Creating a Homeschool Course of Study

If you’ve never heard the term “Scope and Sequence,” it is simply a list of what things should be learned in which order in a typical course of study from first through twelfth grade.

You can create your own Scope and Sequence by building a homeschool course of study for your children around all the things you realize that a person really needs to know, taking into account the educational philosophy that you tend to favor.

How do you do this?

First, take out a fresh piece of paper and make three columns. Divide each column into four rows. You should now have a grid on the page that has 12 compartments, one for each grade 1 through 12. Label the compartments 1 through 12. (Or, if you object to assigning grade levels to your children, label the compartments age 6 through age 17.)

Look over the lists you wrote for questions #2 and #3 in Common Educational Philosophies. Roughly place those “need to know” academics, practical skills, and relational skills on your 1st through 12th grade (or age 6 through age 17) grid, according to how mature you think your child needs to be before learning those academics or skills.

Now look back at your answers to question #1.

If (a) was your top choice, your educational philosophy leans toward essentialism. You probably need to consider traditional teaching materials such as Bob Jones or ABeka which have a pre-defined Scope and Sequence. Then you can supplement with materials that reflect your second, third, and fourth priorities and things that were on your lists for questions #2 and #3. (For an explanation of the Traditional Approach, GO HERE .)

If (b) was your first choice, you lean toward perennialism. The great books/Charlotte Mason-type approach or The Classical Approach is best suited as your primary home schooling course of study. This approach can be easily adapted so that it includes your lists in #2 and #3. (For an explanation of the Living Books/Charlotte Mason Approach and The Classical Approach, GO HERE .)

If (c) was your first choice, then you tend to be a progressivist. A more experiential, practical, hands-on approach to learning is the best fit for your family. This approach can be easily adapted so that it includes your lists in #2 and #3.

If (d) was your first choice, you lean toward existentialism as an educational philosophy. An “identity-directed” approach will work best for your children, with tailored courses of study that reflect each child’s interests and giftings. You can also cover what was on your lists in #2 and #3. (See our article on “Identity-Directed Home Schooling.“)

Now you are ready to buy your teaching materials. You understand the philosophies and educational approaches that different home schooling materials are coming from, you know your children’s learning styles, you know your own educational philosophy, and you know what academics, practical skills, and relational skills are important for you to cover with your child in the coming school year. You also have a feel for the different products that are available.

Prepare to several hundred dollars and maybe a few months getting clear about what you want to do. If it makes you feel any better about the amount of time and money you have to spend getting ready to teach your children, think of it this way: The average public school teacher has spent four to six years and twenty to fifty thousand dollars learning how to teach your children. Whyshouldn’t you spend some time and money preparing yourself?

However, and this is a BIG however, don’t think that you have to have everything figured out before you begin. You can adapt as you go. So loosen up and accept the fact that some of what you try will be a total waste of time, energy and money. This is all a part of learning what works for you and for your children. Consider it payment of your tuition in Home Educating U.

So, just relax and have fun with home schooling!

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