Tips & Tools to Customize Your Homeschool Curriculum
Tips & Tools to Customize Your HomeschoolFor many homeschool families, one of the biggest wins is that they can customize each child's learning plan every year.
That means that students are able to move at their own pace. Of course, it also means that at any given time during the school year, homeschool students (and parents) are likely to be confused by the question "What grade are you in?" since they may be using different levels of curricula in their various subjects.
Children who have strengths in a particular area can move ahead, and those who need to review skills can focus on that. Homeschooling allows them to learn and grow in each subject when they are ready.
Purchasing a homeschool curriculum can be a confusing prospect sometimes. It has to be flexible enough to cover and review beginning skills and yet needs to be expandable to challenge children who are ready to move on.
That flexibility is built-in with the unit study method. Unit studies allow your child to explore a topic extensively and make connections naturally because of the integration of the subjects into each topical study.
5 Tips for Customizing Your CurriculumAs I mentioned, unit study curricula like the Homeschool Complete curriculum products have flexibility built into them, but any curriculum can be used creatively as a tool to guide your child's learning each year. Here are some ideas for creating a more customized plan for your child:
- Add hands-on activities, games, and always do the experiments, especially if your child is a kinesthetic learner! These activities are actually facilitating learning not just making the worksheets fun.
- Try a four day school week and use that fifth day to take a trip to the museum, park, library, or a local historical site that the kids have learned about. This brings learning into real life for them.
- Introduce projects into your school day. Brainstorm with them and the let the kids create a project based on what they are excited about learning. Then get them the resources they need, and let them create!
- Do not be a slave to the curriculum - they do not have to complete every worksheet and read every page in order to learn the skills they need. They acquire knowledge in lots of ways, not just through a curriculum.
- Instead of purchasing a Big Box traditional curriculum for each subject, try creating a custom plan this year. It can cost you less, and be a lot more fun.
5 Tools for Individualizing Your Homeschool PlanIt's easy to throw out catchy phrases but we homeschoolers need practical tips. Here are few tools that we hope will get you thinking about creative ways your kids can learn all year long without a full priced curriculum that was created for a Christian school or classroom.
- Get a book about learning styles and learning preferences and go over this with your children. The best I have found is Discover Your Child's Learning Style by educators Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Kindle Hodson.
- Instead of purchasing a Literature textbook with excerpts, or stories with limited vocabulary, choose whole books that your child will love to read.
- Don't be afraid to use audiobooks - if your child is an auditory learner they are going to soak up the knowledge like a sponge. If that is not their natural bent, you are helping them to strengthen that area which will be useful when they need to learn in a lecture situation.
- Get games; games are an amazing learning tool. Even games that are not intended to be educational teach and reinforce valuable skills. Play games as part of your regular school day. The kids are learning.
- Use videos; there are so many great video resources for every subject. Find them and add them to your unit study or curriculum for added value that will be interesting and valuable for every learning style.
Any of the above tips or tools can be added to whatever curriculum you are using to create an atmosphere of learning all day. You don't have to spend a lot to give your children a customized learning plan that allows them to blossom.
When you opt-in to getting emails, you also get a free game you can use in your homeschool as well as downloads of any other FREEBIES we come up with during the school year. We would love to keep in touch!
Written By: Merit Kirkpatrick