Jon's Favorite Curriculum

Pine cone wars, throwing rocks at passing cars,and slicking my hair downto be the perfect church boy notwithstanding,my mother successfully home schooled me from preschool to graduation. Epicheroes are neverassured of their triumph, they simply fight valiantly and never give up—my mother was and is such a character. I have two older brothers and five younger sisters, and I think you'd be stretched to find a single subject or elective she hasn't had to teach (or transport her children to) over the years.

Shelearned early on thatwhat works for one child may not work for the next,and to this day she continues to search for the right combination ofmaterial that works for her and my siblings. Which hopefully explains why I have six different math curricula to choose from. It's not that I'm some evil man(?) who desires to torture my (future) children by forcing them tocomplete six different math courses simultaneously; I justunderstand that flexibility is key.

My mother oftenexperimented to find what worked for us that we could afford, so I'm also cost sensitive when selecting curricula.

As for the rest, these are the Big Three:

  • Co-op influenced—My familybelonged toa small co-op with 2-3 other families and we studied science, history, economics, government, church history, missions, Oregon state history, etc. These were largely unit study-based and competitive, meaning thatmore homework=more points, more points=prize (or beating a friend intellectually senseless). Through this co-op I grew to love reading andhistory,bothof whichare alive and well today.
  • Teacher instruction—Several curricula I prefer focus onteaching teachers how to teach. IEW Teaching Writing: Structure and Styleoffers abasisfor writing instructionon a DVD, then give you tools to carry on from there. Spell to Write and Read teaches reading, phonics, and spellingin a similar way. Teaching the Classics does the same for literature. StartWrite is a computer program that allowing usersto maketheir own handwriting worksheets without ever buying another workbook. I prefer programs like theserather than workbooks whichoften bore thekiddos andaddmore work for teachers(grading each page).
  • My tripartite core
    • The deepest foundation to my educational philosophyis a desireto encourage and build critical thinking skills through teaching logic, literature analysis, history, andVeritas Press' Omnibus curriculum.
    • Learning to love history is a close second. Though I'm not planning on using Sonlight, My Father's World, or anyother full-fledged history unit study, I do hope to make history unit study-based,and to incorporate copious amounts of literature. Knowing and understanding history and literature (and later some philosophy) are key to molding a student whounderstands beauty and their place in history.
    • Theology draws all thesethings together. Knowledge springs from truth, and truth is only found in God. All education is useless without theology guiding it. What is beauty apart from a reflection of the character and nature of God?

As a final note I fully intend for my (hoped for, if unlikely)* children's education to be in my wife's (also hoped for, probably less likely)*hands. I have ideas, but that's all. These ideas wereformedby years of beinghome schooled, and further shapedby a bachelor's degreein theology and five years working at Exodus. I've talked with mothers, discussed curricula, andreceived feedback from happy and unhappy mothers. Plans are hopes; I have some thoughts, but each child is different, andwe'll see what develops. What God ends up giving us is always better than our own hopes and plans, so inthe endmy ideasare subject toGod's direction.

*UPDATE: Jon actually manged to get hitched (to Laura), and they have a son (James, who shares Jon's birthday).

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