Issues and Trends in Curriculum – From Technology to Global Awareness

Many immediate and complex issues overwhelm educators today. With positive and negative global influences, educators must look beyond the surface of education. Students are not just products of their schools but will become shaping forces in society, determining the success and failure of their nation’s future. Curricularists, educators, and everyone in leadership need to work together to develop a well-rounded curriculum, which includes the learning of different cultures. Our next generation will need to cope with cross-cultural matters and grow into sensible adults who are fair and just to the global society.

Technology plays an essential role in our education today and will even more so in the future. Especially in countries where economic and political situations are stable, the accessibility of the Internet and computers to maximize curriculum and to act as a means of communication among educators, even to the extent of intranets, must become available. This technology should be available in every school funded by taxes and donation from private industry.

Technology can also close the gaps between the educational levels around the world. Because of the political and socio-economic differences among countries, it would be impossible for this degree of technology to reach all parts of the world, yet effort should be made to see that education is fairy distributed to all children everywhere. This will require volunteers, donations, and assistance from the capable countries internationally. Even if there was just one computer in every town for those countries for school children, it would make a difference.

Another reason technology is significant to our curriculum development is for cultural knowledge expansion. The need to understand different cultures is an emergent issue in today’s education and societies as relationships among countries become more intertwined. The United States has always been a country of diversity; however, for the longest time, the contents of its curriculum were selectively western-focused.

For example, high school world history courses emphasized primarily European and western history. We now can make use of technology to design a world history curriculum that includes not only that part of world history but extends farther. San Diego University, in cooperation with the National Center for History in the Schools at the University of Los Angeles, offers Internet information on world history and assists teachers in delivering a whole curriculum without excluding a major part of the world’s people, events, or times (San Diego State University, 2007).

We should also take advantage of technology to form a curriculum for creating international awareness, understanding various cultures, and learning different opinions and values. Curriculums

need to focus on melting down barriers against others who are different and to encourage mutual respect and understanding for other cultures and beliefs. One way to promote cultural exchange is through technological communication. Thanks to the advancement of technology today, students all over the world can actually use computers to see and to talk to each other. More effort on promoting such communication should be encouraged and assisted by the government, various organizations, and individuals with the means to do so. One day, through the help of technology in education, people will learn that we are all part of the world community.

Choosing the Right Homeschool Curriculum For Your Family

Any first time homeschooler can recount the details of their first homeschool convention. Some may have wonderful experiences, but the many that I have come into contact with, come away feeling hopelessly overwhelmed and confused by the availability of choices. The families who go to homeschool conventions and come away with the right fit or mix of curriculum normally have a well thought out plan.

Perhaps you are the type of homeschooling parent who does not attend homeschool conventions. Possibly you prefer to order your homeschool curriculum from various catalogs that you request by telephone, mail or over the internet. Here you are selectively contacting those curriculum providers that you feel will best suit your needs.

You could possibly be part of a third group – the homeschooler who enjoys surfing the web and sifting through the maze of homeschool curriculum advertised on line. This was where I found myself about 10 years ago. Not being in a country where annual homeschool conventions were the norm all those years ago, I needed a strategy to survive the curriculum hunt.

Here are my top 8 tips for choosing the right curriculum for your family, whether online, via catalog or at a homeschool convention.

Tip no 1 – Know your children well.

Here I am not talking about learning styles. This is knowing their particular bent – their interests, their heart, their hopes and dreams.

Tip no 2 – Family focus

Here you consider what you as a family are about. Are you a missionary family? Are you a family with special needs children? Perhaps you want to travel more. All these issues need to be taken into account.

Tip no 3 – Learning styles

Knowing your children's learning styles (and your teaching styles) is an important consideration but it should not be the only thing that you consider when purchasing curriculum.

Tip no 4 – Long term goals

What are your long term goals for your family? What are your children's goals for their own lives? The answer to this question may only become clearer as your children get older. But if you desire that your children are self employed then you would look for curriculum and resources that aid you in this goal.

