language of correspondence... heading down hill fast.

I would respectfully disagree with the Shakespeare issue (Lord knows I've only struggled through three - McBeth, Lear and Twelfth Night).  And it is not that I am suggesting that every teenager needs to read every work or learn them off by heart, but rather because Shakespeare and his phrases have become such an integral part of our language.  From "Some are born great, and some have greatness thrust upon them.." to "All the world's a stage.." to "To thine own self be true.." to "Ignorance is a curse of God..." to the prepper's mantra "Listen to many, speak to few".  The language of Shakespeare is now more important than the stories.  For that reason alone, I'd include it.  Along with Oscar Wilde and Thoreau, Poe, Tolkein...

I've nothing against Shakespeare and own most of his works.

Most people don't have anything against Shakespeare....they just don't know it...watch a movie and chances are the plot is just a repeat or an ofshoot from his twists and turns.... People get so caught up in the form of language they miss the inner depth of the stories as well.
"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and the smallest minority on earth is the individual."

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