Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is There a Perfect Curriculum?

Over the years I have tried various curriculums.  I have watched others start & stop many more. Every summer I revisit websites of curriculum that I have admired. Each summer I am tempted to buy a complete package from several of them. The whole idea of having everything planned out and thought through is so appealing to me. I especially love all the literature based, Charlotte Mason styled curriculum out there. Every year there are more. They seduce me with all their colorful covers & gridded lesson plans. How I love the idea of the gridded lesson plan. There it is before me all laid our subject by subject, day by day. How this appeals to my detail oriented mind. "You've tried this before," an inner voice says. "Looks like a prettier conveyor belt to me." "And a lot less work for me!" I think to myself. Inspiring, but not requiring is much harder work!

Yes, it is an illusion. Life & learning do not unfold in a neat grid. Bullet points have facts, but no flavor. There is security in these curricula, but no life. There is the security of "getting it covered", but there is not liberty.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~ Benjamin Franklin

The Liberty to direct your path in learning. The Freedom to Fall In Love with Life & Learning. So I wonder what is a perfect curriculum. I have thought about this a lot the last few weeks. 

Today in my quiet time, I thought about Jesus. I asked myself about His example of teaching. As far as I can see He did 2 things.  1. Told stories (parables) & discussed them (and other issues) with his disciples, 2. Lived as a perfect example for us.  So, this boils down to talking & example. In terms of Leadership Education I think one can say Jesus used ~
Classics (scripture & parables), Mentoring (discussing classics), Example (his sinless behavior) to teach.  Sounds a lot like some of the 7 Keys. 
  • Classics, not Textbooks
  • Mentors, not Teachers
  • You, not Them (Jesus studied scripture & spent time in prayer)
  • Inspire, not Require (all his disciples were so inspired by Him that they chose to give up their lives to follow Him)
I never really thought to look at education this way.  It is such an affirmation to me to see these Keys are reflected in Scripture. I think this all boils down to one word.


If you as a parent are living as you hope your child will live one day, they will follow. If you study, they will eventually study. If you pray with them & in front of them, so will they. If you serve others, they will serve others. If you are a Godly Spouse (as much as you humanly can be), they will grow to be the same.  Example is everything!

So I have found it. The perfect curriculum for us.  EXAMPLE

Goodbye to the ease & security of packaged curriculum.  I have a lot of work to do!

{I wonder if I will still revisit all my favorite curriculum sites next summer}

Gearing Up & Planning for the New Year

Now is the time of planning! La & I have made our list of goals for the coming school year. Books have been ordered and on their way.  School supplies have been bought. We ordered Sequential Spelling this year. La is so excited about this that we started it already.  She was so proud today when she spelled "beginning" correctly on the first try!

I have worked out a schedule that I think will work well for us. I have attempted to embed it below.
Weekly Schedule

You will see a lot of study ideas & topics. That is my study schedule, not La's. They are the things I want to learn about this year. La has her own goals. She will be working on these after our Momschool time until lunch and then in the afternoons.  Each week she will be making some goals based on her yearly goals. Here are her yearly goals for this school year.
  • Win 1 ski race on Park City's Farm Team
  • Do 2 math lessons a week & memorize all +, - & x facts
  • Read at least 10 books over 200 pages each
  • Do one science experiment a week- Chemistry & Physics
  • Prepare one Firelfy Corps Presentation per month (history, geography or culture) and study more about the countries at home as wished
  • Journal writing everyday
  • Sequential Spelling every school day
  • Continue to study Architecture History with Dad
  • Do yoga daily
I was pretty impressed with this list for a 9 year old. These are all her own goals. She will be busy!
I feel really good about this year. I am hoping I will meet some major goals myself!

Right now I am reading "Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens". I am really enjoying it. I realize that my own stage of education somewhere between LOL & Scholar ~ moving back & forth between the two. I want to add all the 13 year old books that I haven't read yet to my reading list this year. 

It's gonna be a BIG, FUN year!
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