بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I have been getting few mails inquiring details about the Cambridge Curriculum we are using. Since there are new readers here and for the benefit of all I decided to post a detail account of this curriculum Inshaa Allaah from a homeschoolers point of view and from our experience so far.
What is the Cambridge Curriculum?
This is not specifically tailored for homeschoolers, rather it is solely meant for schools. According to the Cambridge website they say:
Cambridge offers the following for Academic Programs and Qualifications:
- Cambridge Primary (For 5 to 11 yea olds)
- Cambridge Secondary I (For 11 to 14 years olds)
- Cambridge Secondary II ( 14 to 16 year old - IGCSE /Cambridge O Levels)
- Cambridge Advanced (AS and A Levels/ Cambridge Pre U)
For each of these levels the website provides a full curriculum framework and resource list for
Cambridge Primary Curriculum
According to their website...
"Cambridge Primary, typically for learners aged 5 to 11 years, gives schools a world-class curriculum to develop learner skills and understanding in English, mathematics and science. It enables teachers to assess children's learning as they progress with two optional assessments: Cambridge Primary Progression Tests and Cambridge Primary Checkpoint."
(The exams mentioned above the Progression and Checkpoint, as homeschoolers we cannot sit for them privately but if any school could accommodate you for the exams you can make your kids sit the exams through a school)
This is the level we are using now. We started this when Maimoonah was 5 years old. Cambridge Primary Curriculum Framework list include the following Subjects:
Cambridge Primary Curriculum Framework
When you download the above you will see that some stages are missing in the documents. I have downloaded the complete framework when they had it a couple of years ago and you can see them here, here and here
For all of the above subjects they also give you a comprehensive list of resources (List of Textbooks) endorsed by Cambridge for you to choose. These resources lists are updated every now and then on their website. Here are the links of the resources for each Subject mentioned above:
Resource Lists for Cambridge Primary Curriculum:
- English Stage 1
- English Stage 2
- English Stages 3 - 6
- Mathematics Stages 1 - 3
- Mathematics Stages 4 - 6
- Science Stages 1 - 6
You also get a Teacher Support website which has many assessment papers and other teaching aids for teachers. But this site is password protected and accessible only by schools or teachers authorized by schools that are registered with Cambridge. So we homeschoolers cannot get direct access to this. In fact I wrote to Cambridge and requested if they could provide me the access and I am interested in paying and registering with them but they replied back saying their policy is such that this is only for schools and not for private candidates.
Cambridge Primary and Secondary 1 offers only the above subjects and ICT, when you come to Secondary II you can choose 7 or more subjects from 70 subjects to continue till IGCSE or O level.
How do we get about this Curriculum as a Homeschooler?
- Simply use the Framework provided and do your lesson plans
- Use their resource lists and Choose the Textbooks that are easily available for you and that you and your child find interesting. I tend to choose the books that are widely used by schools in my area who are registered with Cambridge purely because you do not have to pay a lot for shipping as the books will be any way available in our local area.
- Since the whole Primary Program is divided according to Stages start with Stage 1 and go on according to the ability of the child
Why Did I Choose this Curriculum?
- Saves us time to do more Islaamic Studies in detail and Qur'aan and Arabic as no need to spend time looking for resources and plans for other subjects.
- I am familiar with the UK Curriculum and Exams as I have worked with British Council for Number of years sending kids for Exams
- No registration required with any entity to use this curriculum and it is free. Expenses are only for the Textbooks.
- This Curriculum has a continuity. Begins from Primary and Ends at Pre Uni. So I do not have to waste my time every year looking for a new curriculum.
- It is recognized worldwide.
- The IGCSE or Cambridge O Levels and AS/ A Levels - The final recognized Examinations can be taken as a Private Candidate from all over the world through the local British Council at any Age. In Fact you do not have to sit for all the subjects at the same time. Even from 10 years the child can start sitting for the subjects one at a time. The Certificates will be given accordingly and this is recognized by any university.
- This Curriculum is bundled up and divided in such a way that we can go forward or backwards according to the level and the ability of the child. For example Primary has 6 stages to be completed between the ages 5 - 11. You do not have to wait till 10 years old to do Stage 6, rather you can get on with all stages as soon as the child is ready. Also if your child is good in English she or he can go ahead with the next stage and if she or he needs more time for Maths you can go slow. So that the child is not halted in one subject just because of another subject.
- Islamically speaking you are able to scrap off the unislaamic stuff and go on with the others. We can use the concept and teach Islamically. Example: Since the framework is available if we are teaching about "Setting" in English we really need not use the Greek Myths or Fairytale Stories to make them understand "Settings" We can use the True Stories of the Prophets and explain the kids the concept of "Setting". I used the Story of Ismaaeel and Hajar and the birth of ZamZam. It was a great setting indeed!
- We have to only concentrate on 3 Main subjects and we are free to do any other the way we want to. Like Arts and Crafts, Sewing, Geography are some of our additional subjects that we do from all over and when we want. Makes it stress free for the kids.
Drawbacks of Cambridge Primary Curriculum
- Solely caters for Schools
- No Teacher Support for Homeschoolers
- Cannot sit for Assessment Exams at Primary and Secondary Levels and get the Certificates
- Only 3 Subjects are available till Secondary II. No frameworks or resources for additional subjects such as Geography, Health, History, Skills etc etc.
How do we get along with the Drawbacks?
- The Curriculum caters for schools but there is no hard and fast rule that only school going kids must use it. We have used it and it is going fine so far Alhamdulillaah.
- The Curriculum is Clear and Textbooks have all details and teacher support is not a big need
- Checkpoint Sample Exam Papers and Past papers can be downloaded on the internet and we can get our kids to do them any way to check their levels as we homeschoolers are mostly not so worried about Exams any way. Also this is only optional according to Cambridge website. So not mandatory to make our kids sit for these exams at these levels.
- We do not spend much time on other subjects. We only do islaamic History and just read through the Encyclopedia for other world History. This curriculum does not makes it essential to use other subjects. Additionally we only do geography for which we just use a mix of all books and workbooks and follow the UK National Curriculum guide for geography.
I hope this would help those sisters who wanted to know in detail Inshaa Allaah.