Even before my daughter was conceived I knew I was going to homeschool her. But when she was around 4 months old, I panicked. I didn’t know what to do, how to do or if I will be able to homeschool her at all once she comes of the age. I started reading online but because I was a filmmaking student I had no knowledge of psychology or cognition in children. At 12 months, I started off with activities with her, when she was 2 years old I did a Diploma in Early Childhood Care, Education and Development and today at 46 months (two months less to turning 4 years) I have had a lot of ups and downs. And one thing that helped me is planning the curriculum in advanced.
(If you are new here you can read – How to start Homeschooling to know how to get started as a new homeschool parent)
As a cliche, it may sound, its always a better idea to have things planned for the entire year and then jump in especially when the child is around the age 4-6. Because this is the age when your child will start developing and growing to be ready for the 3 R’s reading, writing, and arithmetic.
So, basically, the question arises, what should be the goals while planning a curriculum.
A curriculum is the formal and informal learning content. Basically, it should include activities that help the child to gain knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes, values, etc with the support of the parent/education provider.
So your goals can be classified as –
1. Educational Approach/Method –
There are so many methods that parent use. You can read about these methods and then decide on what will work well with your family.
- Kindergarten or the play way method
- Reggio Emilia
- Charlotte Mason
- Unit Studies
- State Board
- Ready to use Curriculum
- Integrated Approach
I am following an integrated approach for homeschooling my daughter Ira. I pick up the things I like from an approach and see how it works with my daughter for a few weeks before including it as a part of our curriculum. So a major part of my goals depends on our integrated approach.
(Read – Why I Homeschool my daughter )
2. Long-Term Goals –
While your long-term goals can be set as to what you want your child to learn at the end of the year. If you see at long-term goals like the end of pre-school (4 to 8 years) you can consider the below questions to write down your goals.
- What life skills should your toddler achieve by the end of her toddlerhood?
- What basic marks of maturity should your child possess? ( I read an interesting article on 7 marks of maturity, you can read it here)
- What kind of cognitive ability should they possess? (This depends on a parents approach to learning)
- What are the personality traits you wish she should have?
- What are the communication skills that she should have at the age of 6/12/16 years?
- How do you want her to look at life? (eg. as an optimist)
These are just a few questions that can be considered as a vision. While when we talk about long-term goals while planning the yearly curriculum we can think about the concepts, languages, motor skills, social skills, etc. along with the ability to identify, read, talk, sing, draw, perform etc.
3. Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Developmentally Appropriate Practice or DAP is the crux of this post. This is the least known or discussed topic amongst homeschooling parents and early learning enthusiasts. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) supports the DAP.
The concept of Developmental Appropriateness has three dimensions that link together.
1. Age Appropriateness
Based on the knowledge of expected developmental patterns and milestones at a certain age. DAP involves planning the early year’s curriculum as per the developmental needs and stage of the child. While one is aware of what developmental milestones a child should reach by a certain age, the rate or pace of development varies from child to child. You can refer to the list of milestones online and decide on what has been achieved and what needs to be worked on.
2. Social & Cultural Appropriateness
Based on learning experiences which are meaningful, relevant and respectful. When you plan a curriculum and lesson you need to connect the prior knowledge of the child to the current lesson or topic so that you can help the child in understanding the concept.
Eg. If you are teaching the child about sensory organs. You need to connect the child’s prior knowledge such as pinching in the lesson plan. You need to connect the child’s prior knowledge of milk or sugar in the lesson plan so that it is easier for the child.
3. Individual Appropriateness
Based on an understanding of the individual child’s growth patterns, strengths, interests, and experiences. This is the best part about DAP, especially for homeschooling kids. We as parents know all the correct information needed to plan the best curriculum for our children. We know what will work and what won’t and we can also involve something that can help our children to understand the least interesting topics for them.
That’s it for now, in my next post I will write about how to plan & implement a DAP curriculum and homeschool environment.
Do let me know if you have queries in the comments below.