Back to school time means having to shift your attention from your gardening ideas that you have for the outside of your home and onto your children's new school year instead. Every September children of all ages head back to school to learn about things that are new to them and every year they're given a curriculum that will outline exactly what it is they will be taught throughout the course of the new school year by their teachers.

The first week of school every parent always has one common question of their children and that's what is your curriculum? Before it used to be what is curriculum, since that's not a common word but eventually you come to find out that a curriculum is a set of courses and the contents of each course that will be taught to children in school.

If you don't know where the word curriculum came from you would probably be surprised to find out that it comes from the Latin word for "a course for racing," or as we like to call it in North America, race course. That makes total sense as children are going through their own racecourse during the school year. The first day of school is the start of the year and every lap they take is the equivalent of learning a different subject and then the last day of school is like the final lap in a racecourse.

What can at times be confusing about the term curriculum is that not everybody has the same viewpoint on it, almost like deciding which is the best film to o see, and schools can teach at least one of four different curricula: official curriculum, learned curriculum, tested curriculum and taught curriculum.

The official curriculum is the official framework and courses the school board sets forth that they expect teachers to teach and students to learn. The taught curriculum is what teachers choose to teach based on their knowledge of subjects and topics like math, science, history or strapping machines, experiences teaching certain content, attitudes towards certain subject matter and how they interact with their children. The learned curriculum is lessons that come out of the classroom environment and not the actual course materials such as how to process information and when to ask questions of their parents, teachers, etc. The tested curriculum is the testing of students through standardized tests.

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