One of the hardest parts of starting homeschooling is knowing what and how to teach your child. While there are some state guidelines that will help you to make sure you hit ll of the key points, how you do it is completely up to you. Developing a homeschool curriculum is a personal matter and should reflect the needs of the child or children.
Begin with observation. You want to observe your child in different settings so that you can see how they learn best and what their primary focus is on. For instance, my child hates to sit down and do a math worksheet, but if he does hands on experience with math, he doesn’t even realize he is practicing it. While the worksheets still get used, most of our focus was on hands on experience.
Use their favorite subject. Sometimes we don’t want to learn about things just because they bore us to tears. For my son, it was math and writing in cursive. But, he loved science and hands on efforts. So, math and writing got incorporated into the science lesson plans in such a way that he ended up enjoying what he was doing!
Review state standards. You can find state standards by going to the Department of Education website for your state. It’s a good idea to keep these standards on hand so that you can see and check off when those standards are met. Most homeschoolers tend to meet standards earlier than those in public school.
Set goals. Many parents don’t recognize grade levels in homeschool. But, children need some way to mark their progress, if only to give them a bit of an ego boost. You can always do something like put the state standards into an understandable format for the child, then mark them off as you meet them.
Encourage independent work. When a new subject comes up, give the child a worksheet to measure how well they already understand that subject. You can then base your curriculum off of what still needs to be taught in that area. In some respects, it’s a good idea to let the child lead you so that they can become more independent and keep learning instead of going over material that may be redundant.
Forget everything you know about public school. Homeschool is nothing like public school. For instance, when my child took a test or did an assignment in public school, he simply got the paper back with items marked wrong. In homeschool, that paper is returned to him until he gets them all right. It doesn’t do any good to know that you did something wrong if you don’t learn how to fix it.
Learn how to turn everyday experiences into educational ones. A walk in the park with a journal can teach science, writing, math and geology (if not more) all in one walk. A trip to the grocery store teaches math and social skills.