If you transformed into a homeschool teacher this past year, you probably had to scramble to assemble supplementary materials, even if your child was enrolled in traditional learning. Maybe you wondered how schools develop their curriculum in the first place.
Tremendous time and thought go into designing a learning program. Educators have to consider multiple factors. Here are five insights into how curriculum is developed — you can learn from these tips to enhance your homeschool program.
1. Educators Consider Best Practices for Classroom Management
When you have 30 students from various backgrounds in one classroom, your first job as an educator is to set the stage for learning to occur. It can’t take place among unruliness and boredom.
Research indicates, for example, that teachers should limit their lecture time to no more than 10 to 15 minutes because of the human attention span’s limits. They then break up the class with active and sometimes collaborative activities to keep students engaged.
If you teach homeschool, you may only have one or two students to manage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from best practices. Use techniques like nonverbal cues and notes of praise to keep your little learners motivated and on-task with their studies. You can also incorporate positive time-out strategies to help when your child’s behavior goes beyond the pale.
2. Educators Factor in Socioeconomic Forces
Unfortunately, income inequality continues to grow in America, and poverty remains a threat to many children’s education. According to the U.S. census, the official poverty rate was 11.8% in 2018, meaning more than a tenth of all learners come from backgrounds where their parents can’t afford basics like food and housing. Even the best teachers can’t overcome factors like an empty belly crying out for attention.
Therefore, when developing curriculum, educators have to factor in the socioeconomic forces that impact their student’s learning trajectory. Teachers must take care not to do things like throw class pizza parties where everyone contributes toward the feast. Those who cannot donate often face ridicule and stigma that furthers their distaste for school.
3. Educators Weigh a Changing Workplace
Part of an educator’s job is to prepare students for a changing workplace. Therefore, school leaders pay attention to job reports and market trends. For example, technology plays a much more substantial role in many school’s course offerings today because of the demand for such workers — especially after COVID-19 made reliance on it more crucial than ever.
Schools should provide various learning pathways for career exploration. Some students might prefer college preparatory courses, but institutions should also offer business and vocational-technical tracks for those who plan on a high-paying career like plumbing that nevertheless doesn’t require a degree.
You have a unique opportunity as a homeschool teacher to individualize your child’s learning to their future career. Yes, each state has specific homeschool requirements for subject matter all children should master. Still, you can feel free to interject as many computer science or birdhouse-building classes among the three Rs as would benefit your learner.
4. Educators Evaluate Available Resources and Technology
While it would be fabulous to culminate a unit on Ancient Greece with a Mediterranean trip to see the ruins in person, few teachers and learners can afford such a luxury. When developing curriculum, educators need to consider the available technology and other resources at their disposal.
One of the most disruptive and depressing highlights of the 2020 pandemic is how soaring income inequality left the most disadvantaged students scrambling for the online learning resources their more privileged peers take for granted, like computers. It’s challenging to learn if your internet connection keeps dropping in the middle of your live class — or if you don’t have a laptop at all.
If you are a homeschool parent, brush up on finding free resources to support your child’s online education. Even if you don’t struggle to afford the basics, it never hurts to have a library at your disposal.
5. Educators Tailor Lessons to Their Unique Style
Finally, educators must consider their unique teaching styles when developing curriculum. An educator with a gregarious, silly personality might add sparkle to lectures that hold student attention just a bit longer. In contrast, someone more soft-spoken might do best with limiting talk time, getting students on-task and providing one-on-one support while circulating the room as the children work.
As a homeschool parent, you also should evaluate your style. Do you want your child to turn to you with questions that you research collaboratively, or do you prefer them to seek the answers alone, turning to you as a last resort? Since you know your child better than anyone, you can adjust your approach to meet their needs.
Learn How Curriculum Is Developed With These Insights
Now you have insights into how curriculum is developed. Use this understanding to improve your learning plan in your homeschool classroom.