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Public school curriculum or 'unschooling', that is the question
March 5, 2014 at 7:11 PM

As a brand spanking new homeschooler,  i have SOOO many questions.   My 7th grade DD is finishing up the school year at home.  My question for the experienced homeschoolers, do you teach by the state recommended standards or do you let your child, particularly your teen, help to decide what to pursue?   My biggest fear is that my DD will not learn all that she is supposed to learn and it is hard to trust myself and the programs we chose to use that everything will be covered.  However, I read alot of stories about parents who let their kids pick their subjects and interests, for example, if the child is interested in being a veterinarian, they will focus on biology, the history of dogs-cats, etc.., stories about animals for language arts, etc....

thanks for any and all help!


  • Silverkitty
    March 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    With my 12 yo we do a mix.  I add in what my daughter doesn't choose, that I think she should learn.

    My daugher chose her math, literature, and electives.  She helped chose what history and science we will be going.  I chose what writing and grammar we will be doing.

  • KickButtMama
    March 5, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    I let my older students (tween'er & teen) do child-led learning. Similar to unschool. 

  • KickButtMama
    March 5, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    But I wouldn't ever follow our state's curriculum. It blows.

  • JadeTigr7
    March 5, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Neither really.  I use boxed curriculum but tweak things.  I don't necessarily do unschooling, but I do let them do projects based of their interests.  I honestly have no clue what the standards are for this state though.  I just teach what I believe they should know, and to their interests past that.

  • usmom3
    by usmom3
    March 5, 2014 at 8:15 PM

     Unschooling but I am biased because that is what we do with all of them!

  • 4wildbeasts
    March 5, 2014 at 8:59 PM
    I teach all of the same subjects that are taught in public school, but concentrate on things that my children are interested in. For example, in science we are currently learning about birds and in history we are learning about different religions because that is what interests my kids. My children are probably not learning the exact same thing as the kids their age who are in public school, but they are learning science and history.
  • Bleacheddecay
    March 5, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    I think unschool is the way to go if you start from the first. However, if they've been in school up until now it's tough because they typically expect to be entertained, to hate learning and everything handed to them on a silver platter.

    I recommend deschooling, reading The Teenage Liberation Handbook and then hitting the state recommended subjects only doing them "out of the box" in ways your kids or you come up with. NOT in traditional ways.

  • bluerooffarm
    March 5, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    I wouldn't go with the state's curriculum.  I give my kids a lot of options and let them discuss their choices, but I do make the final decisions.  After a while, the kids get very good at making good choices.

  • NYCitymomx3
    March 6, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    I don't teach by any state standards either.  Ds (7th grade) has a big say in what we use and what our schedule is like.  We cover all the main subjects with about 2 hours a day of formal learning.  The rest of the day he is free to pursue his interests.  He has dreams of college and a lucrative STEM-related career, so he prefers a schedule with hand-picked, pieced-together curriculum, along with self-created projects that are computer or engineering related.  

    What I love about homeschooling is the amount of time a child can devote to what they love.  So much learning comes from that - more than any uninvited teaching can procure.

  • tairakittie
    March 6, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    I use the schools curric as a slight guideline of the things my kids should know and when, BUT my 6 year old has regressed a bit (though I was also trying to deschool her since attending prek caused some issues). She currently has no real intrest in things she used to school wise, like reading and writing and instead has took it upon her self to learn about animals and anatomy. O.o Would I have ever thought to let my DD slide on acedemics and persue her passion isntead at this age? Nope, but I am letting the unschooling work its magic. I say magic because my 4yo has surpassed his sister. He doesnt write very well yet but can (So can DD she just chooses not to), but he can read and both are doing 1st grade level math and science. If I would have followed the school recommened course, DD would be doing kinder level and DS would be prek, but both are somewhere between K and 1st, so I follow their cues. Its really hard letting go of what we believe homeschooling is suppose to look like. I drilled my two through preschool work, only because THEY kept asking for workbooks. I had a system set up every day, a set schedule, but it eventually stopped working the older they got, so now we unschool completely. They work on what they want to, when they want to, because THEY want to. I know my two are much younger, im not sure how its going to work when they are teens. But at this point, I will not force my kids to learn anything they dont want to, I wont force them to do anything they dont want to. I encourage them to do things, I present them with oppertunities and I explain to them why they are important, its up to them to want to do those things. Most countries dont even start formal education until the age of 7, knowing that and how advanced my two started out, I have some confidence in letting them un and de school for now and I will start adding harder subjects as they get older. Right now everything we do is in fun. They learned how coins work because they asked and I explained it to them, we taped each coin to a piece of paper and I wrote out the amount, in word and number form, of each coin. Then we did some math with the coins. My 4 year old can now understand the value of each coin and if you add a penny to a nickel, you get $.06, not $.02. Stuff like that. :) Its really up to you and what you feel is best for YOU and your DD. If she is struggling with a subject, just come back to it later and work on something she enjoys, there is always time to learn the other stuff!!

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