This article is part of a series for new home educators. In this, and several other articles, we cover What style of education is right for our family? And where do I get our curriculum?
Textbooks and Workbooks may be the types of curriculum that you are most familiar with. If you are new to home education, they may be the only type you are familiar with. They are they type used in government and most private schools. This method uses one text or set of workbooks, perhaps with teacher’s manuals, test and quiz booklets, and lesson plans, for each subject in each grade level.
This is not an approach we recommend for home educating families, for several reasons, but it may be one you choose to use. If you plan to return your child to the government system soon and if it is important to you that your child follows the lock-step regimen of this type of education, this method may be your choice. Others may choose it for other reasons.
Some conservative, Christian choices you have in this category are:
Alpha Omega – Christian, grade level, subject specific workbooks and computer based learning. Alpha Omega LifePacs are worktexts designed as a mastery approach to self-directed learning. There are generally 10 consumable workbooks per subject, per grade level (rather than one textbook). Horizons is another curriculum option through Alpha Omega. These workbooks are teacher directed and follow a spiral approach to learning. Switched on Schoolhouse is Alpha Omega’s computer based curriculum, and Monarch is their online program. Alpha Omega also has an online, distance learning program.
There are many more, but these are some of the most popular choices.
Although I can’t deny that there can be some good information in these Christian texts, I believe texts are not the best way for children to learn or parents to teach. Just a few of the drawbacks can be: the lock-step manner of expecting all children of a certain age to progress through material at a specific pace and order; non-family-friendly method – everyone’s learning going in different directions; mom burnout (especially when teaching several different levels), uninteresting presentation of bite-sized facts to be learned for a quiz or test (not out of interest or for the love of learning). These drawbacks may or may not be in the program you choose, and may or may not be an issue for your family.
If you’d like to step out of the textbook box and avoid these drawbacks, we encourage you to take a look at Lifestyle Education through Discipleship™ for Freedom & Simplicity™ in Biblical Principles home education and read on about other Real Books approaches.