The other day we were talking about home school vs. public school during some down time in the lab. It got me thinking, if I were ever to home school my kids, what would I teach them? The result is Katie's own personal [idealized] curriculum:
I would teach them to read by the time they could speak in complete sentences. They'd be on college reading levels by the time most kids were on a 6th grade level. Required reading: The Great Gatsby, The Chosen, Jane Eyre, The Book of Mormon (haha, no separation of church and state with home schooling!), The Giver (while they were still on a lower reading level), Animal Farm, and To Kill a Mockingbird. They'd have to write a paper every month on the topic of their choice, but the genre of my choosing. One month we'd do research papers, the next essays, the next short stories, the next poetry, until I ran out of ideas and then we'd start over again.
Science would be super fun. They wouldn't learn the "electrons orbit the atoms like planets orbit the sun!!" false doctrine, they'd learn about energy levels and quantum mechanics and wave-particle duality. I guess I'd have to go through all the basics with stuff like, "what is matter?" and memorizing the planets and all that stuff, but honestly, if people are just going to change what's a planet anyway, what's the point of learning the solar system song? I think time would be better spent learning Newtonian mechanics and other basics of physics and more basic chemistry and biology things. None of that geology "this is a [insert type of rock that i can't remember anymore since it's useless information] rock!" or the whole "chemical change vs. physical change!!" We'd learn how to balance chemical equations and do stoichiometry and if we felt really ambitious maybe we'd tackle equilibrium problems and thermodynamics. Of course, in order to do thermodynamics properly, we'd need to learn some calculus...which brings me to my next subject: math!
Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division would be mandatory of course. Fractions, decimals, geometry, trigonometry, etc. would have to follow. Extensive algebra would be taught as well as calculus before age twelve. That's right, my kids would be taking derivatives and integrating things before your kids know how to solve for x in 2x+3=5.
For social studies, not only would we cover basic American and world history, we'd actually get caught up to current events! In school, I swear I never once learned about anything post WWII. I'm still not really sure what the Vietnam or Korean Wars were about...also, they'd have to memorize the preamble just because it's so fun to sing the School House Rock song.
As for art and music, we'd take frequent field trips to art museums to learn in a real-life setting. We'd learn about daVinci, Matisse, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, etc etc. For music, we would not only discuss Bach, Mozart, Chopin, etc etc but the Beatles, Billy Joel, Boston, Aerosmith, etc etc would be required listening. Plus they'd have to take piano. It's a tradition.
As for electives, they'd definitely have to learn about computers, and also learn how to type 90+ words a minute. Ballroom dance would be highly encouraged (hehe, but not forced, I promise), but they could pick any activity that they were interested in and I would pay for all lessons, costumes, competitions, gear, etc that their activities entailed.
Whew, it was kinda exhausting trying to come up with all of that, and I know that I left a ton of stuff out. I don't know how parents can actually home school their children...it would take so much time...but you know, I really like the idea of having complete control over my children's education, which makes me sound like I'd be one of those control-freak anal parents, but it's true, it would be nice to pick and choose what they'd learn. Eh, anyway, there's something to think about.