What “curriculum” means

Perhaps the biggest mistake homeschooling moms make as a whole is overcomplicating things. After all, curriculum is not something you buy. It is far too robust to be purchased online or checked off on a set of lesson plans. It is a set of encounters that form the soul and shape the intellect.

— from Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie (2015), pg 25

I could say I don’t have one curriculum this year because I am mixing and matching things rather than using Ambleside Online. However, according to Mrs. Mackenzie, my curriculum is not the collection of teacher’s guides, math workbooks, and online lessons. It is the “form and content of our children’s learning experiences” (22). It includes the library picture book about Olivia the pig going to Venice, Italy. It includes the enthusiasm for the animal world they pick up from the Kratt brothers on Wild Kratts. It is also the experience of riding home from the evening church service with the window open, noticing the smells of bonfires, marshes, humidity, night air, manure. And, of course, it is the habit of listening to Mom as she reads on and on, enjoying the rhythm of Song of Hiawatha, even though it is probably at a higher grade level than is appropriate for them.

My note to self: don’t overcomplicate things. They are learning, even when I think we’re not getting in the school hours I promise the government I’m going to keep.


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