Thursday, May 31, 2012

On Choosing a Curriculum

Strict Curriculum vs. Unschooling
Taking our puppy outside allows Sam plenty of
opportunities to learn about nature and get
plenty of exercise.
Both my husband and I have ADHD, so we knew our daughter would have it without a doubt. I also knew a traditional school setting wouldn’t allow her to excel, and certainly wouldn’t foster a life-long love of learning. When I decided to homeschool her, I found there were quite a few ways to do it. Choosing a curriculum proved difficult because most of them were patterned after a traditional school curriculum.
I came across a book called The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith. After reading just a few pages, I knew this was the way to go. Since ADHD causes my daughter to jump from one thing to another, I knew trying to set up a strict curriculum would only aggravate both of us. But, when I read about how unschooling worked, I was ecstatic.
Sandhill Cranes provide awesome lessons on nature
Unschooling allows the child to lead the way. The child learns what she wants, when she wants and how she wants. Everyday activities can easily become lessons. Bath time can be a science lesson on temperature, absorption or current. Chores can be lessons too! Cleaning her room can be a lesson in organization and spatial visualization. Feeding the animals can teach her how to measure the amount of food she gives the dog and what nutrients dogs need to be healthy. The opportunities are endless!
I think her favorite lessons are when we take the dog outside. She loves nature, and we live in the country. There is plenty of wildlife around our home. We have alligators in the pond outback which not only teaches her about safety around wild animals and respecting boundaries, but she learns about the alligator’s habitat and what part they play in the ecosystem.
We have a garden as well. She loves to plant things, and she learns responsibility and how to care for something and nurture it. She’s rewarded as the plant grows day by day. She also gets her exercise chasing the dog!
There are so many ways to incorporate different subjects into one lesson. The other day I found a website that allows you to type up your own handwriting worksheets. I wrote a paragraph about time. It read:
·         I am learning about time. There are 60 minutes in one hour and 30 minutes in one half hour.
I read it to her, I had her read it with me, and then she practiced writing it. She practiced reading and writing while at the same time learning how many minutes were in an hour etc. She had a blast with it! I recently wrote out a new, longer paragraph about alligators and the state of Florida.
Sam also loves to color. So I bought several coloring books, one for fun and 3 for learning. I bought one on geography, one on biology and one about anatomy. She now knows our state bird, where Florida is, and even our state flower! Plus, she had fun doing it, which means it will be easier for her to remember everything she’s learned.


  1. A great sharing of the curriculum for homeschooling. It sounds like a fun "chore", the homeschooling, but I do bet that it is demanding at times for the both of you. It is wonderful that you take the time, have the love as well as the patience to do this. :)

    1. Thanks Cypresso! It is fun, but not all the time. I do notice my patience wears thin some days, but I'm sure all parents and teachers feel that way.

  2. It's beautiful that you know what your child needs and are providing it for her. I was a teacher, and I know that it's not designed for everyone.