Education Buzzwords: Courses Revisited

As I had posted before, a course is simply “knowledge imparted in a series of lessons”. Anytime you use a series of meetings or practice sessions to teach something, it is a course.

If you take several sessions with your preschooler over a couple of weeks to teach him to tie his shoes, he has completed a course in shoe tying. It sounds silly, I know, but essentially this is a course.

In an educational setting, when students are attending public school (or at least, when I attended public school), a course would be “Language Arts 3”, or something like that. Each grade level has certain classes that cover certain topics. Each class, in this context, would be considered a course. Now, typically, they are not called courses until high school and/or college.

In a homeschool setting, courses tend to be led by the materials we choose, but they are essentially the same. Subjects like Phonics, Vocabulary, Spelling, Writing, and Math are year-long courses. If you follow textbooks for History and Science, those would also be year-long courses. If you use unit studies, lapbooks, or projects for your homeschool, then each unit study, lapbook study, or project would be a course.

In my previous posts about curriculum (here and here) I discussed how curriculum is simply a list of courses offered in an educational institution. My course catalog shows, not only a list of courses offered in my homeschool, but also a description of each course and a general overview of what it covers. We’ll revisit the course catalog in the coming posts, but take some time to think about your homeschool courses. Can you summarize them in a couple of sentences? Do you know what you want to teach your students in each course?


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