What does curriculum mean to a homeschooling family, you might wonder. That question has many different answers depending on the specific subject(s) being studied.
According to Wikipedia, the answer to “what does curriculum mean” goes like this: “In education, curriculum is broadly defined as the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process. The term often refers specifically to a planned sequence of instruction, or to a view of the student's experiences in terms of the educator's or school's instructional goals.
Curriculum may incorporate the planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational objectives.”
Now that we have heard what the experts have to say about curriculum, let me explain what it means to me and how I use that definition when deciding what I teach my children.
I see curriculum as the methods and materials used to teach my children a particular topic such as Bible, English, math, etc.
We will explore this in more detail as we go along, but simply stated it is the “what” that I want them to learn and the “how” to best get that done!
Another name for “the what” could also be called a syllabus or course of study that details the items needed to be studied and their specific order.
“The how” of completing the curriculum refers to the tactics and materials that are used to teach, practice, review, and assess the educational content.
For instance, if I was determining the home school curriculum for ninth grade algebra, I would select a specific course of study (the content to be taught) and the resources and methods used such as online instruction, traditional textbooks or a hybrid system of the two.
Additionally, my options would be to:
If I want to create my own 9th grade algebra program, I would have to form a detailed list of the concepts to be covered. Then, I would have to create lesson plans covering those topics or obtain videos that teach the subjects. Next, I would need to create or download printables to practice the concepts. Finally, I would need tests or quizzes to assess my child’s understanding of 9th grade algebra.
Obviously, if you choose to buy or borrow an established program, your decisions are simply do I buy secular or Christian homeschool curriculum and do I choose traditional textbook method, unit study or online format.
Curriculum is a program or system to teach concepts to your child, in the case of the home schooler. It is very much like a flowchart that gives sequential steps in a process.
Ultimately, your curriculum plan can be homemade and pulled together with free, printable downloads from the Internet. It can be an online system that you register with and follow. It can be traditional textbooks, workbooks, and tests you administer at home.
Look around on this site where I will share reviews of homeschool curriculum options such as Abeka, Bob Jones University Press, Apologia, and others.