November 27, 2009, Newsletter Issue #307: Eclectic - Nuts-n-Bolts

Tip of the Week

The eclectic is more a way of doing the other methods than a strict method in itself. If you are a person who requires an externally imposed structure or authority (like someone else's curriculum choices and lesson plans), then the eclectic approach is not for you.

FIf your child has been in school, I recommend taking a week or two off just to be together and to spend time getting to know each other. Near the end of the week off, make a list of your child's academic strengths and weaknesses and in-betweens. Being very honest and very careful, categorize each subject by these headings—make sure to ask your child's opinion. Once you have categorized them, talk about "electives" (subjects that aren't taught in school but which your child is interested in). Looking at your list, you have your curriculum.

FIn order of importance: Give priority to the weaknesses, then to the in-betweens, and, lastly, to the strengths (I recommend the weak subjects be taught every day for a period of weeks or months). Weak subjects should have top priority on the daily time schedule to bring them to at least the "in-between" level. If math is weak, teach it early in the day. The strengths simply have to be maintained and can be further developed at a slower pace.

FHopefully, you have been stockpiling books and materials that you want to use in your home school. Now, remembering your list, sort them and compile a daily schedule. Each day of the first week can be a "dry run" that will give you opportunity to test your book choices and your schedule for bugs. Once you have completed the first week, take a second look at your plans and your materials. Make adjustments.

FDon't be afraid of reworking everything if needed. Make a new schedule based on your first week's experience and your list of strengths, weaknesses and in-betweens. During the second week, teach your child with the specialized plan you developed for improving strengths and weaknesses and maintaining strengths, using the curriculum and materials that you have chosen.

FLook for the tips "Sample Eclectic Schedule" to see how you might accomplish your objectives.

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Sarita Holzmann
Sonlight Curriculum, Ltd.

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