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Write Your Own Homeschool Curriculum, Part 1

© Beverley Paine

This article should help you work out what your children need to learn and how you can help them learn it. Home education allows you to design your own curriculum. Why leave the content and direction of their education up to others to decide? By writing your own curriculum you are able to personalise their education and offer truly individualised learning programs tailored to their unique learning needs, interests and developing personalities.

We do this by asking: How well do you know your child?

  • Do you know what they have learned at school or preschool?
  • Can you list your child's interests and hobbies?
  • Likes and dislikes?
  • Strengths - what he is good at or comes easily to him?
  • Limitations - what she finds challenging or avoids because it is too hard?
  • What makes him cranky?
  • And what makes him happy?
  • Do you know how your child learns best?

Understanding your children's individual learning and developmental needs will make it a lot easier to teach them at home.

Next ask yourself: 'What do I want my children to learn?'

Think long term: What kind of adults do you want them to become? This determines your educational philosophy.

Think short term: What do they need to know right now? This tells you what skills and content to focus on this year.

A curriculum is a road map to adulthood. There are things your children must learn along the way and there are interesting things that can be learned. Don't lose sight of the destination as you journey the homeschooling trail together.

Long term goals could be.

  • development of desirable character traits
  • building confidence and assertiveness based on a realistic sense of self
  • citizenship awareness and skills
  • healthy habits that promote well being
  • effective communication skills
  • effective problem solving skills
  • a well-developed sense of community service
  • spiritual fulfilment
  • a strong work ethic
  • a sense of fun and ability to play at all ages
  • strong personal friendships
  • participation and enjoyment of creative endeavours
  • demonstrates respect for all life and the environment

Short term goals could be really what you want to happen sometime today, sometime this week, this month or year.

  • understanding factors and equivalent fractions
  • planning, marketing and running a small enterprise (service or product)
  • learning to read
  • be nice to his brother!
  • growing a vegetable garden
  • learning to knit
  • achieve certificate in Nippers (Surf Life Saving)
  • work through Grade 4 grammar book
  • don't forget to feed the pets before dinner

Consider your children's interests, developmental ability, and hobbies. Think about learning in each of the curriculum subject areas. Review what your child already knows and can do and build on these. Spend a couple of minutes listing your short term goals. What will you focus on now, next week, this month, this year? You list might look like this:

  • Character traits: manages stubbornness more effectively, tones down
    'loudness', create more opportunities to practice talent for natural
    storytelling, etc
  • Academic goals: enter maths and science competition, be able to write
    reports, learn times tables, etc
  • Physical goals: start playing a team sport, achieve next Nippers certificate
    (surf life saving), etc
  • Work skills: work independently without supervision on some academic
    tasks, finishes most tasks without reminders, begins promptly, etc
  • Habits: writes in journal daily, feeds pets, tidies 'learning centres' before
    lunch, puts books back on shelves when not in use, etc
  • Social skills: says 'please' and 'thank you' without reminders, introduces
    self without prompting, negotiates rather than demands, etc
  • Spiritual development: meditates or reads Bible daily, does project on
    different religions

Keep adding goals to suit your unique family's needs! Home educators continually revise and build on their list of goals.

The new national Australian Curriculum "sets out the core knowledge, understanding, skills and general capabilities important for all Australian students" and when completed will be a great starting place for you to check that what you are doing with your family matches the expectations of society. As of August 2012, Maths, English, Science and History curriculum guidelines for years 1-10 were ready to use.

See also related articles listed under 'New to Homeschooling'

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful."

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You are invited to join Home Education Australia!
One well-organised space to find and share information,
resources links and more to support all home educators
across Australia, including a directory of posts and threads , where you can source all your needs related to home education and find what others are seeking and finding within Australia.

Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!

We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.

To see the full range of Beverley Paine's books on homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning visit Always Learning Books

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Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.

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