About Rest for the Weary

I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Making homeschool curriculum work

After homeschooling 19 years, I tried a lot of curriculum, as in enough to begin my own homeschooling store. When things weren’t going well in our school, I tended to browse curriculum catalogs, ask opinions on homeschool forums and e-lists, to find a solution to our then current crisis. I found this quite common during the November slump as well as during winter burnout. Little did I realize (and it took many years—I’m a slow learner) that the answer wasn’t in the curriculum choice. It was in the teacher, ahem, me.
Mom, you make the curriculum work. Normally, children can learn from any type of curriculum if you apply two things: time and consistency. Any child can learn math facts from any number of ways: flash cards, computer games, songs, games, etc. Same thing with reading. Any phonics curriculum will teach a child to read (unless there is a learning disability) if you practice daily and give it time. I see many people give up too soon, thinking it is the curriculum. Change doesn’t come fast when learning. Either our children complain or we get bored or frustrated because it isn’t happening as fast as we would like so we switch curriculums assuming something must be wrong with the one we were using.

Years ago, class sizes were much larger than today and all children learned the same way. There is a tendency for homeschoolers to feel like they must tailor every subject to each child’s learning style. That is fine if you have the time, money, and desire, but many moms are struggling to keep up with everything else so adding curriculum hopping to the plate may be too much to carry. I held the belief early on in my homeschooling career that learning had to be fun and meaningful to stick. I practically killed myself trying to make school entertaining, and it was one of the things that contributed to my downward spiral into burn out. I constantly felt like a failure if my children didn’t like their school work and if I didn’t have what I deemed the best curriculum. I think this desire is fed by all of the information out there, particularly on the internet. It can be overwhelming to see glowing reviews of curriculum, wonderful blogs featuring hands on learning, and it can lead to a bit of discontent. We fall into the comparison trap and feel like we must have that type of schooling for our children. By all means research curriculum, but then pick one and stick with it. If after a good amount of time, if it truly isn’t working, then give it some consideration. Sometimes a new curriculum can bring in some freshness to a lagging homeschool, but often it brings added stress to a busy mom who has to research the new one and learn how to use it. That time may have better been spent in actual teaching instead of all of the legwork to switch to the newest thing on the market.

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