Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Unschooling Course of Study

This is a "Course of Study" I saw on a home schooling email list, it was put into its form here by Pam Sorooshian and I made it ours by the simple insertion of Serenity School, it makes what we are doing sound almost respectable doesn't it? :-) Then there is why we do it which you can get an idea about by reading The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto, free in its entirety on line.

The World is Our Classroom


Course of Study
Elementary Students

Serenity School is a private full-time day school established in
compliance with the Education Code of the State of California. Because
we believe that the family is the most fundamental social institution
and the preferred means of caring for, preparing, and training children
to be productive members of society, Serenity School promotes and
supports a family-centered education through our independent study program.
At Serenity School , independent study, in which children learn
primarily under the immediate direction, guidance, and support of their
parents and other caring and involved adults, offers an outstanding
educational opportunity by providing a natural learning environment,
extensive real-world experience, flexibility of schedule, and the
ability to respond to the specific needs and inclinations of the child.
Each Serenity School student’s program is developmentally appropriate,
integrated and fully individualized, and continually built upon student
strengths and interests throughout the year.


Serenity School students will develop knowledge of, and appreciation for
literature and the language, as well as the skills of speaking, reading,
listening, spelling, handwriting, and composition.
Students will read from self-chosen or parent-chosen literature on a
regular basis and will engage in reflection on those literature pieces
in a variety of ways, such as: journal writing, book reviews,
conversations, drama based on the books, book clubs. Our educational
goal is for Serenity School students to read for pleasure, to gain exposure
to a wide variety of genres, and to be able to reflect critically on
what they read.

Students will read content-related non-fiction materials to support
their chosen areas of interest. They will reflect on these pieces in a
variety of ways, such as: journal writing, writing articles for
submission to magazines or newspapers, discussions, or development of a
scrapbook in an area of interest. Our goal is for Serenity School students
to learn to read critically for information, to understand and be able
to reflect on materials read, to be able to compare them to other
sources of information, and to learn how and where to find written
resources as needed.

Writing, spelling and grammar will be covered as part of Serenity School
students’ natural writing processes. Students will develop their ability
to write creatively, to write letters and lists, to create and write
drama pieces, informational essays, persuasive articles, etc. Our goal
is for Serenity School students to enjoy writing, to gain expertise in both
the writing process and in technical writing and editing skills, and to
develop a sense of power over the written word.


Serenity School students will develop their knowledge of the biological and
physical sciences, with emphasis on the processes of experimental
inquiry and on the place of humans in ecological systems. They will
relate these to areas of specific student interests by engaging in
hands-on activities, watching science videos, reading related written
materials, conducting scientific experiments, keeping journals, making
and recording observations, visiting scientists in their work places,
visiting local science museums, participating in science fairs and
workshops, and through cooperative learning. Our goal is for
Serenity School students to experience a wide range of scientific exposure,
to develop a positive interest in science, to learn to think
scientifically, to develop a respect for the work scientists do, and to
understand the importance science has in daily life and in the overall

Social Sciences:

Serenity School students will develop their understanding of the social
sciences and humanities by reading and discussing fiction and
non-fiction materials, participating in field trips to historic and
politically or culturally significant sites, or through discussion and
debate. Anthropology, economics, psychology, geography, history,
political science, and sociology are fully integrated into the students
studies in a wide variety of ways, such as: the use of time lines and
maps, discussion, journal writing, cooking, plays, road trips, invention
building, field trips, and art. Our goal is for Serenity School students to
develop a foundation for understanding the history, resources,
development, and government of California and the United States of
America; the development of the American economic system including the
role of the entrepreneur and labor; the relations of persons to their
human and natural environment; eastern and western cultures and
civilizations; and contemporary issues including the wise use of natural

Health and Physical Education:

Health and physical education will be fully integrated as a part of
daily living skills and participation in the wider community with an
emphasis upon the physical activities that my be conducive to health and
vigor of body and mind. Students will learn to care for their health and
physical environment in a variety of ways, such as: shopping for and
preparing food, discussing the necessity of a healthy diet,
participation in fire drills and other emergency preparedness
activities, exercise both as play and as part of a structured group
experience and through camping, hiking, and other outdoor activity. Our
goal is for Serenity School students to appreciate the necessity of a
healthy body and to develop lifelong habits of regular exercise and good

Visual and Performing Arts:

Serenity School students will develop their knowledge of art, music, and
drama through informal and structured methods in a variety of ways, such
as: art classes, instrumental lessons, choral singing, listening to
various styles of music, learning about the people who have influenced
music through history, or working on individualized or group projects
that relate to music, art, and drama, including acting and performing in
a variety of venues and genres. Our goal is for Serenity School students to
enjoy a wide variety of art, music, and drama experiences, including
performance, while developing an understanding and appreciation of the
importance of art, music, and drama as creative expressions of human
life experiences.


Serenity School students will develop mathematical concepts, operational
skills, and problem solving through participation in daily real-world
activities such as cooking, building, shopping, budgeting, computing,
etc. Mathematics materials will be chosen to support students’
individual learning styles in order to achieve competency in operational
skills and insight into problem-solving procedures. Our goal is for
Serenity School students to gain a strong conceptual knowledge of
mathematics as well as an appreciation for the daily applications of
mathematics in their lives.

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