Our natural, classical, individualized curriculum is rich in literature, filled with play, and pursues the art of the penetrating question.
Classical children’s literature, such as stories by the Brothers Grimm, Aesop, or Lewis Carroll, forms the core of the curriculum. We emphasize free learning through play in natural indoor and outdoor environments, and critical thinking skills developed through Socratic dialogue. The peculiar interests of the child guide the field of study.
Every child is different. Shouldn't their curriculum be different too?
At Whimselthwaite, we customize each child's curriculum to their needs, their passions.
Individualized educational resources, such as literature, textbooks, manipulatives, toys, projects materials, and art supplies, are tailored to each student.
Students are not graded unless requested. Instead, their progress is evaluated with the parent/s present, where a constructive conversation dictates improvements. Students compete against themselves, not one another.
In accordance with Oregon state law, students are asked to take one test at the end of grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, and if the child was withdrawn from public school, 18 months after withdrawal. We do not waste instruction time preparing for these, but we do take them (with a grain of salt). Other tests are not required.
Although test scores are a limited indicator of student performance (we aim to educate the whole child), our students test well. This is because they are getting a rigorous education, not because they are being “taught to the test.” Last year, on the California Achievement Test (CAT, the standardized test required for all homeschool students in Oregon) our 3rd-grade-student scored in the 76th percentile, a year early. That is, based on her age, she should have been in the 2nd grade, but is competing with students a year older than she, with advanced academic material, and performing well.
In Mathematics, her scores indicate she was achieving at a 4th-grade equivalency, in Reading, a 5th-grade equivalency, and in Language, a 9th-grade equivalency. According to her total score, at age 7, she was achieving a 5th–grade equivalency; she was two years ahead. Likewise, our 1st grader is working one year ahead of his peers and tested at nearly 100% on the national DIBELS reading test, and our 3-year-old tests high in his verbal and cognitive skills. In short, tests are not a problem, and we are confident that the curriculum at Whimselthwaite School prepares students to compete if necessary.
On a national scale, homeschool students test better than public students or private religious institutions: