There are a few important determining factors that go into deciding what subjects to teach (and how often). Co-curriculars, those subjects that are added bonuses to our core curriculum are great ways to expose our children to new things and to let them pursue their special interests-so it’s great you are thinking about this. We homeschool moms have to consider three things-our goals, our resources, and what we’re currently teaching to determine what co-curriculars to incorporate when.
Goals are an important place to start because we want to make sure our efforts align with our desired outcomes. For example, if you want to start teaching Spanish to simply expose your child to the language, then incorporating it once or twice per week is fine. If you are hoping that your child will be able to speak conversational Spanish by the end of HS, then now is the time to start daily Spanish lessons.
Secondly, we’ve got to think about our resources, namely time and money. If your child needs you in order for them to be able to take on that extra subject, a top question should be do you have the additional 25-minutes per day to work with them on this? If not, are there funds to pay someone else to? We don’t want this to be a determining factor but we do want to take this into consideration. This can easily help us to see that some subjects are for later on. And don’t feel guilty about this. In a traditional school, some classes only take place during certain semesters or have to be canceled because of low enrollment or a lack of a teacher. Resources are a normal thing to consider.
Third, it’s always great for us to think about where we can re-distribute time. Perhaps spelling, handwriting, and reading can be considered one “class” and you do only one of those each day to free up more time. The best way to have clarity on where it’s best to redistribute is to look at where there is overlap and consider what you can group together. You can also assess your child, to see where they are “ahead”. For example, if your 4th grade is doing 6th-grade math, you can do math lessons 4 times per week instead of 5 to add in another co-curricular.
So here’s what this can look like in practice: My son loves coding. Right now, my goal is to simply expose him and get him excited about the topic- not for him to master a coding language. Using code.org, he can advance through the coding courses without much involvement from me. So I’ve decided to incorporate coding a few times per week as a fun subject after we’ve done some hard brain work.
My last word of encouragement is that we want to give our children a full and impactful homeschool experience without keeping up with the public school “joneses”. This means we want to intentionally expose them to a variety of subjects without putting pressure on ourselves for them to experience the same 45-minutes per day in 7 subjects that they’d get in traditional school. The sweet thing about homeschool is that they get the chance to acquire knowledge at their own pace and can deep dive into what’s most interesting to them- which means some co-curriculars will get more attention than others.
Phew, I know that was a lot of food for thought. So to boil it down-
Given your goals, resources, and current teaching load-what co-curriculars are at the top of your list to incorporate?