Tip no 5 – Cost

This is an important factor. While there are many homeschooling families who feel alright with photocopying and borrowing material, I have never thought it fair to "rob" others of their income. This does not mean that buying a homeschool curriculum need to bankrupt you, but planning in advance can make all the difference if you know what your budget is.

Tip no 6 – Philosophy

Research what homeschool philosophy appeals to you. There are a large number of differing schools of thought. Briefly they are: Literature Based, Unit Study, Textbook, Unschooling, Accelerated, Catholic, Classical, Delight Directed and Charlotte Mason.

Tip no 7 – Time available to mom

This is an important factor to take into consideration. Do you have lots of children? Perhaps you work part time? Do your children pursue lots of activities and have other co-op classes? These need to be thought through as you prepare to purchase any curriculum.

Tip no 8 – Know your child's preferences and weaknesses

Part of choosing curriculum is finding the right tools to build up your children in their weaknesses so that they achieve an acceptable standard. It is also good to have a general knowledge of all scholarly disciplines, but this is not necessarily the only goal. Make sure you also choose things in which your child can delight in.

Finally before starting out to the homeschool convention, surfing the net or sending out catalog request, be sure that you have prayed about your choices, sought your husbands counsel and that you have your guidelines in place. Happy curriculum hunting.

8 Simple Tips For Selecting The Best Homeschool Writing Curriculum

When I was an English teacher, curriculum planning was a breeze. The curriculum committee at the school district decided what learning materials were appropriate for the students in my classroom. At the beginning of the semester, everything I needed was delivered to me in a large, heavy box.

With the help of the dense-packed teacher's manual and numerous ancillary materials, I was able to create daily lesson plans with little difficulty. But for most homeschool parents, the curriculum planning process is seldom so straightforward.

Because writing is a foundational academic skill, many homeschool parents place special emphasis on selecting an appropriate homeschool writing curriculum for their children. But with so many options, finding the best homeschool writing curriculum can seem like a formidable task.

As a foster parent, I've investigated a variety of homeschool writing curriculum options for the child currently in my care. Here are some guidelines to make the decision-making process a little easier for you and your family:

1. Build your homeschool writing curriculum from any item or opportunity to help you teach writing. This includes activities as simple as writing poems or song lyrics. Young children especially are natural poets. Inspiration to write poetry can be found anywhere. Reading some children's poetry books can help stimulate the creative process.

2. Since writing is a fundamental skill, buy your homeschool writing curriculum first. To keep from being overwhelmed by all of the options in the marketplace, read reviews online and talk with other homeschoolers about their experiences with the curriculum.

3. Because writing covers a broad range of topics, some families buy more curriculum than they actually need. This problem can contribute to impulse spending, as some parents fear they won't do a good job unless they have all their bases covered.

4. Not all homeschool writing curriculum needs to be purchased. Library books can be used for teaching literature, and you can share books with other homeschoolers.

5. Keep your own personality and needs in mind when considering a purchase. Some writing programs, such as those published by Bob Jones University Press, require active planning and participation by parents while other programs, such as Houghton Mifflin English Curriculum, tend to be self-directed and require less parental involvement.

6. Keep your child's personality and needs in mind as well. A child lacking motivation to write would not be engaged by a traditional homeschool writing curriculum emphasizing grammatical rules and formal language structure. A better option might be a workbook that's fun and breaks the writing process down into manageable sections.

Many students enjoy the sense of accomplishment they feel when they complete a writing workbook. These positive feelings can carry over into their next writing workbook. You can also supplement any written work with oral assignments.

7. If you don't like writing, or if you prefer to have everything organized and planned out, consider using a traditional textbook and teacher's manual. Although this option is more expensive, you'll benefit from having expert guidance to take you step-by step through each concept.

Teacher's manuals also assist parents with evaluating their children's written work. Some include extra printable worksheets and other instructional materials on CDs.

8. Above all else, remember that teachers teach, books don't. The actual amount of learning that occurs depends largely on the quality of interaction between you and your child.