How to Customize Your Homeschool Curriculum to Invite More Engagement
Let’s discuss how to customize your homeschool curriculum to invite more engagement. Hands-on activities and the lively arts can create a homeschooling journey that is both meaningful and memorable.
Here in the show notes for Episode 54, you’ll find tips and steps for customizing and creating a curriculum that works for you as well as more resources to explore. I’m glad you’re here!
“We don’t have an achievement gap, we have an engagement gap.”
I recently read this quote from a prominent education website. And as homeschoolers, we want nothing more than to engage our children! The best way to do this is through hands-on activities.
In study after study, research shows that hands-on experiences increase student performance and motivation. One study found that students in activity-based programs performed up to 20% higher than groups using traditional or textbook approaches. The greatest gains occurred in creativity, attitude, perception, and logic (Bredderman, 1982).
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) also known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” revealed that students whose teachers conduct hands-on learning activities on a weekly basis out-perform their peers by more than 70% of a grade level in math and 40% of a grade level in science (U.S. Department of Education, 1999).
Hands-on learning touches on all of the dimensions of learning: physical, emotional, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual. It’s proven to be beneficial and as homeschooling parents, we can bring more of hands-on activities into our daily lessons by customizing the curriculum.
What Does it Mean to Customize a Curriculum?
According to the dictionary, a curriculum is a course of study. But you might say that your curriculum is your plan of what you’ll do each day.
But you don’t have to do it all!
I give you permission to take what works for you and leave the rest!
The real curriculum is what happens between you and your child.
Beyond the binders, planners, lesson plans, and schedules is our desire as parents to help our children discover their gifts and then be able to go out and share those gifts with the world.
“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.” ~Rudolf Steiner
And I think that holistic hands-on homeschooling is the very best way to accomplish this.
Three Elements of Holistic, Hands-On Learning
- Holistic hands-on learning follows child development.
- Children learn best when they feel secure and know what to expect, which can flow from having a regular daily homeschooling rhythm.
- Incorporating the Lively Arts into our homeschooling lessons can make the learning joyful and memorable. The lively arts can include storytelling, movement, music, poetry, drama, painting, drawing, and modeling.
To help you bring more hands-on learning, here are some great tips to customize your homeschool lessons no matter what curriculum you’re using.
Try These Tips No Matter What Curriculum You’re Using
- Find a story to go with whatever you’re studying. This could be a fairy tale or legend of ancient cultures, or a biography or autobiography of a key figure in your history, math, or science lesson. Stories can actually deliver the curriculum, so choose with care. Find stories that light YOU up and your children will take notice. Stories make great teachers. They really do have the power to uplift and teach.
- Weave in the lively arts…but not all at once. Artistic activities help bring the learning alive and make it more engaging. Choose one to focus on at a time. You might decide to paint portraits of the historical figures you’re studying this month. Or draw maps of the regions in the story you’re reading.
- And lastly, you can simply design your own curriculum. This is the ultimate in customization. Just choose a theme or lesson block or topic for a month. Pick one of the arts to focus on while bringing new content through stories and living books. And keep the learning playful and active. This isn’t as hard as you might think and you could really have some fun with your kids! I encourage you to give it a try. 😉
How to Customize Your Homeschool Curriculum to Invite More Engagement
Here’s a simple recap of how to customize your curriculum:
- Embrace the idea of monthly themes or main lesson blocks where you dive deep into one subject for 4 weeks or so.
- Decide which block topics you’ll do when in your homeschooling year.
- Choose arts and hands-on activities to complement and enrich your monthly themes or blocks. And focus on one at a time. Don’t try to do them all at once!
- Take stock of your current resources. Find out what else is available at your local library or order a few supplementary resources.
- Then select the ideas and resources you’ll use. Oftentimes, less is more!
I invite you to think of your homeschool curriculum more as reference material. Take what works and leave the rest. And keep it simple!
The real curriculum is what happens between teacher and learner, between you and your child each and every day.
Customizing your curriculum is freeing, practical, inspiring, genuine, personalized, and empowering. So customize your plan and make it work for you.
As parents, we know what our children need…we just have to slow down enough to observe and find out what that is.
Wishing you all the best as you CUSTOMIZE your homeschool curriculum to invite more engagement from your children.
- For more about teaching with stories, check out Stories Make Great Teachers, a podcast episode recorded with my dear friend Alison.
- Ideas about how to incorporate the arts into your homeschooling can be found in this episode here, Weaving the Lively Arts Into Our Lessons.
- I share ideas for keeping the learning playful all the way through the grades in this episode of the podcast, Movement Games and Activities with Special Guest Brian Wolfe of Waldorfish.
- Having a consistent daily rhythm can make your homeschooling day flow more easily! If you want to learn more, check out this episode, Relax Into Your Homeschooling Rhythm.
Support for Holistic Homeschoolers
Join me and a wonderful group of homeschooling parents in the Homeschool with Waldorf membership community. Membership is $37/month. Join anytime; cancel anytime. Every month features classes, coaching, and community engagement.
I also offer 1:1 mentor sessions if you’re seeking more guidance and support to craft a customized homeschool plan that works for you.
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If the Art of Homeschooling Podcast has inspired you, I’d LOVE it if you could rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast player! Reviews can be left on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Podcast Addict, or Stitcher.
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