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  • Writer's pictureYvette Appiah

Integrating Your Values into Your Home Curriculum

We all have different values and morals based on our environment, our level of education and basically, how we were raised.

As parents you have every right to raise your child according to your own values.

Public schools impose a “standardized” set of values on your child by incorporating those values into the lessons. Private schools impose a very specific set of values as well.

The values are in the learning material. For example, as women continue to gain recognition and respect in society you see the learning material showing women in roles that were traditionally male. The language changes from policeman to police person or mail carrier to show sensitivity to gender.

Public school learning material follows societal standards.

As a pretty conservative person, I have not always agreed with the material my children were given at school. I certainly took issue with learning material that told historic stories instead of facts, such as Christopher Columbus “discovering” America.

In fact, history, social studies and geography curriculums typically neglect whole cultures, ethnicities, and parts of the world, especially when teaching about contributions to society and technology.

At home, I take matters into my own hands and teach my children global history and the truth.

The bad news is subjects like history, social studies, and geography are easy to confront at home. You can easily teach your child more or less about any historic figure that is featured in a history lesson. Martin Luther King is a popular history lesson. You can simply add more facts to what has been presented in the learning material (which is usually just the stuff about his dream) or, if you don’t care for lessons on MLK you can offer other impactful figures of his time.

That’s an easy fix. The hard part is when values you may not agree with are subtly incorporated into reading assignments, and math problems and grammar sentences.

Have you ever actually read through the questions on the worksheets your children bring home? If you already homeschool, do you read through all the questions on the learning materials you find?

As an Instructional Designer I am telling you there is a lesson between the lines of every question.

Let me explain.

Names, for example, that are used in grammar sentences, math word problems, and reading passages either speak to or against your child’s interest.

If all the material presents names like Molly, Sophia, Tom, and Bradley while your child knows Keisha and Daquan, or Lee and Yi, or Maria and Jose, or Arusha and Mohammed, then your child will indirectly disassociate him or herself with the learning material, thus creating a disconnect to that subject.

All you know is your child “doesn’t like” reading. Your child is not able to verbalize or recognize that it is because he or she does not relate to the reading.

Let’s take Daquan, for example. He lives in the city and both his parents work. His grandmother helps look after him after school and most days he goes to the recreation center where he does homework and plays with friends until his mom picks him up.

Daquan’s learning material should reflect names of people and places he is familiar with to engage him in the reading. If a grammar sentences for Daquan read:

Tyrese plays/played basketball very well last week.

I bet Daquan would like grammar much more than learning about Sally or Tom.

THAT is not stereotyping, it is engaging your child in the learning material based on people and things that already interest him, or her.

My son is into science. Although he is a big boy, he is not athletic or interested in sports, so learning material that relates to sports would get lost on him. My daughter is into technology, she has never wanted or owned a doll.

We do not have to have our children conform to learning material based on gender standards or on race or cultural stereotypes.

My example of Daquan could be replaced by your child’s name, environment, and interests.

Let’s take Sally for example.

Sally lives in the rural areas of Florida. Sally helps out on the farm and sees alligators more often than most kids. She catches a bus to and from school.

Her learning material should reflect the people and places in her environment. If Sally had a grammar sentence that read: The cows are huddled over their/they’re/there. I bet Sally would like grammar more than she does now.

I hope you get where I am going with this.

If Arusha’s mom owns her own restaurant and wants Arusha to become a business owner, then sentences that present jobs such as fireman/woman or police officer could be replaced with business person.

I certainly teach my children the value of owning their own business and working it on the internet. They have YouTube channels and posts regularly. Check out GK World on Instagram and and YouTube.

Sorry for that shameless plug. Back to the topic.

For history, social studies and geography you can easily add more facts of historic figures, cultures and contributions to your lessons based on the people you want your child to learn about. THAT is a list as vast and various as the American family. I may want my kids to learn about Genghis Khan while you may want yours to learn more about Shaka Zulu while Cheryl may want her kids to learn about Arminius. It is up to you.

I base my choices on historic heroes that make my children feel proud, relatable and inspired.

For more common, everyday lessons such as grammar, reading passages, and math word problems, replace the nouns (people, places and things) with relatable, identifiable material that matches your values and notice a difference in the way your child responds to learning a boring subject as grammar.

As adults, we have been so imposed upon by society to conform to standardized values that we are afraid to teach our children what we truly believe for fear of being shamed.

The truth is your values are your right.

Values, however, are different from facts and a innate human sense of right and wrong. Believe what you will, but I hope no one is teaching harmful behavior. Deep down, we all know that murder is wrong.

All I am saying is take the lessons and turn them into your own. If you are unsure how to do it, contact me, I am an Education Consultant for Homeschoolers.

I will take an assessment of your child’s learning style, and interests, combined with your environment and family values and help you develop a personalized curriculum.

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