Tailoring the Curriculum to Meet Your Child’s Specific Needs
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My first few years of homeschooling, I tried to piece together a curriculum for my children. I would spend hours upon hours researching what was available, try to pick the best, and not miss anything along the way. Even after I received my curriculum I would still take hours to try to prepare each of the subjects and try to make them flow together.

Then I came across BJU Press Curriculum and saw that they offered a full grade kit. It was so tempting. It covered all the subjects, everything flowed together nicely, and all the prep work was done for me. I could just open up the books and teach the lessons. No more searching the internet for all the extra pieces I would need. However, I was reluctant because I kept thinking, “Will there be any flexibility? Can I tailor it to my child?” I finally decided to give it a try and am so glad I did. It has provided me the flexibility we needed and has made it so that even my child with a processing disorder is excelling. Here are some suggestions of how you can make it work for you.

1. Keep it active. Even though there are many times the curriculum itself will keep your children active, you may want to add more activities along the way. We found ways to even make math and spelling active in the younger years. For math, I would write numbers around the driveway with sidewalk chalk. Then, I would give each child a problem to solve, and they had to run to the correct number. Spelling was similar to that. I would write the letter of the alphabet in chalk on the driveway, and they would hop from each letter to the next to spell the word as they spelled it audibly. Now that my children are older, I have to find other ways to keep them active. We move around the house and take regular breaks to run outside, jump on the trampoline, and get their bodies moving.

2. Use the curriculum as a guide. I often get the question, “There’s so much work; how do I cover everything in a year?” The key is that the curriculum provides more than enough information. You do not need to cover every assignment and every page. Since there are different learning styles and different concepts that children struggle with, the curriculum provides you multiple teaching tools and learning techniques to ensure that even a struggling child will grasp the information. You can pick and choose what assignments need to be done, how much of each assignment should be done, and how you would like to teach it. Don’t let the curriculum box you in. Use what works for you and for your individual child.

3. Be creative and nurture creativity. There are times that other projects or ideas might come to mind or times that a child might be very interested in a subject and want to take a little longer with it. If they come up with ideas for extra projects or extra ways to learn a concept, I listen. They recently suggested that we play hangman for our chapter reviews. Not only have our chapter reviews become more fun for them, they also study harder so they can win.

4. Know your child’s strengths. Early on in my homeschooling, I realized that my children need to complete their work in different ways depending on their strengths and weaknesses. One of my sons has processing difficulties. He would learn the information and be able to answer all my questions orally, but when he was presented with a written test, he would do poorly. I knew that he understood the information, but something happened when he was presented with written questions. I am able to tailor his work so that his processing difficulties don’t get in his way of accurately assessing what he has learned. If your child is learning the information presented, but having difficulty with written questions, then consider having them answer the questions orally. Or if they have difficulty orally expressing what they are learning, consider having them write it down or draw it. You can even have them teach the information to others (people or stuffed animals) to assess what they have learned. Each child will have different strengths and weaknesses. Play to their strengths, but still work on their weaknesses gradually.

The combination of having a boxed curriculum and being able to tailor it my family’s needs is a lifesaver. I no longer need to spend hours trying to come up with something of my own or trying to make various curricula fit together. BJU Press curriculum is flexible and easy to use in a variety of ways. It can make homeschooling not only more enjoyable for you, but also for your children, as you tweak it to their specific needs.

Meet the Author

Heather Spencer - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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