Many Canadians choose to use American based curriculum materials in their homeschools for a wide variety of reasons. However, there can sometimes be challenges surrounding the use of American focused materials – as the content isn’t always relevant to our life experiences or are missing things that we want to be sure to include, such as history or geography.
If you are using a US curriculum, and are wondering how to adapt it to fit you here in Canada, here are a few suggestions:
1. Look for a Canadian supplement or edition of your curriculum materials.
The first idea is to see whether the curriculum you want to use has a Canadian version, or if the company itself has provided a Canadian supplement, or information on how to adapt their materials. Often, though, other homeschooling parents that have put the time and work into making and providing curriculum changes to help their fellow homeschoolers.
- Both Math-U-See and Accelerated Christian Education have created Canadian versions.
2. Cover it up with Canadian materials.
For example, when learning about coins and money, take Canadian coins and physically cover up the drawings of the US coins. Or use stickers. Cross out words that are spelled different and write them in our Canadian spelling instead.
3. Parallel the Content.
If there are things in your curriculum that are explicitly American and you really want to make sure that your child knows the Canadian version of that topic, create some parallel content. When studying history, for example, create a parallel timeline with Canadian history that goes along with it. Merge the two topics together. If learning about temperature, add in Celsius to compare and contrast the lessons on Fahrenheit.
If there are units of study in your curriculum that you don’t think are relevant to your child’s education as a Canadian (or would be better used to provide Canadian content instead), just skip that section and grab an additional unit from somewhere else to substitute in its place. A good example could be a unit on geography – maybe you’d like to teach your child about the geography of Canada instead of the US.
5. Just go with it.
And finally, if you’ve chosen to use an American curriculum, you can just go with what it teaches. There’s no obligation or requirement to add in, replace, or include Canadian content into your homeschooling adventures. Teach your child the richness of American history, the vastness of their geography, and all the other small differences between our two cultures without guilt. Learning is learning!
Do you use an American curriculum? What are your tips?
2 thoughts on “Adapting an American Curriculum for Canadian Homeschool”
Thank you for this article! We enjoy using First Language Lessons by Bauer and The Story of the World by Bauer. We also enjoy Moving Beyond the Page. Do you have advice for these particular curricula, other than, as you said, changing the spelling from American to Canadian? Also…. I was raised in the USA and my 2nd grade-level child, too. How do I keep from confusing things when he already knows how to spell so many words in the non-Canadian way?
Honestly, I think you will find that a lot of Canadian spelling is starting to convert to American spelling, or at least both spellings can be considered valid, at least from my experience. I just tell my boys that there is a Canadian way and an American way and encourage them to use the Canadian ones. As far as adapting specific curricula – I think you don’t need to adapt everything. if it’s heavy in US history, pop in some Canadian content, for example.
Does that help?