Comparing Curriculums: What’s the Best Learning Approach?


As a parent, you only want the best for your child—especially when it comes to their education. With fall enrollments right around the corner, you're probably asking yourself, "What school has the best curriculum?" or "What kind of curriculums are out there?"

Trying to compare the schools and their offered curriculums can be challenging. After all, learning isn't exactly one-size-fits-all.

In fact, K-12 curriculums are developed differently and thus affect children differently. Subsequently, we’ve compiled some of the most pressing topics to assist in deciding which curriculum and school setting will best support your child's learning style and growth.

How curriculums are developed

Curriculum is synonymous with course planning or development, and curriculum instruction varies from school to school. Oftentimes, public school teachers have a set of guidelines from their school district and follow content standards set by the state's Department of Education to create lesson plans for daily instruction.

A typical curriculum considers learning objectives, course materials like textbooks and homework, and assessments. Teachers also have to consider preparing their students for standardized testing if required. However, the ultimate goal for any curricula is to equip students to learn and master the knowledge and skills needed to proceed to the next grade level.

Three types of curriculum used in K-12 schools

Different schools have different approaches to learning. A homeschool, public school, and online school can all teach the same (if not similar) subjects but in a different manner. For example, your child may take a math course and learn the same material taught within another type of curriculum. It's simply the instructional method that differs!

There are three common types of curricula used in schools.

  1. Subject-centered
    A subject-centered curriculum is what you’re probably most familiar with. Content in this curriculum revolves around core subjects like math, literature, history, and science. Most K-12 public schools take on this standardized form of curriculum.  This model isn’t as flexible in catering to the learning needs of individual students.
  2. Learner-centered
    A learner-centered curriculum revolves around a student’s needs, interests, and goals. The curriculum acknowledges that children do not all learn the same and empowers them to break beyond uniformity and shape their own academic pathways. A learner-centered curriculum fosters growth and independence, but most schools don’t have the resources to implement this curriculum. 
  3. Problem-centered
    Is your child a problem solver? In a problem-centered curriculum, students are exposed to issues to engage in authentic learning. It reinforces the material’s relevancy by relating it to real-world problems.

The best curriculum for homeschool

Many parents are homeschooling nowadays, but curriculum development can be tricky for most. Taking on the role of an instructor is challenging as you'll provide a schedule and structure to your child’s homeschooling day and in many ways, become a learner yourself. Joining homeschool parent groups can help you develop a curriculum that suits the needs of your child.

However, there are options to purchase homeschool curricula if you're not up to the challenge of crafting your own. Just remember to follow your state's homeschool laws as some states require homeschooled students to have certified teachers.

Even so, it may be worth looking into accredited homeschool alternatives if one of your child's many dreams is going to college. There aren't accredited homeschool curricula, and an accredited high school can ensure your student matriculates to their first-choice college as, unfortunately, many homeschooled students face difficulty within the college-enrollment process post-homeschool.

How accredited online schools approach learning

Online learning has taken over in recent years, and as more students join the virtual classroom, the curriculum needs to meet not your standards. An accredited online program ensures your student is receiving an education that meets normal standards, but it shouldn’t stop there.

Laurel Springs School is an online self-paced, mastery-based private school accredited by the Western Association of Colleges (WASC) and Cognia. Laurel Springs' robust curriculum includes college-prep, NCAA-approved, honors, AP, world language, and elective courses to help your student reach their future goals. 

In addition, Laurel Springs’ flexible learner-centered curriculum allows students to learn at their own pace and master subjects, setting them up for academic and personal success. Our students learn on their terms to become whatever they dream of.

Find out how your student can thrive in an engaging, nurturing online learning environment by contacting an admissions counselor today.