A Learning Naturally Curriculum for my Adolescent Son
© Beverley Paine, 1997
(first published in Getting Started with Homeschooling Practical Considerations)
A few years ago I brainstormed a list of objectives I'd like my son, Roger, to achieve in his early adolescence. As time went by I realised these reflected a longer growth and development time frame, and added some more objectives as the need arose. It forms a pretty basic curriculum, covering many life skills. To this we added interest generated activities, some that he came up with and ones we developed as a family. These included solar technology, computer upgrade and repairs, modelling using LEGO, medieval weapons, astronomy, circus skills, South Australian historyand many others. A highschool equivalent curriculum for home education doesn't have to follow what schools do very closely. Covering the basics is essential and can be worked out using common sense. I did use the National Curriculum Guidelines in places to help me develop this, and to ensure that I was covering similar material and skills over time.
Basic First Aid, including CPR
What is good diet for me?
Why do I eat the food I do?
How healthy is "healthy" food?
Where does my food come from?
Additives to foods - how are foods processed?
What's my opinion on genetic engineering and food?
Getting Involved in Community Organisations
Trees For Life
Local Exchange Trading System
Meals on Wheels (and other Senior Citizens Organisations)
Sport and Recreation
Overseas Aid/ Human Rights
Visit Local Council, Parliament
Understand meeting formats and processes, decision making, planning and development locally
How and why rules are made, and do they work
How does this all affect me?
Do kids have any power, rights, how do they assert them if they do?
Understanding of different cultural practices in Australia
Especially related to current affairs, eg visit by Delai Lama
Ways in which different Australians practice and celebrate cultural heritage, eg visit exhibitions, celebrations, places of religious worship (with respect)
Look into historical causes of wars, etc, around the world - changing borders, politics, greed, religious, resource hoarding
form some opinions based on fact about Australia 's multicultural identity, population control, immigration policies
Positive thinking practice
Personal empowerment/ assertiveness training
Regular exercise program, recreation and sport
Conflict resolution strategies
Recognising and managing own stress levels and understanding causative
Camping and survival skills - bushcraft
Cooking for different occasions, different groups of people
Balanced, appropriate menus
Preparation, clearing away
Maintenance of clothes
Basic sewing skills
Answering and making (all types of calls)
Information accessing (consumer, information services, businesses, operator)
using the White and Yellow pages
Staying safe in the community
Peer pressure to conform
Invasion of privacy
Safety in the home and environment
Make a useful piece of furniture, a kid's toy - using wood/metal/plastics/fibre
Safe use of tools
Care of tools
Including power tools
Reading the "bottom line" - how what I am watching, reading, listening too is trying to sell me an idea or message and is it true or true for me or true for all people?
The techniques used to "sell" ideas , Opinions and products (mass manipulation and control through technology and images, small bytes of information repeated, etc)
What do I want, what do I need - really?
How has the environment I live in changed - recent past, 50 years, 150 years, 1000 years, 10,000 years, 500 million years?
What do I think about this?
How is this environment different from others I know (visit and compare)?
What is it like in other countries
How does landscape (and climate) affect how people use the land
How are "borders" of countries determined
is colonisation a good/bad thing - is it happening in the world now, where, who were the first colonisers
What other species of life "colonise" and What effect does this have on the local flora and fauna
Gardening - make a garden
Use of plants (food, building, fibre, fuel, aesthetics, etc)
Wild foods, traditional uses across cultures (Aboriginal, herbal remedies)
Use of plants and indigenous plants in the area
Become involved in a conservation effort (why, how, where, effectiveness, responsibility)
Grow own food, including harvest, care, composting, chemicals, treatment (storage, preservation)
Become a Trees For Life grower
Start recycling and reduce consumption.
Do some simple science experiments in biology, physics, chemistry
Visit Investigator Science Centre, Museum, Natural History Centre
Start a natural history collection - identify and label, sort and classify (shells, fossils, bones, rocks, pressed plants)
Experiment with clay - raku firing (figures, sculpture, wind chimes, wall plaques, plates, pots, tiles)
Make something or things to sell at a LETS market stall
Organise your own stall at a local market
Organise a joint stall at another LETS region market
Become involved in writing for local publications - newspapers, local newsletters, magazines, youth publications
Letters to the editor
Responses to articles
What is good and bad in the area, how things could be better for kids
Creative writing - own poems, short stories, illustrations, puzzles, cartoons, etc
Begin car maintenance
Oil and water
Pull bits of engine, car to pieces and rebuild
Use of tools, including power tools
Visit a mechanics shop
Use of petrol/gas bowser
Car cleaning and care
Open a bank account
Organise home weekly budget for family or yearly one for self
Write personal an business letters
Filling our all sorts of forms
Personal journal on a regular basis
Dream journal writing
Keep own calendar
Demonstrate (and practice) proficiency in basic maths functions (plus, minus, divide, multiply) to four digits, including decimals
Times table, fractions and decimals
Be able to estimate with reasonable accuracy
practice in real life mental calculations (shopping, cooking, making things)
Accurate conversion in measurements (weight, capacity, length - eg. metres to kilometres)
Use spacial terms (geometric) to describe things (spherical, angle, parallel, etc)
Be able to draw to scale
read charts, graphs (weather, statistics, in media)
Read and interpret timetables
Read maps, flow charts
Devise ways to manage own time - stay on task, finish things, avoid distractions, making and meeting contracts and agreements to do things in a time frame - finding out what it is I really want to do
Understand what is happening to the adolescent body
How it affects moods and therefore relationships
How can we understand the hormonal effect to maintain harmonious relations (diet, activity, meditation, relaxation, understanding body rhythms and cycles, need for solitude and privacy)
What do I need to feel good and comfortable about physical changes?
Health and Safety around drugs, alcohol, tobacco, chemicals, food addictions - why? (disease and hazards)
Be able to use computers and technology in the local and other libraries to access information and resources
Use dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedias, atlases (and other maps)
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment 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. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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