The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Curriculum Workshop A Guide to Writing Homeschool Curriculum (paperback, 96 pgs) Review by Gena Suarez

Alice Pauquette
Publisher: Excellent Quests

Alice Pauquette is an author that my husband, Paul Suarez, and our Marketing Director, Janella Murry, sat down with at a coffeehouse while TOS was doing business out in Florida, in the summer of 2004. Her enthusiasm for learning and teaching within the homeschooling community became apparent very quickly to both Paul and Janella, to the point where Paul has mentioned her name to me a few times since, regarding the possibility of getting her involved more closely with our magazine and its audience. She made a great impression. Alice holds a BA in Human Development/Psychology and an MS in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology. On top of that, she's always homeschooled her own three children. She has assisted a number of businesses and individuals in designing specialized homeschooling curricula's and currently serves her local homeschooling community by leading the Pinellas Parent Educators Association, Inc. out in Florida where she resides and conducts business. I find her company to be quite unique in that she is a "designer of a designer" of curriculum. There are many great homeschool authors in the community who create fabulous curricula's; we need them and they serve homeschool families well. But Alice shows us how to create a whole curriculum, how to put the pieces together from start to finish. If you can write, and you have a topic of study that would be of interest, perhaps you will want to design a curriculum. Alice's book, Curriculum Workshop, is a roadmap for designing the perfect, or custom-tailored, curriculum for your child, or even for your future business.

Let's look at this from the homeschooler's perspective (non-business). I think that really, this was who the author had in mind when she set out to write a book teaching how to create a curriculum. It's a real challenge to custom-make your own course of study for your children. And it takes real commitment. What is a curriculum, anyway? It's an education plan, a guide for successful learning whether for a quarter, semester or the whole year. Where do you start?

Alice takes you through the various steps, asks some compelling questions and then helps you lay out the groundwork to get going. Topics covered, some complete with worksheets, are: assessing your child's strengths and weaknesses, goal setting, making learning FUN, content presentation, including technology in your teaching/learning, culminating ideas/activities, "getting it done", and more. An appendix of resources in the back is also helpful and includes website and book reference information for various resources, like classical method, Charlotte Mason, eclectic, unschooling, mini books, maps, flags, timelines, software recommendations, and so on. She also covers distance education and accreditation. This book is a great starting point for new homeschoolers, but is also great for the veteran mom who is ready to make the jump into writing her own curriculum. And for the student or parent who gets a "wild hair" to create his own curriculum line for business, this is a super starting point. The book is under $22 which allows for almost anyone to pick up their own copy. Recommended by The Old Schoolhouse®!

-- Product Review by: Gena Suarez, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine