Posted by: waterwalkerla | December 31, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

Once we decided to home school our children, I (naively) thought we were done with the hard choices.  HA!  It turns out that how to educate our children may just have been the easiest decision of them all.  As I began to read books and websites about home schooling I learned that there was a lot I had to learn.  And since we finalized our decision to home school in July and wanted to start the school year right after Labor Day (when our children would have started a public or private school year) I had a very short time to get myself educated.

Our first decision was the format of our home school.  As I poured through advice from friends and advisors, it appeared to me that there were three main formats to choose from – with an infinite number of variations in between.  Our format choices, as it appeared to us, were Unschooling, Unit Study, and School at Home.  Based on our personalities and the personalities of our children, we decided that School at Home was definitely the format that would work best for our home school.  Unschooling was just too far outside our comfort zone and I am way too flighty to think that I could continue to keep my children reigned in doing unit studies.

Once that decision was made, an even tougher one loomed.  Which curriculum, if any, would we use.  When our children were in public school, they used a number of secular texts.  In Christian school, they used Abeka.  In both of those settings, we were removed from the decision.  Our children used the curriculum that was chosen by the school.  Period.  Now, however, we were in control.  Would we develop our own curriculum, pulling from various texts and sources?  Would we use a prepared curriculum especially for homeschoolers?  We opted for a curriculum that was already prepared.  In part, this was the best decision for us because of the time factor.  However, I believe we would have gone this route regardless because it just made the most sense for us.

Of course, every decision lead to more choices.  While prepared curriculum would we choose?  We knew that we wanted to go with a Christian-based curriculum, however there are several good ones from which to choose.  We looked through Abeka, Bob Jones, and Alpha Omega.  Each curriculum had its strong and weak points.  In the end, we decided to go with Alpha Omega.  We use a combination of the Life Pak and Switched On School House courses. 

So there you have it, a glimpse into the format and curriculum used in our family home school.  Of course, so much more went into the planning – from daily schedules to lesson planning – but I think those are topics best left for another post!

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