If you get a group of homeschooling moms together, invariably the conversation turns to CURRICULUM.
This can go several directions, but usually goes one of two ways: either a group of moms all agree on methods and programs, and they have a fun chat about it, OR you will have some who agree, and one or more whose programs differ greatly and it becomes a dividing point.
The majority who agree can come across almost with a mob mentality to the “odd woman out”.
I have been that mom, listening to the homeschool “pros” talk about their kids and their curriculum.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is a a certain textbook curriculum, or a strict classical method from one source or another. These mothers always seem to have it all figured out, and feel the need to pass it on to others. Their kids are all highly intelligent, can speak at least two languages fluently (three if you count Latin), and their pooh doesn’t stink, either. It can make a newer homeschooler feel very small and inadequate.
What is curriculum anyway?
Curriculum is a TOOL.
Curriculum is a means to get to where you are GOING. It helps you meet your goals for your kids.
Curriculum is NOT the goal.
The goal of homeschooling is much bigger and broader than the goal of a public school education. A public school focuses on numbers, curriculum, and outcomes. Yes, we also want to give our kids a good education, but we want more than that.
We want them to hit those goals and milestones (like mastering long division, or Spanish 3) but by educating our children at home we are also building into them a strong sense of family, faith, belonging, and community-mindedness.
So why the conflict?
Does it really matter when my child mastered multiplication, or started learning a foreign language? And what if we never teach them a foreign language? It doesn’t make us any less than any other home educating family. It just means we are different and we are doing what works for us. Competition may be healthy in sales and sports, but among homeschoolers this simply should not exist.
Homeschooling as a whole is made up of families and kids from all sorts of backgrounds and teaching methods. From textbooks to unschooling, unit study to classical method, Christian to pagan, cursive first to keyboarding only, gifted to severly autistic or developmentally delayed, and everything in between, we are all home educators.
We love our kids and want to give them the best education we can, in the way we feel is best.
Curriculum decisions should never be something to hold over someone else’s head as a standard, and personal choice in teaching methods should never be revered or scorned. Some of the most judgmental people I’ve seen have been in Christian homeschooling circles.
I’m pretty sure Paul didn’t say “Follow me as I follow the Classical method, guaranteed to make your children brilliant”. No, he said “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
When you are with your group of homeschooling friends, what do others hear YOU say?