Friday, April 03, 2009

Curriculum Decisions

Society has certain expectations about what children should study, and that's what appears in textbooks. Unschoolers count on the fact that the children know best what they should study. Many homeschooling parents take it upon themselves to determine the curriculum.

So who should determine the course of study? I certainly see that some of the curriculum in traditional schools is unnecessary ... and sometimes even harmful. And yet, I know that children are sinners and can be lazy, so I cannot say that the students are pure as the wind-driven snow and will consistently make the right choices about their own curriculum. And yet, I doubt my own wisdom in choosing the curriculum.

Somehow, through our homeschooling years, our family has come to some weird conglomeration of all three methods of choosing curriculum. There are things we study just because society expects it, regardless of the excellent reasons my daughters might've given me for algebra being a ridiculous requirement. Much of what we study has been driven by the children's interests and passions. And sometimes I even overcome my fear and trepidation and foist upon introduce to my children subjects that they are not interested in and society doesn't care two hoots about. But I want the kids to know something about it, and I'm the mom, so they get to learn it. (Happily enough, usually it turns out interesting enough for the kids too.)

I wish it were easier. I wish that it was clearer to us all what was necessary, so that our curriculum decisions didn't have to be our "best guess" but that we could know what was right. I wish I had the confidence to make these decisions and implement them without always wondering how a different decision might've better served my children and our neighbors.

Sometimes it is harder to have choices than it is to just do what you're told. But I guess being a grown-up sometimes means making the decisions for those you're responsible for, taking the risk of being wrong, and forging ahead to the best of your ability. Scary scary scary...

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