Once we buy a curriculum – either for a single subject, or one curriculum that covers it all – it is easy to let it become our master. But our curriculum or resources should serve our objectives, not become our objective. So how to keep it in control?
- Know what your overall objectives are – if you have a plan for the whole child, then you start to see where the subject matter that the curriculum covers fits into your plan rather than the curriculum being your plan
- Plan your days based on your goals for your whole child, not just academics. This way you can say I have ….x…. amount of time to study, and in this time I’ll use ….x… curriculum.
- Accept that curriculum writers have different objectives than you do therefore you’ll complete the work at a different rate than they talk about
There is so much that we want to do with our children we have to be very intentional about the things that we allow to take up our time. Guard your time with your children fiercely.
- How much time does your curriculum require you to prep – do you have that time, is it working for you? I used to prep a bit for Five in a Row, but I saw the fruit of my prep. When I chose a math or history course, I didn’t want to prep.
- How much busy work is required? How much paper work that doesn’t extend my kids thinking, writing, creativity?
- How much time is wasted looking for links online? Online resources are great but we have poor internet and sometimes something that is a great idea, just becomes a waste of time (and frustration) because of internet service. We are learning to accept this situation, and just miss the internet links. If this is going to be a problem with using the curriculum successfully then we need to let it go.
Once we buy a curriculum we tend to feel a sense of loyalty to use it completely. We feel responsible to use what we’ve spent our money on, we feel a sense of commitment to a decision we made. And yet, not all decisions we make are going to be the best ones. Sometimes we need to accept that this curriculum is not all we had hoped for. We may have to:
- Tweak it – use bits of it, adapt how it is used in your family. This is okay.
- Delete it – Simply not use it. This is also okay. There are options to resell to another homeschool family – just because it didn’t fit your family doesn’t mean it won’t fit another family. Don’t feel bad about selling it on as 2nd hand item.
- Refer to it – Some resources can be used as a reference book where we dip into it when we have a specific question or researching a particular subject. We used one history curriculum simply as a resource to provide a reading book list, and another resource to find out what topics to read about.
Choosing a good curriculum is tricky – there is so much to consider. How many children are studying together, their different learning styles, or even learning difficulties, how much time you have to prep, how much time you have to teach, and whether you even understand the subject yourself or if you too are learning. Then we’ll have different educational philosophies that will direct our choices, different budgets, different confines on the space where we study as a family. All of these things will influence the decisions we make when buying curriculum. But once we get that resource into the home, we have to remember that it is only a tool, we chose it yes, but it doesn’t have to rule every other aspect of our family life.
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