When you choose to homeschool, your first questions are usually about what curriculum should be used. As the Internet has grown, so have your available options for choosing curriculum, which will make the decision process even harder – unless you know the learning strategy that is best for your student. I will be using the book mentioned below as a basis for starting the process for creating your Individual Learning Program.
In Dr. Wynn’s book – How to Pick the Right Teaching Strategy for Children and Teens, she states that the definition of curriculum “refers to the content that’s to be taught, such as fractions, British Literature, or dinosaurs. Instruction on the other hand, refers to how someone goes about teaching that content to students.”
It is important to understand this distinction for starting the conversation to create your own student’s learning program through our Master Parent Teacher Series. It is not just about the type of textbooks you have purchased because there is more to consider. Ask yourself “What is the philosophy behind this textbook?” and “Is the method of instruction the right one for my student?”
I am going to reference Dr. Wynn’s book, using it as the basis for our discussion in the Master-Parent Teacher series. I believe she covers a variety of points about finding the learning strategy without confusing the issue with “homeschool terminology.”
Below is a chart from Dr. Wynn’s book where she gets us to think about our philosophy and what is important to us. I think this is important for you to consider before you go “shopping for curriculum, support group, or classes” so that you can be sure that you are aligned in philosophy first.
Join us as together we discover the right strategy for your student’s education. Please attend our first in-person meeting on Jan 22nd. Click here to learn more.
|Idealism||Advocated by Plato: emphasizes ideas, the mind, and one’s intellect; stresses that truth and reality are universal and non-changing, such as in mathematics and religion. The universe is viewed through the perspective of an idealized and intangible Absolute Self. Stresses that the mind is more important than the physical world; both natural and supernatural realms are equally valid.|
|Realism||Advocated by Aristotle: acknowledges the validity and importance of intangible ideas, but emphasizes the observations of nature as the primary and critical means to understand reality. Stresses that truth exists in things that can be experienced by biological life forms, such as in the physical life, and social sciences. Nature provides all laws affecting life, the mind (intellect) exists separately from the natural law of physical reality and plays a lesser role than the physical world when determining truth and reality in life.|
|Advocated by Dewey, Freud and Rousseau: Emphasizes that the only reality is what one’s senses can experience. Stresses that there are no universal truths or realities but only what people can experience or need to know for themselves, such as vocational skills and the physical sciences. Reality changes constantly and may be different for everyone since it is their experiences that define their reality. Empirical studies are the only ones that produce knowledge; therefore, teachers can’t know what students need since each student has a different reality. “Learning how to learn” is the goal of education because all curricula are student-centered rather than subject matter-centered. As long as students learn what they perceive to be beneficial to their lives, any other educational topic is of little or no importance.|
|Perennialism||Advocated by Adler: Emphasizes a rejection of Progressivism and support for universal and absolute truths. Stresses the selection of a traditional liberal arts curriculum consisting of classic Western literature and rationalism (intellectual reasoning). Education must be subject matter-centered rather than student centered. Everyone should receive the same educational curricula that are rich in “languages, history, mathematics, natural science, philosophy, and the fine arts” because these subjects remain valid, true, and relevant across generations (Knight, 1989, p. 101).|
|Extentialism||Advocated by Kaufmann: Rejects any belief that universal or absolute truth exists. Stresses that one’s individual emotions are the most important element in determining reality. Personal beliefs form one’s unique reality. One’s mind, intellect, and the physical world aren’t important when determining truth, values, or reality. People are only responsible to and for themselves rather than to religion (idealism), nature (realism), community well-being (pragmatism), or subject matter (perennialism).|