Homeschooling Without a Curriculum

Most people assume that homeschoolers use a pre-packaged program when teaching their children at home.

But this is just one way to homeschool. This article by Paula Cleary explains how she does things.

Before deciding if homeschooling without a curriculum is for you, you need to think about the advantages and disadvantages of using one.

If you are not sure how it would work - the article below explains how one family is doing homeschooling without a curriculum.

No Curriculum! by Paula Cleary

When we first started homeschooling we tried to replicate school because it seemed the only way to ensure all subjects would be covered. That was the way that seemed safe and 'proper'!

That was a few years ago now and whilst we do own a number of workbooks, these are to supplement their free learning time and focus the children when they are in an overly wild mood and I need to get something done round the house!

Instead of a curriculum our house is filled with nearly a thousand books on every subject you can imagine and some you didn't know existed! (many are second-hand), lots of board games, good quality toys and books to further their use: ie: boxes of lego and books and kits to make them into zany contraptions etc..., dozens of audiobooks, a few CD-Roms, art materials, trees to climb, a garden to tend, TV, and lots of other random stuff.

The children have regular access to bbc and other educational websites. They have subscriptions/membership to National Geographic kids magazine and RSPB kids magazines, membership of YAC (Young Archaeologists Club), Junior Gunners (Arsenal), English Heritage. They go to Tae Kwon-Do, Streetdance and Gymnastics club.

We go to home education groups and meet up with friends. We go on field trips as a family or as a group. We go to museums, parks, art galleries. Sometimes we go visiting friends or family for the weekend and explore things in that area. We go swimming. Sometimes the children have friends on sleepovers, sometimes kids stay here. Occasionally we go to the theatre or to a gig or festival.

Our life is full and busy some weeks and quiet and uneventful other weeks. Each week unfolds naturally. Whilst we have some structure by way of clubs or certain meet-ups etc... the rest is free style. The kids can often be found just out in the garden seemingly not doing much but in fact just communing with nature and pondering things, or listening to audiobooks for 3 hours straight or making something from lego to animate, or lounging around looking at books or something equally 'chilled'. Other times it is reallly hectic - the balance works itself out quite organically.

I would ask yourself whether you actually need a curriculum or whether the environment itself is the curriculum.

Do you spoonfeed everything to the child or leave tantalising books 'accidentally on purpose' lying around which you know they won't be able to resist. Do you hire tutors or tap into the wonderful array of people in your child's life who have a multitude of skills, attitudes, enthusiams and so on to learn from? The folks in our lives, even just a visiting plumber have so much to teach if we open up to the possibilities!

I'm not saying that homeschooling without a curriculum is better, but it is an alternative which we have found works really well for us.

The world is in itself a curriculum and the whole world is one big classroom. Every interaction within it is educational. Children ALWAYS learn when they are fully immersed in so much knowledge all around them. If they are free to explore it from intrinsic desire to find out more.

It takes a little courage and faith in the child and in the environment and in oneself to be open to experiences. And it needs a careful balance between being pro-active and re-active - but only you would be able to work out the right balance for your family.

The beauty of homeschooling is that it needn't be a static state but something you can tweak and change according to what's going on in your lives that day/week/year! And homeschooling without a curriculum makes it easy to do that.


Many thanks to Paula for sharing. Would you like to read more?:

More Homeschooling Curriculum Information
How to Start Homeschooling
Do I need a Homeschool Curriculum?

Homeschooling without a Curriculum

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