I’m a planner. From the moment I knew we were moving to a remote location and that our family’s education decision would be to homeschool, I started researching. I’m new to homeschooling, but I have several friends that are experienced homeschoolers. They have all helped me by explaining their reasoning and their curriculum choices, but they also have reassured me that it would depend upon my children’s learning styles, my teaching desires, and our family values.
When you begin the search for curriculum, there is an overwhelming amount of information available. It can be hard to decipher what is and isn’t important, what methodology is one you agree with, and which will meet your needs. For me, I’m a bit of a free-thinker, yet very in tune with the educational demands of our world today. I can’t completely categorize my family as any one methodology and I’m not entirely certain that confining ourselves to specific learning styles will be conducive to our goals; I guess I’m eclectic. Also, we’re not positive that homeschooling will be a permanent choice for us. So, it is important to maintain “standards” to ensure that, if we choose to reintegrate into public school in a couple years, the academic transition will be as smooth as possible. So while my search began by looking over several curriculum options and availability, it is ending with a comparison to the current DoDEA standards.
I’m well aware that there are many homeschoolers that homeschool for the very reason of not maintaining a standard set forth by a governing body. And I can completely understand their position with such ideas. However, in our home, it just isn’t an option. The location that we’re moving to has submission requirements monthly, quarterly, and annually. You have to have “permission” from the commissioner to homeschool. And I want to be sure that I cover my bases. I feel like typical homeschoolers don’t have a need to research several state statutes and know what will be required at any given location. Military families do. Military families move often and if you’re homeschooling, one state’s requirements can be vastly different than another. That is why I chose to look into the DoDEA standards. In my research, I found that DoDEA actually adopted the common core state standards along with Forty-three states, the District of Columbia, and four territories.
So, my personal goal when choosing a curriculum was to meet those same standards, at a minimum. Achieving that goal should ensure that academically, my children should be able to have a smooth academic transition into a mainstream public school in most locations that we could be assigned. I should state very clearly though, that my actual goals are much higher. After comparing the standards put forth by DoDEA to the scope and sequence of several programs, I believe that I have chosen a great option for our family. By implementing Time4Learning as our core curriculum, I noticed that the standards will be met earlier than required and I can advance my children at their own paces. Also, reports can be generated to submit on a regular basis to meet the requirements of our new location. So, that will take care of the basics. It’s an online curriculum that integrates online lessons, activities, worksheets, writing, and testing. I feel like that covers my “educational demands of our world today” side. As for the “free-thinker” side, I’m excited to try a program called DIY that is filled with hundreds of skills to try to master and a whole lot of natural learning by following their interests and natural abilities. It’s safe to say that I’ve passed the overwhelming state of uncertainty and I am so eager to start our new journey as a homeschooling family.
Where do I find out location specific regulations? http://www.hslda.org/default.aspx
What information is available about Common Core State Standards? http://www.corestandards.org/standards-in-your-state/
Where can I review the detailed listing of DoDEA standards? http://www.dodea.edu/Curriculum/Mathematics/standards.cfm
What about that cool skill building program? https://diy.org/about
More questions? Ask the experts here!
For more information on how to start your homeschooling experience, visit time4learning.com.