People often ask about curriculum in regard to home schooling. They are shocked and a little outraged when I tell them that in Connecticut we are not told what to teach, and no one reviews our curriculum choices. I see real fear in their eyes - "How do you know that you are teaching the right things?"
I don't. As each child unfolds, and the gifts that God has given them become apparent, we reevaluate. Are there "right things" to teach?
It amuses me to compare my freedom in choosing what to teach to my freedom in choosing what to feed my children. No government person oversees the food that is consumed in my house. Yes, there are guidelines. (Misguided and wrong USDA guidelines.) But for most of us, we wing the whole nutrition thing. Some things we do better than others. (See Nourishing Traditions for information on whole food, traditional nutrition that we follow in our home.)
But if I were to vote for which area I would prefer the government to stick their noses into my private life, it would be food over education. I'm glad that they don't. I think I do, frankly, a much better job than the government would in feeding my family. But I do think that most of America could use a good primer on nutrition. We are a country full of overweight, nutrition starved people -- kids, sometimes, especially. Yet no one seems offended by this apparent lack of authority in our lives in the area of food. Why then, are people so convinced that they would be unable to choose wisely for their children what to feed their brains?
Post Script: When we moved to New England, we knew that we could live in either New York, Massachusetts or Connecticut. I called the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), an organization which helps to protect the rights of parents to homeschool in America and beyond. I asked them which state of the three we should live in. They told me Connecticut - because it is the most simple and straightforward to home school in.
In Connecticut, it is recommended (but not required) that we print out, fill in and sign a short form each school year that indicates that we are taking full legal responsibility for the education of our children. This form is then sent to the Superintendent of schools in our area, who signs it and returns it to us for our files. That is all there is to the process.
If we were to live in Massachusetts, we would need to have our curriculum plan for each child approved by the local school each year. Some schools are very helpful and welcoming towards home schoolers, and others are more difficult and make my Massachusetts friends jump through hoops.
If we were to live in New York, we would also need to have our curriculum plan approved as above. But in addition, our children would need to be tested or evaluated.
So, if you want to homeschool, or you are thinking about moving, it would be a good idea to look into the state requirements. HSLDA is a great resource for this.
Wish you were here!