Samples and Checklists: UNSCHOOLING CURRICULUM

Why Not Use a Bought Curriculum?

Read here if you're not sure why a commercial or formal curriculum might harm your unschooling success.

In case an unschooler is required to submit a curriculum, here is one Carol Narigon wrote, and has generously offered as a model for other families in need. There are two similar descriptions linked below, and a couple of lists that could be utilized for writing up a proposal or summary, if needed.

Brandon will use a developmentally-appropriate, integrated curriculum. We will plan his learning together, based on his interests, so I can't state in advance which specific topical areas we will cover, however we expect to cover the following subjects.

He will read from self-chosen and parent-chosen literature on a daily basis. He will engage in reflection on those literature pieces in one or many of the following ways: journal writing, book reviews, conversations, drama based on the books, book clubs. My goal is for Brandon to continue to enjoy reading, to read for pleasure, to gain exposure to a wide variety of genres, and to be able to reflect critically on what he reads.

Brandon will read content-area non-fiction materials as needed to support his chosen areas of interest. He will reflect on these pieces in one, or many, of the following ways: journal writing, writing an article for submission to a magazine, discussions, development of a scrapbook in an area of interest. My goal is for Brandon to learn to read critically for information, to understand and be able to reflect on the materials he reads and to be able to compare them to other sources of information, and to learn how and where to find written resources as needed.

Brandon will study science as it relates to the areas of his interests by watching science videos, reading related written materials, conducting scientific experiments, gardening, keeping journals, making and recording observations, visiting scientists in their work places, taking classes at the Dayton Museum of Discovery, participating in science fairs, earning science merit badges through Boy Scouts, visiting museums such as COSI and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and through cooperative classes with our homeschool group. My goal is for Brandon to experience a wide range of scientific exposure in his areas of interest, to develop a positive interest in science, to learn to think scientifically, to develop a respect for the work scientists do and to understand the importance science has in his daily life.

Writing, spelling and grammar will be covered as part of Brandon's writing processes. He expects to write creatively, to write letters and lists, to create and write drama pieces, etc. He will also write in conjunction with Boy Scout merit badges. My goal is for Brandon to enjoy writing, to gain skills in both the writing process and in technical skills required of an edited piece, and to develop a sense of power over the written word.

History and geography will follow the same plan outlined for the above subjects. Brandon will read historical fiction and non-fiction, participating in field trips such as the Renaissance Festival, Carillon Park, Union Station in Cincinnati and the Fair at New Boston. We expect to integrate history and geography into our study of other subjects through one or many or the following ways: the use of time lines and maps, discussion, journal writing, cooking, plays, road trips, invention building, Scout camping trips and art. My goal is for Brandon to appreciate the nuances and fluidity of history, to recognize his place in history, and to enjoy and understand the importance of his knowledge of history.

Health, physical education and safety will be continued as a part of our daily living skills. Brandon will learn to care for his body and his physical environment through one or many of the following ways: shopping for and preparing food, discussing the necessity of a healthy diet, participation in fire drills and other emergency preparedness, exercise both as play and as part of a structured group experience, and through Boy Scout camping, merit badges and classes. My goal is for Brandon to appreciate the necessity of a healthy body and to learn to care for his body's needs as he understands them.

Brandon will learn art and music through both self-chosen and structured methods including one, or many, of the following: art classes at Rosewood, DAI, or the K-12 Gallery, piano and guitar lessons, choral singing, listening to various styles of music, learning through reading and videos about the people who have influenced music through history, and working on self-chosen art projects and Boy Scout badges that relate to music and art. He has been and will continue to be active as an actor and performer in various community theaters in the Dayton area. My goal is for Brandon to appreciate a wide variety of art and music experiences, including performance, while understanding the importance of art and music as it pertains to history. In addition, he will be spending time at our family framing and print store where he will meet a variety of artists and learn about many facets of the art business.

Brandon will learn math through participation in daily living—cooking, building, shopping, etc. In addition, he will continue using the Key to…math series for algebra and geometry as well as Mathematics a Human Endeavor and Algebra by Harold Jacobs. My goal is for Brandon to gain conceptual knowledge of mathematics as well as an appreciation for the daily application of math in his life.

List of basic teaching materials.

ACME Academy

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Here is a plan for elementary and another for secondary that took Carol's unschooling curriculum and expanded it using the California state educational standards' language so it is a little more likely to meet with approval, if someone has to submit something to a school official. You could also use it as a "suggestion list" to stick different activities under educationeze-sounding headings — for after-the-fact recordkeeping if you have to turn something in, like a portfolio. It is called 'ACME Academy' Course of Study...."

Here are links:

Acme Elementary * Acme Secondary

Other Resources

If these aren't a match or you want other ideas, here are some links to consider. Some are checklists by grade level. I don't recommend people using those or worrying about them except in those few cases in which it's helpful.

For general unschooling, try to go without consideration of such checklists. But for times of proposal writing and such, here are resources:

B.C.'s New Curriculum

Nadine wrote, "British Columbia Department of Education website has a full curriculum with all the attached gobbledy-gook, but this link takes you to their Learning Outcomes page which basically summarizes what they think that they should know by each grade."

Here is a link to free downloadable materials for Nova Scotia Curriculum Documents

World Book Encyclopedia's online Typical Course of Study New Fancier Site!

A curriculum used by a family in New Zealand, full year description
Melissa Dietrick's, in Italian (with a link to more Italian information)

If Extensive Documentation is Required:

Unschooling Portfolio/Log, by Brie Jontry

Discussion of using a portfolio, with ideas by Brie, Pam Sorooshian, Sandra dodd; maybe others: If a Portfolio or Log is Required


Jargon ideas