Choosing the best homeschool curriculum to fit a child’s natural abilities is not coddling a child. Also, it does not mean you’re not preparing him for adulthood. It has been quite the opposite in my experience.
Let me back up first to share a bit of my struggle. Learning how to choose curriculum other than my preference as teacher was not easy.
When kids are very young like in the toddler and preschool years, they all share common traits in their learning personality.
Kids learn through playing, tasting, and moving; they’re learning with every breath they take. This is barring any special need.
Understanding that curriculum should be developmentally appropriate at that age was something I had to learn.
For example, pushing a child to write or hold a pencil correctly before their fine muscles develop can cause damage. I’ve seen homeschoolers who’ve had to take their child to therapy to try to correct the shove to push too soon.
It’s like trying to make a child walk before he is developmentally ready. As a mom I understood waiting on a child’s development, but transitioning that mindset to myself as teacher was not as easy.
Aligning Homeschool Curriculum With A Child’s Strengths (and Weaknesses)
When I grasped that my children were unique individuals with inborn likes, dislikes, strengths, weakness, AND a time table for development, I shifted gears in how I chose curriculum.
I delved into choosing curriculum which fit each of my child’s strengths and weaknesses.
I have more to say in a minute about how aligning homeschool curriculum with a child’s strength or weakness is not codding.
First, look at these 3 easy ways you can choose the best homeschool curriculum to fit a child’s natural abilities
One/ Understand How Homeschool Curriculum is Categorized
You homeschool because you have goals and your homeschool approach aligns normally with your goals.
Homeschool curriculum is organized by homeschool approach.
To help you quickly understand the different educational philosophies, I have explained each of the 5 popular approaches in this article Top 5 Approaches New Homeschoolers Need to Know.
Two/ Search Beyond Achievement and Aptitude Tests
Next, search beyond achievement and aptitude tests.
Although administering an achievement test can pinpoint areas of weakness in the curriculum, you will need to observe and discuss with your child his natural abilities, strengths, and weakness.
Aptitude tests are used to identify gifted and talented kids in school and diagnostic testing can be used in giving you a clearer picture in the skill subjects which are math and language arts.
A public school teacher with many students may need this type of information to know if her curriculum is working or if it’s weak.
Too, as a homeschooler, you may live in a state which requires testing and these tests can be a starting point on painting a picture of your learner.
If you’re thinking you want to administer those types of tests, look at this test comparison chart.
Also, look at Brewer Testing Services which provides testing for homeschool families.
The point is talents are almost impossible to capture in an achievement test.
However, tests do not take into consideration a child’s natural bent, his level of curiosity, creativity, and imagination.
Quite the contrary, but constant testing may shortchange out of the box thinkers if you only use testing as the absolute authority in how to choose curriculum.
According to research gate, they reported: test takers who are strong-minded, nonconformist, unusual, original, or creative are forced to suppress their impulses to conform to the norms established by the testers.
Three/ Observe your child during one-to-one time (and other times too)
Nevertheless, the best way to align natural abilities to homeschool curriculum is the same way we teach which is one-to-one.
Observing a child, asking him questions, and noticing what he is interested in talking about, what is he doing, and what consumes his time when you’re one-to-one with him and when he is NOT formally learning during his homeschool day is a huge indicator toward his bent.
Did you know that I teach an online self-paced course to give you much insight into discovering your child’s learning personality?
Read about this AWESOME insightful course which is Identifying Your Homeschooled Child’s Learning Personality
Kids, like us, are influenced by their environment and that means they want to please you. They try to work with the subjects you chose for homeschooling and school in the places at your home you have set up for learning.
For kids to let down their walls and give us an idea of how they want to learn, we need to observe them in their own setting.
I’m not saying we accept bad behavior, but in question asking, you can determine his natural bent.
During the formal time of your homeschool day, you may notice which subjects your child struggles in and which subjects they prefer to spend more time studying. If you’ve homeschooled for any length of time you already have a good indicator of how he learns.
For example, some more analytical people prefer to learn math just by a book. Others who may not be math inclined prefer a more video approach.
There are two easy ways you can identify strengths and weaknesses at home.
Look at some of these questions you could use for your kids who are upper elementary to high school because they can articulate better than real young kids.
- Does your child prefer to learn alone in his room or with you and at a co-op? If he answers alone, this can be a leaning toward the Logical. If he prefers to be with people, this can be the Feeler who loves people or the Mover who loves an audience.
