What is open curriculum?


Curriculum is the planned sequence of lessons, experiences, and assessment of a student.

OPEN CURRICULUM in the context of homeschooling means the parent is free to use any books and materials available, and to mix and match or DIY. The parent is also able to design different forms of assessment, and not required to use just written exams and long quizzes.

One of the main reasons why we chose our provider was because they allowed open curriculum.

Other providers require you to use a specific curriculum, with a specific set of books, with specific requirements to be submitted and a specific schedule to follow.

We wanted a more flexible curriculum that we can customize according to our child's interests.

How do I design our curriculum?

• Our provider has a suggested list of books per subject, per grade level. You can choose from their suggestions, or you can present tour own alternatives to the books listed. They do require us to purchase two books that are non-negotiables: 

1. Achieving True Success for character and values education; and

2. Mystery of History for history and bible class.

• I then check the DepEd required curriculum posted on their website. According to our provider, this curriculum is the minimum you need to cover each year. This means that you can add subjects or lessons, and go beyond the DepEd curriculum, but you have to cover the minimum.

• With these first two lists in mind, I then search the internet for learning materials. Our provider requires us to submit a list to our advisor, so there is check and balance.

• I mix and match and tweak as we go. Sometimes, we tackle one quarter's worth of lessons (50 days) in a couple of weeks. Other times, we deep dive into a topic and stay there for more than the recommended time DepEd says we should be tackling it. 

It depends on the interest of the child, and her learning pace.  Homeschooling gives us the flexibility to take these into account.

If, for instance, she has not mastered multiplication yet, we do not move on to the next topic even if DepEd's curriculum already dictates that we should be done with it by now.  This flexibility allows me to use different techniques to present the lesson, for as long as we can, until my child is ready.

This also allows me to change books and materials when I see that they are not working. For instance, in Grade 1, we switched to using mostly "living books" after the 1st Quarter, instead of the suggested textbooks for Araling Panlipunan. 

In this way, open curriculum gives us a more relaxed, more enjoyable learning environment.

• Some parents opt for a ready-made, more structured curriculum from providers. This can save you time. This is also suited for children who thrive with worksheets and textbooks, and who enjoy a structured schedule. 

As mentioned in previous posts, your homeschooling journey will be personal and will vary according to your needs and goals. If you keep your child's interests and learning style in mind before you decide how to approach homeschooling, you qre on your way to an enjoyable, worthwhile experience. 

(This is a series of posts about homeschooling in the Philippines, originally posted on my personal Facebook account.)


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