The Search for Homeschool Curriculum

913588_books_and_pages.jpgLittle do people know that when they are on the search for homeschool curriculum, what they are looking for isn’t the best book or superior materials — they are searching for themselves. When they find that perfect curriculum, and that perfect set of activities, projects, approaches to education, they have found what was already inside them. They have found themselves, and they have found their children.

When we know ourselves, and we know our kids, the search for curriculum stops, and it becomes a process of endless discovery.

When we search outside of ourselves for the answer, we will look forever, until we find the thing that mirrors back onto ourselves. When we get that mirror, we can give the outside thing the credit, or we can admit that, in fact, that thing is what we are looking for because it showed us who we are. Everything we need is inside us already. It just sometimes takes things on the outside to show that to us. Then the question is, can we be honest about it?

Searching for the right curriculum for our kids at home is a worthy search, so long as we realize it’s a search for discovering our children, not a search for a way to make our children be the ideal person we want them to be. If we have an ideal of who our children are supposed to be, we’ll be searching for the right curriculum until our children leave home.

I propose that we change our search for curriculum into a frame of mind of discovery. When we see it as a window into our children’s world, and into our own hearts, it will become an entirely different process. And the best thing? It creates less grief. Because instead of being frustrated that a curriculum doesn’t work, instead, we can be glad because it has taught us something about ourselves and our children. Every trial and error we make adds to the equation, and no effort is worthless, no time is wasted, and probably the most important, no money is wasted.

Curriculum is not the enemy. It’s not any more an enemy as the proverbial hammer is to a new carpenter. How and why we use any kind of non-experiential curriculum (i.e. workbooks and textbooks) is far more important than whether or not we are using it in the first place.

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10 Responses to “The Search for Homeschool Curriculum”

  1. suburbancorrespondent Says:

    Oh, this is so cool – I never thought of it quite that way before (and believe me, I’ve given it a lot of thought).

  2. Lizabeth Says:

    Right on! I love curriculum-less homeschooling. Or writing the plan after you’ve done the school.

  3. Tana Says:

    You’re so good at freeing us up and letting us do what we need to do rather than being tied down to tired conventions! Thank you!

  4. Jean Says:

    Hurray! I don’t have to carry the guilt anymore! I’ve purchased every curriculum available and none of them “fit” our family. Thanks for reassuring us that it’s okay. You have no idea how much comfort your words bring.

  5. sunniemom Says:

    I think this philosophy is so important in the deschooling process. Until you can let go of the dependency on a program or textbook, and see learning as a liberating process, your curriculum will be using you, instead of you using it.

    I remember the day I had that epiphany- that I needed to figure out what our purpose for home education was, and how to find ways to meet that purpose, instead of molding my family to meet the bland standards of a scope and sequence. Ugh.

    Nice post, Tammy- will this be a chapter in Deschooling Gently, The Sequel? 😀

  6. el burro Says:

    What an incredibly perceptive way of looking at the whole idea of homeschool curricula. I think it ties into our entrenched belief that learning isn’t learning unless it’s done with special books, special materials, in the right place, at the right time.

  7. Sandra Foyt Says:

    Excellent point! So, is this why our “curriculum” is whatever works at the moment, interspersed with bursts of productivity, and embelished with sparks of creativity – it’s because that’s who we are? Cool!

    BTW, my son wants to know if there is a Pokemon curriculum because that would really reflect who he is.

  8. Tara Says:

    Oh thank you for this! Now I know why I have such a hard time just picking up any old thing and going with it. I have to “get that feeling” before I’ll go with something and many times I just think, oh heck, we won’t use any of it. We’ll just read and discuss and see what comes out of it all.

  9. Tammy Says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    suburbancorrespondant – glad that you liked it. Thank you for stopping by.

    Lizabeth – that’s a great way to go about it. Writing the plan afterwards gives us a really good perspective.

    Tana – You’re already free, you know that 🙂 I just remind you. 🙂

    Jean – so awesome! Can’t get much better than guilt free homeschooling 🙂

    sunniemom – hmmm. Deschooling Gently – the sequel. Not a bad idea! Thanks!

    el burro – exactly. We’re always looking outside ourselves for the “right” way to learn, when it’s already in us.

    Sandra – Yes! There is, it’s http://www.pokemonlearningleague.com

    Tara – exactly. Some stuff is good for starting a conversation or a segue into something else, and that’s OK too!

  10. Core Says:

    Great post.


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