One of the biggest tasks we have to do as a homeschool family is find curriculum and resources that work for our family. But it doesn’t only have to work for the family as a whole, it also has to work for each individual. By the time you take into account the way you work as a teacher, the pressures of your family life and the comings and goings that involves, then you add individual interests, inclinations, and learning styles multiply that by 4 kids (more or less depending on your family) you have a major task on your hands.
In my article “Choosing Curriculum”, I suggest many different things to consider before you make your final decision but even with all those guidelines, you will, as I have, make mistakes.
One of our mistakes was Apologia. Before I tell you why this didn’t work for us, the background is important. We bought Apologia for Joshua – our oldest son, who studied independently from a young age, was a bright student and liked all things academic. Peter wanted Josh to have a more highschool level science experience – and Apologia met all his expectations in a curriculum. Joshua learnt a lot with the studies he completed with Apologia.
The mistake came when we tried to use it for our girls. It didn’t work. Not only that, we were slow to see their different needs.
First we gave it to Jessica to study independently. Jess is a very good student, has good study skills and is interested in God’s World. But she quickly became overwhelmed. So I did it with her, thinking that we could work on it together. Science became the subject that was dropped when life happened. It wasn’t long before we didn’t even have it on our to-do list.
Then I decided that Nomi and Jess could do it together – with me still doing the reading aloud. The girls understood it, but there was no zing, no anticipation to learn. We just did it. Once again it didn’t take long before we just didn’t open the book. It wasn’t a conscience decision but when there is no life in a study it is easy to just forget about it!
The one thing I don’t want to do in this post is to simply give Apologia a bad wrap – because it is an excellent curriculum – for the right child. It worked for us, and it didn’t work for us – different courses for different horses.
This is one of the most important lessons we can learn when we homeschool more than one child. Everything we do for the first child won’t necessarily work for the subsequent child/ren. The thing is though we may not be able to afford new resources for each child but if we are at least aware of the different needs then we can find a way to tweak the resources we do have in a way that will best serve our children.
We need to remember at all times that our curriculum serves us and our goals rather than us serving our curriculum. It is a tool we have in our hand – it isn’t the only way we educate our children.
I was prompted to write this post by The Homeschool Classroom who asked the question: What curriculum or resources just didn’t work for your family? Pop on over to read from others who have answered this question. It is a question that doesn’t often get asked and yet it is important to hear the positives and negatives before making a decision – you need to read the ‘why’ it didn’t (or did) work to be informed to make good decisions for your family. What didn’t work for us may be just the thing for you!
You may be interested to readResources we’ve used for Science