Monday, July 04, 2005

More on curriculum

I'm still struggling with the decision of how to approach homeschooling next year. I ordered the Oak Meadow curriculum recently to take advantage of their June sale. My thinking was that although I am interested in unschooling, I am not confident in my ability to get the library and otherwise follow up on Parker's interests, and I wanted to have some materials on hand. I'm still evaluating the curriculum, and I have nothing against it, but my thinking is turning back to unschooling for the following reasons:

* I have three kids, and I think a less structured routine might suit the whole family better. I hope to read to them everyday, and discuss a little with each child what is of interest to them. I'm looking at the Five in a Row book as a guideline of how to use that method, and also as a starter booklist. With a less structured approach I can have a music day, and art day, and outside day (as a rough routine) that will suit all three kids in some way.

* I think I might be able to spend $250 better – that is, in a way that is more likely to be used regularly by Parker. I can buy books that he is interested in – those are the books that are likely to push him over the edge into reading, not the books that I or someone else think he should be reading.

* Parker is not always a compliant child, and I'm not at all confident that I can say "Hey, come check this out" and he will. I think the unschooling idea of parent as mentor and guide would be better for our relationship than the model of teacher and student.

It's funny that I feel defensive about even thinking about using a curriculum. Intellegent people whom I admire unschool, yet I lack confidence in our ablity to do it effectively. On the other hand, if I want to do it, kindergarten is clearly the time to try – we are not accountable, Parker is already nearly at first grade level, and if it works it will give me the confidence to go on – if it doesn't, I haven't lost much.

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