14 Jan 2014

Mr Curious' Hackschooling curriculum Part 2

When I set out to devise Mr Curious' Hackschooling Curriculum, it was by no means a small task. I knew that using only, off the shelf work books would not work for him, but I had no idea where to begin. I googled 'Homeschool Curriculums' and found inumerable American resources of boxed, ready made homeschooling curriculums. The idea of opening a box, to find a complete homeschool syllabus that we could start work on, was only too tempting! The one hesitation I had, was that Mr Curious, being very independent in his undertakings, might possibly resist my well meaning attempts at trying to educate him!  Another reason, I could not risk buying a full homeschool curriculum was, that Mr Curious was asynchronous in his academic achievements and a one size fits all homeschool curriculum, would probably not have met his needs.

  • CHARLOTTE MASON (classical- literature based)

I then resorted to adapt various methods, to suit his learning style. We love Charlotte Mason for its rich literature and the fact that Mr Curious could not be more happier than when reading. However the Charlotte Mason homeschool approach is a complete (except for maths) approach, and if implemented as it should, this homeschool approach would not have suited Mr Curious' energetic and impatient nature very well. The Charlotte Mason approach also demands a lot of teaching  input in the early years and this component, I suspected might not work for us. I still wanted to give the Charlotte Mason homeschool approach a try despite all odds, so we started the literature section with the year two book list . Mr Curious' first read was, Understood Betsy, followed by oral narration. He really enjoyed the story and the written form, despite the unfamiliarity of the narrative style. When we started the second text though, which was Wind in the Willows, the vocabulary was more difficult and Mr Curious found the task of narrating, laborious.He bemoaned that, he could not understand the meaning of all the words and thus was not able to relish the story. For Mr Curious, enjoyment is surely, the most important aspect of learning! In fact, I should say, the most important aspect of living!

  • ROBINSON HOMESCHOOLING CURRICULUM (self teaching- academically rigorous)
During this time, I stumbled upon the Robinson Homeschooling Curriculum. I was immediately drawn to it, not by its academic rigour, but its promise of, inculcating in the child a sense of responsibility for their work. I found that the self teaching method would be one that would work well with Mr Curious' persona. I however, did not purchase the curriculum, as I wanted it customised to Mr Curious' needs. The Robinson Homeschooling Curriculum is also literature rich but start the student on easier classics than the Charlotte Mason approach, as the former curriculum encourages and trains the  student to work independent of, the teacher. I went back to Ambleside online, one of the websites, for the Charlotte Mason  homeschooling approach, and chose the year one reading list (we are now supposed to be in year 3, in terms of UK academic schooling) and using some books from the list, Mr Curious started working independently on his assigned reading and narration in September 2013. While reading the books from the year one book list combined with other books, Mr Curious has also undertaken written narrations. His writing, which was abysmal when he left school 18 months ago, has significantly improved with this method. Mr Curious has been following the self teaching process with his maths program as well, and he is gaining in confidence faster than anticipated, as he has realised that he has the potential to learn independently.

  • THE WELL TRAINED MIND (classical education- complete curriculum)

TheWell Trained Mind is another thorough homeschool curriculum, from preschool up to secondary. The book, lists and make recommendations for resources, that helps you put together a complete homeschool curriculum, one which enables the student to have, a classical education.The amount of work recommended would have been too substantial for Mr Curious, but I love that the author emphasises that the student should master the basics of reading, writing and numeracy and keeping it simple before adding additional subjects. We have adopted  The Well Trained Mind homeschooling methodology for our history curriculum and Mr Curious is exploring history starting with, the beginning of life on earth.

  • SINGAPORE MATHS (uses mastery concept)
After much reading, Mr Curious' Papa stumbled upon  Singapore Maths. It was an instant hit with Mr Curious. The well laid out pages with illustrations, step by step explanations he can follow on his own and lack of 'busy work' made this maths syllabus a favourite in our home. Manipulatives can also be included with this maths curriculum and the texts includes simple maths games that enhances the student's learning experience.

The Unschooling Method that we have incorporated into our homeschooling life, is that inspired by John Holt. Having read a couple of his works, and witnessing the cognitive progress of Miss Delightful, who was 2 at the time and undergoing great leaps of physical and mental development, I realised the tremendous learning potential of our everyday life. Thus,  I make sure that both Mr Curious and Miss Delightful have ample unstructured time during their days, when they engage in a variety of self-led activities. Their play has always been child led. Even as babies, they have always had the freedom of following their intuition while playing. 

Unschooling inpired me to think outside of the norm of tradition. It gave me the encouragement to go with the flow and to see the student as an individual, intelligent and capable. I became less concerned, about the fact that Mr Curious is not adhering to the work schedule and might therefore, somehow fall behind in eduational terms. I now allow myself to enjoy the spontaneous learning opportunities he creates for himself and others.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative, interesting and well designed blog.