Teacher-Led vs Student-Led Curriculum: How Do You Choose?

When it comes to choosing homeschool curriculum, there are so many different styles and nuances between techniques that it can be difficult to know which direction to take. To help you decide which option is best for your child, we want to demystify the difference between teacher-led and student-led curriculum.

So, what’s the difference?
Teacher-led and student-led curriculum differ over who sets the pace of new information. In other words, who decides how quickly new information is presented?

With teacher-led curriculum, the parent decides when and how much new information is given. Students learn when the teacher teaches. New content is inaccessible unless a teacher provides it. The teacher-led model is what almost every school across the United States uses. A teacher prepares content and presents it to students. Then, the students practice the content and are assessed on it.

With student-led curriculum, new information is always accessible for students to consume at their own pace. Student-led curriculum lends itself to being more independent since a student can learn new content without waiting on a teacher.

Why choose one over the other?
As always, different children flourish with different styles. Depending on a child’s skill sets and personalities, one style may be more successful than the other. Here are the qualities you can look for in your child to decide which style may work best.

Teacher-led curriculum may be better for students who:
- Struggle being self-motivated
- Like to be shown how to do something before they do it
- Need encouragement while problem solving
- Have trouble focusing on their own
- Struggle reading independently
- Want Mom or Dad involved in play time or discovery time
- Need something explained multiple different ways

Student-led curriculum may be better for students who:
- Are independent
- Excel at being self-motivated
- Get bored with too much explanation
- Can problem solve on their own
- Can entertain themselves for a long time, such as during play time
- Are confident when reading
- Excel in looking at things from different perspectives without much explanation

Don’t forget!
When trying to decide between teacher-led and student-led curriculum, remember that your teaching style matters as well. Teacher-led curriculum, like our Horizons curriculum, comes with a teacher’s guide, but more preparation work is required for the parent.

On the other hand, with student-led curriculum, instruction is written into the student workbooks, like our LIFEPAC curriculum. Even if your child needs you to be involved in the learning process, there is less on the shoulders of the parent when using student-led curriculum.

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