- Does your child learn better with a guideline of what is expected or does your “relaxed” approach send your child into stress because he wants a more detailed plan for the day? If your child prefers a more general guideline he could be a Mover or Feeler, both of whom prefer general guidelines and not exacts. The Logical and the Planner do well with exact expectations and time slots for subjects or activities.
- Does he prefer a desk or table or to lay on the floor or on the sofa? A desk or table could mean the Planner or the Logical who prefer more organized spaces and more light. The Feeler and the Mover sometimes prefer a more relaxed area.
- Does he prefer to learn through stories or prefers to get the facts? A Mover and the Feeler like stories and to learn about the people. A Planner and the Logical sometimes want to get right to the facts.
- And of course, what are his favorite subjects?
Selecting Homeschool Curriculum
After your child answers the quick survey above, I’ve created a table to show you how to narrow down to an approach which is the first place to start to match your child’s natural abilities to homeschool curriculum.
This table is just a very few of the indicators of these types of personalities.
You’ll want to take my workshop to get an in depth understanding of each learning personality.
- needs to move to learn
- normally prefers physical activity
- prefers impulsive learning and seizing moments to learn
The BEST Homeschool approaches are:
- Unit Study approach to give him time to move while mastering material
- Charlotte Mason approach allows for plenty of outside learning.
- desires routine
- prefers organized lesson plans
- likes checklists
The BEST Homeschool approaches are:
- The traditional approach because of routine.
- Classical approach because of organization.
- prefers social interaction
- focused on relationships
The BEST Homeschool approaches are:
- Classical approach because of the emphasis on language arts
- Charlotte Mason because of the emphasis on fine arts
- prefers to work alone
- prefers logic-related subjects like math and science
The BEST Homeschool approaches are:
- Unit studies because of the desire to research.
- Charlotte Mason because of the science leaning.
A Child’s Learning Personality Simplifies Homeschool Curriculum Choices
2. Have your kids draw a picture.
Here is the second easy way to help you determine how your child learns best.
This tip you can use for any aged child provided you don’t tell them what you’re doing. Ask them to draw their deal learning space, what subjects they want to learn, and what would be around them.
Here are the DOS and DON’TS of having your child draw his learning area.
- Don’t act over official. Your child is smart. He knows something is up. Just relax and tell him that you’re changing up some things and there is no right or wrong, just what he thinks is what you want him to draw. There is no judging or grading.
- Do not make this an art lesson unless a child wants it to be. The point is pencil drawing to creative to labeling is fine. A quick 5 minute picture is just as worth much as a 50 minute project turned art. Bottom line explain to him you just want a picture.
- Don’t use the words let me see your school room or school desk.
- Do say draw a picture of your ideal learning space or area. Where would you learn? Would it be inside or outside? Would you have lots of light or dim light? What would be around you? What subjects would you cover?
Reduce Homeschool Curriculum Fatigue by Teaching to Strengths
Look at my reasons what adjusting your day and homeschool curriculum is not coddling your child.
- A strong homeschooling foundation means we reject cookie-clutter education and accept that kids are individual learners. Research shows that colleges actively pursue homeschooled kids. NEHRI states: “The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.)”
- Instead of focusing just on what kids cannot do, we delve deep to tap into their inner strengths so we can nurture our kids to become who they truly are and not what society tries to form them to be.
- Instead of labeling children, we teach our children to accept differences as strengths.
- By teaching a child more than one way to take in information, he is eager to learn lifelong instead of struggling with why he doesn’t understand some subjects as well as he does others. A child knows his weaknesses and strengths like we do and is better equipped as an adult.
- When a child knows he has strength and weakness, he appreciates that people communicate using their same strengths. It equips a child to have long-term relationships by learning to get along with someone who is opposite his learning personality.
Learning personalities, inborn strengths and weakness means our kids come pre-wired and we accept them for who they are, not what we want to try to bend them to be.
What do you think? Do you have figured out you and your children’s learning personality?
Look at more of my tips:
- The Dos & Don’ts When You Hit A Learning Plateau in Homeschooling
- How to Know What A Homeschooled Child Should Learn Yearly?
- BEST Curriculum by Homeschoolers for Homeschoolers
- How to Build Middle School Curriculum Directly From Amazon
- A to Z List: 100 Fun Summer Homeschool Unit Study Ideas
- Big Ol’ List of All-In-One Homeschool Curriculum (a.k.a Boxed)
- How to Use a Boxed Curriculum without Giving Up Your Homeschool Approach
Hugs and love ya,