I often have young families just beginning to homeschool a five-year-old ask me for advice about curriculum. I will ask them what they’ve been using up to that point, and they say something like, “We’re just starting out. We haven’t used curriculum.” So I will facetiously reply, “So your child doesn’t know anything?” They immediately exclaim that their child actually is quite bright and has learned a lot. I ask them to give examples, and they begin enumerating some of the things the child knows. I dramatically marvel at how knowledgeable the child is, and express surprise that this was accomplished without curriculum. I then gently suggest that if their current approach is working well, perhaps they shouldn’t change course. They have taught much without curriculum, relying on relationship. This is what the Bible portrays of discipleship.
My two cents
Very interesting. I found the use of a facetious question interesting and effective in this particular instance, since it brought the ensuing point home. Here I was thinking you must absolutely have a curriculum (to avoid catastrophic failure) but it seems that isn’t necessarily the case. I got the quote from a website by the name of values-driven family, and I like that domain name.
Lindvall J cited in Carrier C, 2007. Top Ten Mistakes of Homeschoolers. http://valuesdrivenfamily.blogspot.com/2007/10/top-ten-mistakes-of-homeschoolers.html, accessed 11 December 2010.