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I'm just curious about how many here have managed to come up with your own curriculum? And use it successfully?

 

As I post this I am taking a break from outlining my son's first grade science curriculum. I used to be a scientist, and I know what my son likes - so I have a good idea of what I would want to include. But I am not a teacher even though I've taught adults before. I have no background in curriculum development.

 

In any case, as I write my outline I know I can do this. But I also am asking myself why? Anyone else here does this?

 

 

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I am using Ambleside Online as our core structure, but for most things we are left to find our own resources/schedule.  We have a nature theme for each term and then I go to the library and pull books on that theme or schedule field trips to explore. 

 

For our science Robby has been very interested in Physics/Engineering.  We have been going through the Coursera How Things Work course.  We also will take an hour every few days and watch YouTube videos on whatever science questions he has.  He then draws a picture narration of the video/s.  Today he was drawing how batteries work and how rechargable batteries work (showing how the electrons flow in the opposite direction in a recharge cycle, etc.).  We will check out large amounts of science books every few weeks from the library.  I have a sheet of paper in the front of his science binder that I write down things to explore more when we run out of his ideas (color a map of the US electrical grid, building a lego model house with a lightning rod, copywork of words Benjamin Franklin made up: battery, conductor, charge, discharge).

 

We just got an Edison robot. meetedison.com  

 

Is that what you are asking?  It is a bit loosey goosey, but I know basically what I want to explore.

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Yes :)

 

I'm writing an outline, linking resources and marking books we would need. But I know I would go off topic if my son decided he wanted to explore something else. Magnets are fun! I need to add magnets...

 

 

 

 

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I teach grammar and writing without a curriculum. I wrote about how I do writing here

 

http://www.simplyconvivial.com/2016/teach-writing-without-curriculum

 

and I have a grammar post coming up. :)

 

 

For science and history I don't use a curriculum, either. We just read good books (I'm fond of the M.B. Synge titles and Apologia Explore Creation series) and narrate. :) Even though Apologia is a curriculum, we treat it like a normal book. I don't do the notebooking, we don't do the activities, we just read and narrate. The kids color a related Dover Coloring Book page while I read.

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By your own curriculum do you mean selecting your own programs for each subject, or do you mean actually planning the curriculum without any formal resources?

 

I only use pre-bought curriculum for Math and Language Arts, and even that is VERY pieced together from multiple sources. 

 

The rest I might use bought resources but I put together myself. I'm an organizer and I haven't been 100% happy with anything I've looked at. You can totally do it!

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I piece together a lot. I use library books, kits, small unit study currics, "parent guidance"-type currics like BFSU. There's not much that I truly make up from scratch, but there's also nearly nothing that I use as written and also nearly no "open and go" curric.

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By your own curriculum do you mean selecting your own programs for each subject, or do you mean actually planning the curriculum without any formal resources?

 

I only use pre-bought curriculum for Math and Language Arts, and even that is VERY pieced together from multiple sources. 

 

The rest I might use bought resources but I put together myself. I'm an organizer and I haven't been 100% happy with anything I've looked at. You can totally do it!

 

I made the outline based on what I want to teach my son. So far I've gathered some links with activities from various places. But I plan to make some worksheets myself, write out some diagrams and pictures for microbes for example. I don't know if they are introduced in first grade - I assume they are? My son was complaining to me that I talk a lot about cells but he didn't know what a cell was. I laughed, and said its the smallest unit of life. And he said, oh ok. LOL but then I mentioned that there's some controversy about viruses. But I'm not sure he heard me. 

 

Anyway, I assume a general introduction to things like that would be good for him. That's probably because of the way I talk without thinking about random science things. 

 

Formal resources? I am going to look for books that can help throughout or I will write it myself. I still have a shelf-full of college texts sitting there unused. I can try to translate it into kid?

 

-------

Thank you for the encouragement - I don't know why I doubt myself so much at times. This is sort of fun.

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I also generally put together our history and science curriculum. I use premade curriculum but pull everything apart and piece together what I want. I always say I not going to do it again each year because it is a lot of work but I can never find exactly what I want and after searching and searching I end up putting together my own curriculum.

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Not to split hairs, but I do think there is a difference between actually writing curriculum (creating from scratch the formal informational text used for teaching, with possible, discussion questions, worksheets, projects, tests, etc.), and assembling and scheduling parts of pre-made materials of choice for covering a subject. ;)

 

I think LOTS of people of these boards do the latter very successfully. :)

 

It's wonderful when a homeschooler can do the former, and share with other homeschoolers. :) Good luck with writing your science curriculum! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Truly created from the ground up?  No.  

 

But I don't use any grammar texts or writing texts.  I have very much borrowed from / been inspired by other's work, but I don't pull out any resources when I sit down to teach those subjects to my kids.  

 

With science, a similar story.  I am also a former scientist.  I was trying to do my own thing when I discovered BFSU.  The BFSU flowchart has greatly influenced how I go about elementary science, but it's rare that I actually flip to the appropriate section and use Nebel's lesson plan as laid out.  I just use the subjects and main concepts as a basis for doing my own thing.  

 

My favorite "curriculum" are those that give me the tools to then do my own thing.  The biggest amongst those I've used is Bravewriter, followed by BFSU, and EducationUnboxed.  The one I'm going to try next is the Teaching the Classics DVD seminar and books.  I am hoping that these give me tools to be a better teacher that I can implement myself how I see fit.  

 

 

 

 

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I create my own curriculum. I can't often find what I need, and while I'm willing to use various sources, it just makes sense for me to create our own worksheets to my specifications.  Mostly I do unit studies - building around a literature book with primary sources, discussion questions, hands on activities, and language arts work.  Anytime I start a new project I start with a list of goals in an outline, broken down step by step, then building those educational goals into the work.  It's time consuming and, depending on the length of the study, can take up more time than I have to devote in a single year.  I built my own grammar curriculum for lower grades that we are going through right now and while it's slower than I thought it would be, it's working fine.

Right now I'm building my own co-op class curriculum for the next 16 weeks.  Each week is outlined with a theme book, character/bible discussion, a craft, and hands on play.  Not exactly the same thing since I mostly am creating a basic guide to follow (read this, ask this, do this, discuss this, play that) for 2 hours each week, but no different than many other guides out there.

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Not to split hairs, but I do think there is a difference between actually writing curriculum (creating from scratch the formal informational text used for teaching, with possible, discussion questions, worksheets, projects, tests, etc.), and assembling and scheduling parts of pre-made materials of choice for covering a subject. ;)

 

I think LOTS of people of these boards do the latter very successfully. :)

 

It's wonderful when a homeschooler can do the former, and share with other homeschoolers. :) Good luck with writing your science curriculum! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

I see what you mean.  So far my outline is original. I have linked to a few locations where I found ideas for lessons but are meant for groups so I would have to modify (that's about 6 lessons out of like 66 outlined). I would call those "based on.."

 

If I find an experiment kit (like for magnets) that is pre-made I will use that. Later today I will try my hand at writing a whole original lesson. Just to get a feel on what I want and would need. I would have to test them out on my child to make sure they work and are not too technical or that the work is really around 10-15 minutes.

 

Feels like a huge undertaking. But also its fun to use my degree for something after enjoying mothering and cooking for 5 and a half years. So is this for my child or an outlet for a long dormant geek? Does it matter? 

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