Though I am enjoying reminiscing over my past four years of blogging, I have been itching to write something new. On the technical side of things: I should have all my old blog posts moved over here by the end of February, and then I will officially open my blog up to regular new content.
Until then, a short post about working with difficult curriculum.
Last year, I spent quite a bit of time blogging in a methodical way, learning to commit myself to posting once a week and to giving good, solid, balanced reviews of the curriculum we were using. This also meant having a good deal of discipline when it came to homeschooling. We frequently had 2 or more different programs we were trying out at once, and I didn’t go a single week without at least one review program being used in my home.
Because of this, our home school was in constant flux. When you’ve got a plan and you follow it and everything works great for your family, life is good. Let’s face it, though: this is not typical.
When you start something new, or the routine changes, there can frequent bouts of stress for both the teacher and for the student while you learn a new program and settle into a new routine.
Stress is normal when you’re starting out. If you’re stressed while you’re going through a change in routine or curriculum, know that you’re not alone. If it’s prolonged stress, this is a signal that something isn’t working. This is where homeschooling really shines. If a curriculum is not working exactly the way it says it should, you can adjust things to suit your family’s needs.
I got a crash course in this last year. Because we tried so many things, there were bound to be at least a few that didn’t suit our purposes. Here are a few things to try if you’re struggling with a new curriculum and you don’t know what to do:
- Do less of it. This will go against every fiber of your being if you are an over-achiever or if you feel like you need to follow the whole curriculum to the letter. Remember, in public schools, teachers also pick and choose what to teach. You cannot do everything, so give yourself (and your student) a break. Cover the important things and let some of it go. And please, if you’re this type of person, never, ever pick up a Weaver curriculum or the Horizon’s Preschool set. They will make you cry. Those sets are not meant to be done in whole. Ever.
- Change it to fit your needs. This might mean using it twice a week instead of five days a week, knowing that you won’t finish it this year, or maybe ever. Be okay with that. This could also mean cutting out all the field trips they suggest because they don’t work for you. Plug in your own thing that ties into the curriculum. Your child will still have a lot of fun, and they will still learn. This might mean cutting craft time down from every day to once a week. This is okay, too. There is only so much scissor/glue/glitter time that everyone can handle. I’m being real. This is coming from the crafty mom. Make the once a week really count, and you’re golden. Please, just forget the Pinterest board you have with all those cute kid crafts on it. You can’t do ’em all.
- Quit. This is not the worst thing you could ever do. If you absolutely can’t change it, or you try to change how you use it and it still makes everyone want to cry and tear their hair out, it is not worth it. Put it up and try it again later in the year, give it to someone else, sell it, or donate it, but don’t hate yourself/your student’s attitude/your life over school work. There are lots of other options out there.
Have you ever used a very difficult program with your students? What did you do? I’d love to hear from you!