Is going off-track ok?
Yes, don't be afraid to veer off the scope and sequence. For example, second grade is not the only time you can teach about the water cycle. State history can be covered in middle school as easily as it can be covered in high school. As the teacher, you should have a general outline of what you hope to accomplish during the years your children are in school. If a rabbit trail causes you to study Indians two years early, that's fine! The next time you come to that information you'll just need to review or go more in-depth. Adding variety to your day can be memorable for children. Some of the best learning takes place spontaneously.
How far is too far?
When their eyes glaze-over and learning is no longer taking place because they don't understand the information, then it's time to stop. While your first grader would love to learn the differences between frogs and toads and study them in their natural habitat, he probably doesn't need to know their reproductive cycle, or how their internal organs function, or how to spell all their Latin names. Save that stuff for another year.
Where can I trek off-track?
Think back to your own school days. What do you remember the most, besides recess, lunch, and gym class? Field trips! Field trips make great rabbit trails. The things you saw, the places you went, the activities you did-those are the rabbit trails you remember. As you follow those rabbit trails, take pictures and make notes. Keep a journal! You'll be amazed at how much you and your children learn.
Kelly Huckaby is a Christian/Wife/Mother living in Oklahoma with her husband and five homeschooled children. Visit her at http://www.unofficial.weaverpages.com/ for more homeschooling support.