Saturday, April 17, 2021

Writing A Curriculum: The Basics

Part of last week's school work: a snack box from Spain, review of Spanish terms before proceeding to new lessons, the skeletal system, Harry Potter books (and a report on the differences of the book and movie).The Universal Yums boxes initially wasn't part of the week's lesson plans, but we wound up doing the box for Friday social studies. It's always important to remain flexible and make sure your lesson plans can be manuevered around.

 I've been asked several times this week how I write curriculum for my children. My first answer is always, "I determine what they want to study and learn and then I decide how to teach it to them." While that's pretty much how it goes, it is a little bit more involved than that. In between finding out what they want to learn and teaching, I must determine the how, why, and everything else. As I've learned throughout this school year, it's a lot. Even when I'm handed a curriculum already done, I still have to determine how I'm going to teach it. 

Lesson planning comes easily for me since I have done it for over ten years with daycare. It's a bit more involved now with homeschooling (obviously), but for the most part, it's easy. It was only when questioned about it that I thought about my process. In previous years, I've attempted "proper" curriculum or lesson planning, but I definitely do better when I'm doing my own thing. Here's a breakdown of what I do to make our homeschool curriculum for these last couple of months of our school year:

1.) Choose the subject. Not as in a class subject, but what in that particular class is the subject matter? What exactly am I teaching? If it's math, am I teaching fractions? Decimals? At this stage, I don't need to know how I'm going to teach it, but simply what I'm teaching.

2.) What do I want my student(s)/child(ren) to get out of the the teaching? What exactly do I hope they learn when it's all said and done? Maybe it's to be familiar with the terms. Maybe it's to fully understand a certain topic or subject. Maybe it's to help teach a bigger concept at a later time, simply by laying the foundation. This school year I have put a focus on how my children can apply what they're learning to every day life. 

3.) I take my subject and objective, then break it down. What do my kids need to learn first? I take a look at the steps that will be needed in order to teach the objective. Take for example: Spanish. We're working on properly writing sentences such as "I like triangles," "I want to go to the park," "I eat sandwiches for lunch." I wouldn't start by teaching my kids just those phrases. We spent months on learning foods, animals, shapes, colors, etc. followed by the phrases, "I want," "to go," "eat," etc. From there, it's quite easy for them to put phrases and sentences together on their own. 

4.) Lesson plan. This is where I take what I'm teaching, what I want students to learn, I've broken down steps, and put it into plans. I do planning by the day, with room to manuever if there's something that's not understood or if the way I'm teaching it just isn't working or if something else comes up. 

I subscribe to and use many of their resoures, particularly the worksheets. It's a great way to practice and check to make sure they've understood what was taught. While there are lesson plans on the site, I tend to prefer making my own. I use my children's preferred style of learning (hands on and interactive) for creating my teaching plans, from how they learn the material right now to their "tests" and assessments.

An important piece of lesson planning is carefully looking at my #3. If I'm teaching something that has been built upon a certain concept, occasionally we'll go back and do a review. All of that is taken into account in the lesson planning phase.