For the final entry in my series of blogs on education methods I'll look at using a formal curriculum for a School At Home approach. This is possibly the type of approach most people who don't homeschool will assume you are or should be taking as a homeschooler :)
Basically as the name suggests, it's teaching your child with the same methods and assessments as used in school. This curriculum can be accessed remotely with online material, lessons and support, or with workbooks supplemented with DVDs and CDs. Formal timetabling for the learning environment is often necessary to achieve desired results.
This method works well for many people, and is a very viable option if this suits you and your family structure. There are a variety of options for curriculums, including subject choices, a religious focus etc, just like you would find in various school environments. At this point, some other Education Methods I've outlined in the blog can cross over into a School at Home method, it just depends on the formality of the arrangement and whether assessments and grading are included. There is no doubt that the achievements of a lot of the extremely academic, high achieving homeschoolers that we hear about are a result of this type of education, but one of the highest university entrance scores I have heard about recently came from a child in a fully natural learning environment, the child just has to love learning.
Using a School at Home approach can often allow a newly homeschooling family to feel secure and confident that they are covering all the subject requirements. From my observations, this can be a really worthwhile support system, which a parent may use and then slowly supplement with other options as they gain confidence as home educating parents. At this point I will caution you against spending a lot of money earlier on, until you're certain using a particular curriculum is what you really want to do in the longterm.
Personally, I have used a quite formal learning curriculum when Alexandra, eleven years old at the time, requested more structure. Obligingly I researched and wrote a curriculum, drew up a timetable and woke her up each morning at 8.00 so that she could get started. We did this for around two terms, when she became obsessed with history and took herself off in this direction. I could see that she was learning all she needed to learn with occasional prompting and facillitation from me.
If you are interested in following up on the School at Home approach some resources are available at:
PICTURE - CLIPART