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On the Schoolroom Bookshelf: The Educated Child and Home Learning Year by Year February 8, 2008

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family, Homeschooling.
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In previous posts, I’ve explained some of our reasons for homeschooling our children.  One of the main ones is that we feel we can provide a better education for them one-on-one than they can get in a 30-1 public school classroom.  Our goal has not been to just replicate the curriculum at home either.  We’ve always striven to go beyond that in terms of both depth and breadth. 

There are many homeschooling curriculum companies out there, all striving to provide the best materials available.  We have looked at and adopted some of those texts, but still find them missing some important elements or find they don’t address our preferred learning styles.  This has left us in a bit of a quandary.  How do we make sure that we cover all the skills and content we need to be well educated?  I have a good foundation in education, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t overlook anything.  Beyond that, I had done all my classroom teaching at the middle school level.

The county school board was of no help at all.  A few weeks into Benjamin’s first grade year, we decided to withdraw him and homeschool.  When I asked the county office for a listing of content and skills at each grade level to refer to, they stared at me blankly.  I explained why I wanted them and the reply I got was, “Well, just go get one of those everything-for-first-grade workbooks at the dollar store.”  I was dumbfounded. 

I’ve since found listings on the state education site that gave me a little more help, but they aren’t very user-friendly.  There are lots of very long vague statements in education-ese.   I was looking for something a bit more straight-forward.  I found that in these two books.

The Educated Child by Bennett, Finn, and Cribb was not written with homeschooling in mind at all.  It was actually intended for parents that wanted to evaluate the public education their children were getting.  It is a rather thick book, but well worth reading.  It covers a good bit of the theory and reasoning behind the education children should be getting as well as outlining the topics and skills that should be covered grade by grade.  The authors advocate tackling far more weighty topics (in social studies especially) than I have ever seen in practice.  I would honestly be surprised if there are more than a handful of schools that would pass their evaluation. 

Home Learning Year by Year:  How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp has has also been very valuable.  The author writes from years of experience and also advocates a much more rigorous plan of skills and topics than public school books tackle. 

Both of these books have kept us at the library a lot, but we are really enjoying our learning.  I love seeing our children make the connections between what we have studied and items in the news or in documentaries we watch or novels we read.  They are developing a good understanding of cause and effect and are adding pieces to their mental “big picture.”

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