by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
When choosing a child's curriculum, you first want to be sure that it will suit the child's needs and meet requirements. There are many methods to consider. Once you have narrowed it down, you might find yourself deciding between an online curriculum and a textbook curriculum. There's not really a one size fits all solution when it comes to education. Each family's needs will differ significantly. So how do you know which is best for your child? In my years of experience as a homeschool teacher, I've had to make this decision several times with more than one child.
Which study habits are most effective for your child? Does your child learn better from a book, games, or other methods? When choosing between an online and textbook curriculum, consider the methods that apply with each. Whichever one more closely resembles your child's learning style is likely going to be the most effective. If your child learns best from hearing instruction and the instructions are mostly from books, it will be more difficult for your child to learn. If your child has unique learning needs (such as vision issues or disabilities) examine each method and figure out which one works the best in those circumstances.
Which program lines up with your family's lifestyle? Is your family always on the go? If so, a textbook curriculum may be best because it's easy to transport. Then again, if your child has a laptop and does well learning on the computer, the online curriculum may be better. Do you like to give lessons in the library? Will an online curriculum work with that? For instance, the child may need to wear earphones so as not to disturb others in the library. Will you still be able to instruct that way? There are many possible scenarios and answers. Consider what your family will be doing on a daily basis to help you come to a decision.
Does your first choice line up with state standards? Each state has specific standards that need to be met when it comes to curriculum. Make sure that the method you choose lines up with those. If it doesn't, can you commit to supplementing what's missing? It's important that your child gets a proper education and if an online or textbook curriculum doesn't do that, it's time to reevaluate your choices. Our family prefers to use mostly an online course. But we also supplement with other learning materials, field trips, and hands-on lessons.
Which choice will be more enjoyable for your child? While education is first and foremost, it's also important to be sure your child will enjoy doing schoolwork. If there is some fun mixed in with the work, a child is more likely to learn. On the other hand, if the work is boring or too laborious, the child may hesitate and actually learn less even if the program offers exemplary information. The material is no good when a child is resistant to looking at it. A child will learn more during an hour of time where there's interest than during eight hours of disinterest.
Should you blend the two? If you can see benefits to both choices, perhaps a blend of the two will work well for you. Some kids learn better when they get to mix things up here and there. If your child gets bored easily, switching back and forth from textbook to computer could be the answer. If your child is the opposite and likes things to stay the same and be more structured, it may be best to choose one or the other. Does your child pitch a fit when things change? Do you hear "Mommy, I'm bored" all too often? Even if you don't have educational situations to compare, besides homework time, think about your child's reactions to everyday situations.
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* I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network:
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