A scope and sequence is a term used in educational circles to describe the sequence of subjects to be covered in various grades. As homeschoolers we have an opportunity to do things differently than schools do; being the parents we are certainly very aware of and concerned for the teaching and training of the whole child. The Discipleship Scope and Sequence, gives a starting point for parents to be intentional with their homescooling in a whole child, heart focus way.
The scope – being the subjects that we cover:
- Intrapersonal skills
The Sequence – Sequential stages that mirror growth and development:
- Relationships and Character
- Love of Learning
- Study skills
- Independent Learner
Why have a Discipleship Scope and Sequence?
This discipleship based scope helps me see the whole child – helps me intentional in training each facet of their life, and not get swamped by the academic push of schooling. It is easy to get caught up in the Scope and Sequence of academic programmes. These are helpful – for academic progress – but as a Mum, I am teaching and training more than my children’s intellect. I wanted a guide that helped me see the whole child, not just the mind.
Another ‘scope’ list that I often consider is: Spiritual, Social, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Practical – these are simply another way of defining, or categorising the different parts of our make-up. I often ask myself are our children growing in each of these areas?
It is also helpful to have a sequence that recognises the unique child – instead of just age based grade levels. Our children progress in different skills at different rates – and we need to match our teaching and expectations accordingly. The Discipleship ‘sequence’ builds on character first – without the character of self control and enthusiasm, it is very hard for a child to learn. Likewise, we cannot expect a child to learn independently if they don’t have both the desire to learn and the skills to learn. Reshaping the sequence of growing into an independent learner helps keep our lessons relevant to each individual we have in our family.
How to use a Discipleship Scope and Sequence?
To make a Scope and Sequence a helpful tool in your family the two work together. You plan your day (from the Scope) aimed at the development ability of each child (the Sequence). Initially your child would work on all those ‘scope’ issues from a Relationship and Character perspective, gradually progressing through to working on all the ‘scope’ issues as an Independent Learner.
- Knowing that the first stage of development was Relationships and Character helped me shape the pre-school years, helping me to relax and not push formal academics on my kids early but instead giving them plenty of time to play and be with me – they still learnt things, their intellect was still engaged and growing, but it was with the purpose of building relationship with God and man in mind.
- When I knew that the next stage was to create a love of learning, it helped me keep those early primary school years about introducing my kids to the world. I wanted them to taste and see, to desire more. This is also when they started to read and write, but of course they had no idea where this skill would take them.
- As the kids reading became more independent, and they had things they wanted to learn I gradually taught them how to learn, how to find answers, how to study. It wasn’t so much about what content they studied, but that they learnt to study. Of course, we had specific subjects (like history, geography, science, etc) but my focus was that they could learn to learn.
- This then prepared them for independent study in highschool – though this happened at different ages for my different kids. Though my kids could work independently – they were not responsible for their overall learning. There is a difference between being able to work independently, and being an independent learner – where the motivation comes from within.
How to plan Academics and still use a Discipleship Scope and Sequence?
Though I prioritise Relationships over Academics, we still cover Academics. This priority sequence of Relationships – Responsibilities – Intrapersonal Skills – Talents and Academics, is a value list, not a time based list. We plan to study 3-4 mornings a week, 3-5 hours a day (depending on ages of the kids) Should an issue or an opportunity arise though that addresses one of the other areas (Relationships, Responsibilities, Intrapersonal Skills, Talents) we may well lay aside the Academics for the moment and deal with the other stuff. So on the one hand other things takes priority but on the other hand we still focus on Academics.
Sometimes this means our kids ‘fall behind’ the scope and sequence of the curriculum, or kids in school. I’m okay with this because I know while we haven’t been doing the Academic lessons we’ve been working on other stuff. Of course, what this looks like will differ in each family.
When you decide which Academic subjects are important or necessary for your child, you will have a sub-scope and sequence. For example, we are using Math-U-See, it has its own scope and sequence, and by following the order of the lessons, we are using their scope and sequence. Really the two Scope and Sequences run side by side – and meet different purposes. The Discipleship Scope and Sequence helps me teach and train the whole child. The Math-U-See scope and sequence helps train in Mathematics. Every curriculum you buy will have its own scope and sequence. If you are putting your own lesson plans together, then you will have your own scope and sequence, your own plan to follow.
The Discipleship Scope and Sequence though will determine how much time you have for the Academic studies. We need to remember that we are educating the whole child – the Spiritual, Social, Emotional, Physical, Intellectual and Practical. We cannot sacrifice one for the other, and yet we need to keep it in balance.
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A scope and sequence is only a general idea, based on an average progression. We cannot have average without something being not-average. There will be kids who don’t fit into any scope and sequence. That is okay. It is there as a guide.
As a homeschool mum I have my children with me all the time – I am responsible to teach and train all aspects of their life – and yet, once we take on ‘homeschooling’ it is easy to focus on and stress over the Academics, forgetting that we need to be intentional about the whole child. This is the purpose and intent behind the Discipleship Scope and Sequence: to help us keep all areas in balance.
Other blog posts written on Scope and Sequence:
Create your own Scope and Sequence (in terms of academics)
Over to you:
How do you keep your focus on the whole child as you homeschool?
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