Kids grow up so fast, and before you know it, they’re school-ready. Our child is still a toddler, but I wanted to plan our independent homeschooling curriculum in advance so I don’t scramble at the eleventh hour.
I’m glad I started early, because there are a TON of programs out there. My husband and I want a secular curriculum; luckily someone already made a list of truly secular programs. From there, I picked the ones I like best after reading and watching reviews from other homeschooling parents.
It’s possible that our child won’t like a program or two, and that’s okay; this curriculum isn’t set in stone. The beauty of independent homeschooling is that if a certain material isn’t working for your child, you can modify it or use another, unlike traditional school where you basically have no other choice.
This plan is only for the early years, up to ages 7-8. Hopefully this would be helpful to other first-time indie homeschooling families in their curriculum shopping. Most of these programs, while US-based, are available as digital downloads, so shipping is not a problem.
I’m a fan of Finland’s early childhood education, which focuses on creative play and promotes a late start to formal schooling. Personally, we don’t plan to give formal instruction until after our child turns 5. Right now we simply do a lot of read-alouds and let our child play, play, play. It’s a lot of work to think up of new and creative activities to do every single day, though, so we plan to get the abovementioned play-based programs.
Kindergarten to Grade 2 (K-2)
We will take an eclectic approach of half formal, half unschooling:
Formal – English, Mathematics, and Science
I want our child to have a thorough grounding on these core domains. I believe that a strong foundation in these three is invaluable for everyday life and for learning all other subject areas. The programs I chose are all highly recommended by other secular homeschooling families, as they have proven to be very solid, interesting, and effective.
Unschooling – Everything else
All other subject areas, plus anything else our child wants to learn, will be through child-led, interest-inspired learning.
It’s a comprehensive, all-in-one program that covers phonics, reading, spelling, handwriting, vocabulary, composition, and grammar. If our child shows an aptitude for language arts, we will supplement accordingly with more books and creative activities.
- Essential Math by Singapore Math
I excelled in math as a student, while my husband hated it. It’s too early to tell definitively who our child takes after in this regard, but if it’s me, then Singapore Math it is. If it’s my husband, we’ll look into a more visual and kinesthetic program like Math-U-See.
- Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding by Bernard J Nebel, PhD
Its walls of text may seem daunting at first glance, but the book is actually an instruction manual for the parent and not a textbook. The program is only “formal” in the sense that it’s a book, but the material is taught in a hands-on, child-led manner. It’s an integrated approach to teaching the fundamentals of science to young kids.
Social Studies / Araling Panlipunan
We liked to travel before COVID-19, and we planned to do some worldschooling so our child can experience the Philippines and the world organically and in person. Obviously we are shelving this plan until a safe cure or vaccine is developed. In the meantime, we still plan to DIY this subject area, as it can be boring to just read a recitation of facts from a textbook.
Fine Arts, Health, and Physical Education
If our child shows a keen interest in sports or the arts, our plan pre-COVID-19 was to sign our child up for classes of our child’s own choice. Again, this plan is shelved indefinitely for lessons and activities (Charlotte Mason-inspired picture or music study, exercise, etc) we can do in the safety of our home.
There are many Filipino programs by local educational publishers, but it’s difficult to research about them online because there are almost no in-depth reviews available.
My husband and I are consciously raising our child to be multilingual, so we’re not worried that our child will be poor in Filipino, unlike so many kids these days who are English-only. I plan to borrow used Filipino textbooks from relatives and friends with older kids so I can review and compare them myself. If you have any recommendations for good Filipino programs, let me know in the comments section.