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My eyes began to blur as I stared at the list of books, page numbers, and mapping activities. The bouncing around of chapters and books was making me delirious. Yes, the Middle Ages was a complicated time, as all of history, but was there a legitimate reason for implementing such a complex curriculum?
Would it benefit my children to have me pulling my hair out to stay “on track”?
Could I not simplify this and make everyone happier?
What is a Curriculum?
A curriculum is defined as the aggregate of courses of study given in a school, college, or university.
Hmmm, I’m not a school.
The synonyms for curriculum are education program, syllabus, modules, schedule, and subjects.
I’m also not sure how those relate to home and self-education.
So who is in charge here, me or the curriculum?
It’s a strange dance we homeschoolers engage in with curriculum, is it our tool or master? Or both? I think at first we’re struggling to find our feet and prove ourselves worthy of homeschooling. It also makes those uncomfortable conversations with family, friends, and strangers a little easier if you can point to all the checkboxes we’re dutifully completing.
However, the biggest reason may be that we can’t envision another way.
We’re bombarded, especially at this time of year, with “Back to School” sales, memes, and questions.
“When do we start back”?
“How long of a break do you take”?
“Do you follow the school calendar”?
Most people ask these questions because they genuinely believe children will only learn when forced during those 180 days of school. They can’t imagine that children possess any innate curiosity. Worst of all, they believe we must measure them incessantly to determine whether they are learning what they “should” and believe that an A is a real determinant of a child’s intelligence.
As homeschoolers, we are all striving for something better. We all have different ideas of how to get there. Our goals may be unique, but we are all focused on providing our children with an individualized education.
What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all. -John Holt
This quote sums up my philosophy of home education entirely; it isn’t school at all. Some may wish to create a school-at-home that surpasses even the best of schools in their discipline and scope, but I prefer something completely different.
Home isn’t school. It really can’t be. It’s a place where people feel free to be themselves, to move in freedom, and to pursue their interests.
Curriculum of Confidence
What do homeschoolers need?
We need to create a Curriculum of Confidence.
We need to be confident in the path we’ve chosen. Confident our children are learning. Convinced that self-education is the only true education. And sure they will grow into capable, independent adults without the coercion of school.
Building this confidence obviously takes time, but if we pursue it as our chosen curriculum, we’ll get there so much faster.
No More Boxes
So I shut the guide and pulled out the book we were reading. I went back to the chapters we had skipped in pursuit of following the curriculum. In doing so, we learned that Japan has the longest reigning monarchy and that China began building a Grand Canal to facilitate North/South trade 1,500 years ago.
Maybe the guide would have told me to go back to these chapters at some point, but why make it more difficult.
Be confident, just open the book and read.
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