Monday, November 7, 2011

Creating Your Own Curriculum: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Currently, I create my own curriculum for teaching preschool to my 3-year-old daughter.  
There are fabulous preschool curriculums available, but the best choice for us right now is 
to create our own.  However, creating your own curriculum is not for everyone!  Today, 
I would like to share the top two good and bad consequences of deciding to make your own curriculum, as well as the ugliest problem.

The Good

1. The curriculum meets your child's educational needs:  When you create your own curriculum, you can spend as much time as you need to teaching any concept.  If Abigail quickly grasps a concept, we can move on to something new the next day.  However, if she had a hard time with the concept, we can spend several days working on it.  We can also work on skills from a variety of grade levels.  Currently, we are doing late kindergarten/early first grade math and preschool language arts.

2. The curriculum can be designed around your child's interests:  When you create your own curriculum, you can teach your child about his interests of using his interests.  We have recently done Science unit studies about the animals that interest Abigail and learned about the continents because she received a globe for her birthday.  We also count her favorite toys, spell words that interest her, and use flashcards in fun shapes.

The Bad

1. It is very time-consuming:  When you create your own curriculum, you spend a LOT of time working on lesson planning.  Because you have to locate (or make) all of the resources and activities, you will spend hours lesson planning.  Just to teach preschool, I spend a minimum of five hours a week doing lesson planning.  I can only imagine how long it would take to create a high school curriculum!

2. There is a greater chance that your child will have holes in his/her learning:  When you create your own curriculum, there is a chance that you will neglect to teach particular skills.  Your child may end up with spotty knowledge.  You must work hard to ensure that you teach all the skills that he/she needs to learn.

The Ugly

If life gets busy, you might not have lessons to teach:  When you create your own curriculum, you do not get a break from lesson planning.  Even when you are sick or have a busy schedule, you still have to find resources and activities.  You are completely responsible!  In order to address this issue, I have several one-day and two-day units that are ready to use whenever life happens and I don't have things planned.

Despite the  downsides, creating our own curriculum is the best choice for us.  I love creating Abigail's lesson and firmly believe that she is learning more from her individualized curriculum than she would be if I used a curriculum that I had purchased.

Do you create your own curriculum?  If so, what do you view as the biggest benefits and drawbacks?

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