This is a question that seems to crop up a lot. In the UK when you take IGCSE’s and A-Levels, you would check what exam board your nearest exam center uses, you would then buy the Edexcel/Cambridge/AQA, etc course for English/Maths/Fill-in-your-subject. Right?
The American system is different. That is not how it works and actually…therein lies the beauty of it all. You are able to choose whatever curriculum works best for your children. If Apologia Science works for them then that’s what you go for, if it’s BJU then go for that.
You can choose to follow whatever method of education that works best for you whether that means a Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit Studies…whatever method you have followed you can keep following.
You could pull your own course of study together from various curriculum providers or you could go through an umbrella organization such as A.C.E, Christian Liberty Press, Alpha & Omega, and so on. On a side note…one of my favorite curriculum providers has to be Christian Book. You can get just about anything from the.
The advantage of going through an umbrella organisation is that they will do a transcript and High School Diploma (HSD) for you. You will need to meet their individual requirements of and send in test scores etc each year. This is usually the more expensive option but if you lack the confidence or energy to do it yourself, at least you know all bases are covered. They will have their own curriculum for each grade and you will need to use that if you want the HSD and transcript and that could take away some of the freedoms you have in what you choose to study.
If like us, you choose to take a more eclectic approach and pull your own course of study together for each year then you would decide what subjects you will cover each year (usually always Maths, English, History & Geography, Science), then you add in your electives each year i.e what interests your child. It could be a language, art, home economics…the list is endless. They will earn credits (explained in a later post) for each course they do. You will need to make sure that you cover World History and U.S history. Often history and geography are tied in together.
Again…use whichever curriculum you prefer but I would say one thing – buy American resources! American curriculum is written and geared towards writing the S.A.T so it makes sense.
Can You Show Me Exactly What You Mean?
Of course! Listed below are some posts I’ve written with regards to curriculum and resources. I highly recommend you read a couple of posts I did a few years ago where I went into much detail on how I plan and choose a course of study for a high school year. These posts will give you a nitty-gritty look into what I’ve just said above so please don’t skip over these posts. Take time to read them to gain a clearer understanding if you are wanting to take the American S.A.T route.
Now That You Have A Clearer Idea…
This is where the fun part begins! My summer ritual was to sit down with the Christian Book and Amblesideonline websites open. I would decide what I wanted each child to cover individually in each subject, and what things we would be able to learn together.
Things like English, Maths and sometimes Science were all grade appropriate. (We used Llatl for English, Math-U-See for Maths and Apologia Science for science – just in case you wanted to know)
Most years we covered History, Geography, Nature Study, Art Appreciation, Composer Study and Read Aloud together – no separate curriculums. We’ve used some wonderful resources over the years (KONOS, A Childs Geography, Handbook of Nature Study and lots of Amblesideonline recommendations etc), a lot of what we used is listed in the post ‘The Ultimate List of Free & Affordable Homeschool Resources’ post above.
I would sit outside if the weather was good with a cup of coffee and pull our learning plans together and ordering what books and curriculum I needed in good time for a September start.
Why We Chose The S.A.T Route over the A-Level Route
It’s quite simple really. It meant that we didn’t have to compromise on a rich, rounded education which still held God at its centre. We could choose whatever resources we wanted to use and we could continue to learn using living books and implementing Charlotte Mason learning methods.
We did not have to sacrifice nature study which we would have had to have done if we had taken the IGCSE and A-Level Route due to the heavy workload.
We did not have to sacrifice field trips, elective interest subjects or the fun seasonal learning and activities I planned each year.
We could keep God, our Bible time and discussions at our core and choose Christian resources.
We were able to remain faithful to our original calling to homeschool without compromise and I believe because of that our daughters received a rich, balanced and well-rounded education, stored up a lifetime of precious memories, build strong family bonds and the cherry on top is that both have been accepted into British universities.
Read About Our Personal S.A.T Success In:
If You Missed The First Two Posts In The S.A.T Series of Posts
I hope that this post and all its links have adequately addressed the question of curriculum for the American S.A.T
Please do consider joining the HE Success Without UK Exams Facebook page for a bit of interaction with other British families who have successfully taken this path and homeschooling families who are interested and looking into it.