Non-religious home school curricula?
May 21, 2006 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Home schooling filter: Where else can I find non-religious, relatively complete curricula for home schooling purposes?

My husband and I are investigating home schooling options for our children. I recently discovered the Calvert school which looks interesting, but I'd like to know if there are similar alternatives/competitors - particularly Canadian or UK based - so I can compare. I could put together my own curriculum, and I'm likely to supplement, change-up what I do use anyway, but I like the idea of having a solid base already prepared so I can spend less time searching and shopping and more time actually teaching.
posted by Zinger to Education (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My experience is with Christian home-schooling curricula - namely PACEes and LifePacs, but I expect that my advice (rather tangental to that actual question) applies to some secular curricula as well.

The danger is that the student will become adept at learning only enough of the material to pass the next test with an adequate grade, and retaining that knowledge only long enough to pass that test.

If you do choose a similar program, it's imperative that you use supplementary assignments such as research papers and projects to ensure that the material is internalized, rather than memorized shallowly.
posted by The Confessor at 1:06 PM on May 21, 2006

In Canada at least the public school curriculum is readily available. In fact, in BC those home schooling kids must register them with the schoold district anyway. BC's curriculum id available here
posted by Neiltupper at 1:20 PM on May 21, 2006

Ditto to what Neltupper says. Also, you might check out Laurel Springs and Clonlara. Both are based in the US, but both cater to an international clientele.
posted by jvilter at 3:30 PM on May 21, 2006

I went through Calvert in first and second grade, and when I returned to regular public schools I was working at grade level in most areas, ahead in others, after probably only spending an hour or two a day on school work for nine months of each year. This was more than two decades ago, but based on that experience I still recommend them.

When one of my brothers left public high school and pursued an auto-didactic home school education, he got books through universities and community colleges -- this was in the late 90s.

By the time another brother left school, the public schools in northern Virginia had caught up to my family. He was able to work the local high school's curriculum using school text books and curricula, after my parents worked out an arrangement with a guidance counselor at the school.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:34 PM on May 21, 2006

We really, really like "The Well Trained Mind" by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. This is a wonderful (secular) homeschooling book with a curriculum plan contained within. Even if you don't use their plan, there is so much in here that it is definitely worth buying for anyone seriously thinking about homeschooling. The book is for sale everywhere. The website: welltrainedmind has more info.
posted by limitedpie at 4:16 PM on May 21, 2006

Second "The Well Trained Mind" - my partner and I have been using it as our template for homeschooling our daughter for the past 3 (very successful) years. I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by deadmessenger at 4:23 PM on May 21, 2006

If you are in BC, the provincial government has a "school district" for home-schooling. They supply computers, software, etcetera. Tons of support.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:57 PM on May 21, 2006

The Australian education departments all publish the curricula they use in classrooms freely. These are obviously aimed at professional teachers, but in terms of delivering high quality, non-religious results, they would be a great start.
Try here.
posted by bystander at 7:31 PM on May 21, 2006

I used The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn when I homeschooled myself in high school. I also like And the Skylark Sings with Me by my friend David Albert about his experiences doing child led learning with his kids. I'd recommend reading those and thinking about whether you need a curriculum.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:59 PM on May 21, 2006

We started to use Oak Meadow this year, which is Waldorf-inspired, but we found it to be poorly put together.

I know plenty of non-religious homeschoolers who use Switched on Schoolhouse, but I have no experience with it.

I just recently read about TRISMS, which I will probably investigate further this summer.

You may need to pull differerent aspects of the curriculum from different sources. We use Saxon math, which is great and totally secular, as one would hope from a math book! We also tend to do a lot of unit studies and have our unschooling periods, too.
posted by Biblio at 9:51 PM on May 21, 2006

"The danger is that the student will become adept at learning only enough of the material to pass the next test with an adequate grade, and retaining that knowledge only long enough to pass that test."

This applies to homeschooling more than normal schooling, how exactly?
posted by tommorris at 1:21 AM on May 22, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, your answers have been very helpful and given me new leads.
posted by Zinger at 4:50 PM on May 25, 2006

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