Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don't Skip Anything Important!

One of the most common questions I get asked when people find out I homeschool our kids without using any sort of prepackaged curriculum is, "How do you know you're not going to skip something vital?"

I have two answers to this question.

The first is: What is vital? Do you, as an educated adult really remember the life cycle of the honeybee? Chances are you'll say no, but you know where to go find the information if you need it. Bingo. That's vital. A curiosity about the world around us and the ability to find the find the information they need are replacing the older model of filling children's heads with facts. For one thing there are simply too many facts. For another information is at our fingertips like never before.

The second, more practical answer is this: Curriculum Standards.

From time to time I do what other certified teachers do. I go hunt up a list of things my age-group of students need to know and make sure I'm not missing anything. A lot of things are covered by living a normal life. Holidays and traditions? No problem! Personal hygiene? Got it. Counting by fives? Oops, forgot that one. Note to self, next time we're playing counting games, remember to count by fives for a while.

It's not hard to give a child a well-rounded education in the playful context of everyday life. It's really quite amazing how children who watch an episode of Kipper where he builds an igloo are suddenly quite keen to learn how water turns into ice and a science experiment using a freezer can turn into homemade popsicles!


  1. Agreed! When I jumped into homeschooling-all at once with everyone...I was SO overwhelmed by all the choices of curriculum, and what would "work", etc. However, at the core the only thing I truly knew was, 1) God had called me to do this, and 2) even if I never opened a single text book for the kids, they would be better off at home, learning by His example and our experiences, than all the days spent at school.

    We use a curriculum, but I'm not in this so much for academic achievement. I'll never be one of the home school mom's with all the science experiments and crafts and all that-it just isn't me. For a while it really bothered me. However, now I see that my kids aren't much like that, anyway. They have their arts and crafts desires fulfilled either on their own, or in church during Bible lessons there. I'm here to instruct daily through living, example, and learning through the Word.

    Anyway, just thought I'd share how I can relate with your post. Thank you for it, Erin! God Bless!

  2. I just shared your first answer to the question with my friend Marsha on facebook. I love this post. I totally agree! Learning how to learn and enjoying the process is the most important thing we can teach our children, and ourselves!

  3. There are also books called "What Your (insert grade level) Needs to Know." You can find those at the library.

    I've thought about unschooling, but I have had fears that they would miss something or I'd get really lazy and not do anything with them, lol. But that's just me. I'm sure that unschooling can be done very successfully and that you are a good person to do it!

    I had a bad dream last night that my daughter went and signed herself up for public school. I freaked!

    God bless you guys!