By having my own curriculum, not only do I cut out all that ignorant crap but it also means including subjects that I think will pay off for them in the future. So, the core subjects are:
These subjects are taught three or more times a week. Level Two subjects are taught one to three times a week and include:
Calligraphy (i.e. proper handwriting)
I realise that one of the biggest problems with homeschooling is socialisation. With the kids in an isolated environment, I figure that the classes in Chinese, Wushu and Music should get them out and about a bit.
Does all that sound a bit heavy? Let me introduce you to Toru Kumon. Kumon was a Japanese maths teacher who was dissatisfied with the progress of his son at school. (Seems to be a universal problem, no?) Quoting Wikipedia:
The underlying belief behind the Kumon Method is that, given the right kind of materials and the right support, any child is capable of learning anything.The child learns at her individual pace but does not progress to the next level until she has mastered the current one. Also, rather than two or three hours of intensive drilling in one subject, the Kumon method emphasises smaller bites of time to push key concepts before leaving it alone till the next day.
Where I differ from the Kumon method is that I add some traditional blackboard teaching to the sessions. I also don't insist on 100% accuracy. Every worksheet session is followed by a debrief. If the child can explain to me where they went wrong with an answer, that's good enough for me. (Not being able to explain their mistake means more repetition of that particular type of problem.)
Using this mix, I have taught Little Dinosaur how to tell analogue and digital time in one week. And The Wast is also learning the Greek roots of words so he has better tools to work with when manipulating metric measures. School runs from 9:00am to 1:00pm, Monday to Friday, and that's enough to tackle every subject except the external-party ones (Chinese, Wushu, Music) and Cooking. Then again, they don't see cooking as a chore but as a competition between them to see who can cook the better-tasting dish. An additional bonus is that they also eat more of their own cooking, which suits me just fine!
It's only been little more than a month since I started homeschooling but, so far, things seem be right on track, even if Little Dinosaur burst into tears when she found out she has to learn her times table from 1 to 9 this year.
* Kaz Augustin is an homeschooling parent who makes her kids cry on their worksheets. You can find her website at http://www.ksaugustin.com She has a food blog at http://food.ksaugustin.com and she's also on Facebook and Twitter. Just look for "ksaugustin".