Introduction to The Family School – Complete Curriculum – Part 1
We are thrilled that you are considering The Family School- Complete Curriculum for teaching your children History, Literature, Science, Geography, Art, and Music in the light of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. You have an exciting year ahead of you! As you take this journey the world will come alive. Academic learning and the study of spiritual gospel principles will no longer be divided. They will come together.
The following introduction will with give you an in depth overview of The Family School. You will learn how it came to be, what it includes, and receive recommendations and tips for how to use it most effectively as a central part of your daily homeschool. We recognize the selfless sacrifice it requires to be a homeschool mother and are humbly aware of the trust you are placing in us to support your desires for
H I S T O R Y
Integrating principles of the gospel in strong academics is something American Heritage School began in 1969 following the closing of the Brigham Young Academy (1876 – 1968). Several teachers, parents, and teachers of the former Academy desired to perpetuate the teaching of academics by and through the Spirit.
This philosophy is a deeply rooted and unchanging mission spanning over 125 years and is central to The American Heritage Family School (more at www.LatterDayLearning.org—“About”).over 40 years after the school’s founding, and in response to hundreds of request from LDS Homeschoolers around the country, the school began evaluating how it could export the experience of combining spiritual and academic learning beyond the walls of its campus. After several months of research–discussing with, surveying, and observing thousands of LDS homeschoolers, the school began developing The American Heritage Family School.
The results of this research brought to light several important characteristics of a curriculum in harmony with the desires of LDS homeschooling families. The most significant of which was the idea of a “family school”—children of various ages learning together, but working at their respective levels—a one-room schoolhouse approach. in addition to creating a curriculum that facilitated family learning, enabling each mother to teach all children at the same time, the research revealed several other important characteristics necessary to LDS Homeschoolers, which are listed below:
I N T R O D U C T I O N
• rich LDS integration (the use of scriptures, words of prophets, and gospel principles)
• Fun, active, hands-on learning
• Learning through good literature
• Simple to use and comprehensive in its instruction
• Generous questions and activities to stimulate thinking and learning on all levels
• First person voice to enable simple reading and delivery
• ready and available tools and additional resources needed for each lesson
• The ability to connect with other Family School parents to get ideas, to share, and network
We express gratitude to the many contributors of ideas, time, and energy—many who may be reading this now. Thank you!
S C O P E
This year of The Family School is the first in a six-part series. each year includes 180 lessons (History – 36, Science – 36, Geography – 36, Literature – 36, Music – 18, and Art – 18). These subjects are divided into two categories—Core (History, Science, and Geography), and Humanities (Literature, Art, and Music). Depending on the teacher’s application of the lesson, all core lessons provide approximately 120 minutes of instruction. it is advisable to take a break in the middle for a short recess. All humanities lessons provide around 60 minutes each. Lessons can be adapted to fit a shorter or longer schedule depending on your needs.
It is important to note that The Family School curriculum does not include lessons for math and language, as these are “leveled learning” subjects. We have not developed our own curriculum for math and language on-campus. There are several wonderful curriculums. our recommendation for Math is Saxon, but there are many others. our recommendation for Language is more diverse, including riggs, A Beka Book, and rod and Staff.
S C H E D U L E
As mentioned above, the research revealed that many (not all) homeschool mothers not only wanted a quality LDS-oriented curriculum, but a plan for how to use it—even a day-by-day schedule. This curriculum is unique and the schedule is as well. The schedule is broken into two parts—the daily schedule and the curriculum schedule.
The daily schedule of a Family School provides for an average 120-minute block with a 20-30 minute recess or break in the middle. Family School can be held in the morning or the afternoon, whichever fits your needs best. As we observed LDS homeschool mothers using a similar “family” or “group” school model, they would often focus on a family devotional, household jobs, individual instrument practice, and individual grade level math and language arts in the morning, with the afternoons dedicated to some form of a group, co-op, or family learning experience. The curriculum schedule is a rotating weekly schedule or a rotating unit schedule.
The weekly schedule follows a partner each week, focusing three days of the week on a specific core subject (either history, science or geography) rotating through these three subjects every three weeks. The fourth day is dedicated to the humanities (literature and music or art). The rotating unit schedule follows a specific unit within History, Literature, Geography, or Science and continues with that subject until the respective unit is complete, at which point, you would move on to the next subject, complete that unit, and so on. in both cases, the fifth day of the week is open for field trips, scout projects, family history, home preparedness, and so on.
Complete schedules and more detail can be found online at www.LatterDayLearning.org. This schedule will show you how we recommend using this curriculum. in addition to providing a schedule to give order and simplicity to The Family School, there is a much more significant reason we recommend following the recommended schedule—for networking and collaboration.
Having said this, it is not essential to follow this suggested schedule to have an outstanding learning experience using this curriculum. You, the teacher, know the needs and time constraints of your family best.
N E T W O R K
Although it is important to provide a high level LDS homeschool curriculum, The Family School is not only a curriculum. it was designed with one additional and equally important objective–to provide opportunities for collaboration and networking among LDS homeschoolers. The Family School network provides a dynamic dimension to The Family School curriculum. This network is dedicated to helping mothers, students, teachers, and the school to easily connect and share with each other. It will provide all with a sense of community while sharing ideas, struggles, successes, feedback, and friendship freely and openly. Likewise, it allows us to continue to send updates, resources, and ideas to continually enrich and supplement the program along the way. The free network is available at www.LatterDayLearning.org.
To purchase The Family School – Complete Curriculum click here.