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#1 TheAutumnOak

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:10 PM

I read a response written by Hunter on the K - 8 boards that I want to discuss without hijacking the other thread, so I am posting it here...Here is Hunter's reply...

I'm not sure where to start. You are saying some conflicting things, but it makes sense that you are saying those things together considering the most frequent conversations at this forum. Lets pull way back.

What are YOU like as a person?

Take a look around your home. If you like it, describe it. Otherwise describe it as you wish it were. Why? Because it lets us figure YOU out a bit more.
You might like the book The Organized Homeschooler. It has a lot of good advice your structuring your HOME into something that reflects YOU.

The TEACHER and the HOME are the center of the homeschool. When the curriculum doesn't match the teacher and home, it doesn't work well. And all too often we are most attracted to the curriculum that is most unlike ourselves and our home. We think the curriculum will turn everything around, and CHANGE us into something we have been convinced is better than we are.

Spend the Spring and Summer getting to know YOU and making your home into something that reflects YOU. Start there. Then start looking for some curricula that reflects YOU and YOUR lifestyle and YOUR home...and yes reflects YOUR children, but I tag that on last. I haven't found student centered curricula to work so well LONG term. It means the teacher has to constantly adapt to an ever-changing situation, and it is un-grounding and expensive and time-consuming.


If you spend the Spring and Summer enjoying preschool and kindergarten type Waldorf HOME activities and they seemlessly ENRICH your CURRENT lifestyle and home, then consider Waldorf curricula for the Fall; otherwise dump it.

If you spend the Spring and Summer outdoors everyday and wallowing in old books CM style, then think about adding CM in the fall; otherwise dump it.

Read No Regrets to see what a box REALLY means, and if that might work for you. A package is not a box, and they are often confused nowadays.

I'm not sure which edition of TWTM you have, but you might want to read the first edition, if you have only read the third.

:grouphug:


It is the parts in bold that I really want to discuss...I have always looked at curriculum in terms of what I think will best accomplish what I think needs to happen, but never thought about different types of curriculum being more suited to certain types of individuals...I mean, I know that is true, but I never stopped to think about how that is so - what type of person does better with which type of thing?...What type of lifestyles work best with what kind of thing?

I hope this is not too vague and makes sense...What do you think?

Also, do you think you are attracted to curriculum that is most unlike yourself?...I find myself really resonating with the bold, red part :blush:
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#2 Gentlemommy

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:26 PM

Lurking because dd and I have complete opposite learning/teaching styles, so this is hard to balance here...
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#3 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:27 PM

I'm not sure I see a direct connection between my home's appearance and its function and my actual homeschooling curriculum selection. I want a clean, organized, and tidy home and I want disciplined behavior. If I were to describe that type of household and personality, it almost sounds like Seton would fit. Eeeeeek!! It makes me want to run the other direction and hide!! Traditional schooling is definitely not me.

My teaching approach and curriculum selections are far less "controlled" than my household....though what we accomplish every day is controlled directly by me. So how my day runs reflects my personality, but my curriculum selections are reflective of interests and abilities and my philosophy toward focusing on critical thinking vs. visible "markable" output.
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#4 Alte Veste Academy

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:28 PM

I LOVED that post by Hunter. I think this thread has the potential to become one of the most helpful ever on the WTM.

Several years ago I posted a thread that started like this:

I'm about to finish up my first official year of homeschooling. (My kids have never been to PS but we start in first grade.) I read The Happiness Project recently and I was struck by this statement: "I have an idea of who I wish I were, and that obscures my understanding of who I actually am." I think this is my problem in a nutshell. I feel like this first year has left me at a crossroads; I need to mature and grow as a homeschooling mom to become more like the person I wish to be or I must accept my limitations and start making choices that recognize them. I understand it's not entirely either or. No matter what, I have to accept my limitations before I can begin working to change them. Still, this is the way in which I feel torn.

How many of you here have changed your homeschool style, curriculum, etc. from what you wished it could be to match who you are as a person and teacher (warts and all)?

How many of you here have wished for a certain type of education for your children and overcome personal limitations to make it happen? What specifically did you do to work on your limitations and improve as a homeschooler and mom?


It ended with me realizing that I had to be who I am. I had to work with my personality, preferences, strengths and weaknesses and those of my children and stop wishing and hoping. A little stretching is good. Trying to stretch yourself in every area in an attempt to become someone you are not is a recipe for disaster. Focusing on who you wish you were instead of who you actually are is less helpful than making the best of what comes naturally. Accentuate the positive and all that. I've said it here before, but it was only when I gave up this idea of who I should/could be that I felt successful as a homeschooler. I stopped feeling any need to claim to be CM, WTM, or whatever. I just started doing what I felt drawn to, wherever it came from.
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#5 TheAutumnOak

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:35 PM

I LOVED that post by Hunter. I think this thread has the potential to become one of the most helpful ever on the WTM.

Several years ago I posted a thread that started like this:



It ended with me realizing that I had to be who I am. I had to work with my personality, preferences, strengths and weaknesses and those of my children and stop wishing and hoping. A little stretching is good. Trying to stretch yourself in every area in an attempt to become someone you are not is a recipe for disaster. Focusing on who you wish you were instead of who you actually are is less helpful than making the best of what comes naturally. Accentuate the positive and all that. I've said it here before, but it was only when I gave up this idea of who I should/could be that I felt successful as a homeschooler. I stopped feeling any need to claim to be CM, WTM, or whatever. I just started doing what I felt drawn to, wherever it came from.


That bold part is me, totally...But what if you have to "stretch"?...What if you cannot accomplish what needs to be done as you are?

I love your response...I just need to think about the ways I can maximize what comes naturally to me...
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#6 Alte Veste Academy

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:50 PM

That bold part is me, totally...But what if you have to "stretch"?...What if you cannot accomplish what needs to be done as you are?

I love your response...I just need to think about the ways I can maximize what comes naturally to me...


To me the difference is in how much you stretch yourself and the number of areas in which you try to stretch at once. I think everyone should stretch a little. It's good for us to grow and improve, to shore up our weak areas. But if everything is a weak area? Maybe pick curricula that takes you by the hand and makes your life easy for 80% of subjects. Then pick the most important subjects and/or your comfort areas to pick curricula that demand more of you. When I first started, I tried to stretch myself in every way, for every subject, all the time. Simultaneously, I was trying to stretch at parenting (frequently solo), keeping house, making great healthy meals 3x a day, doing school, self-educating, being a good friend, mother, etc. Essentially, I was trying to be the best at everything, right from the start. In the end, I just felt like I was failing at everything, even what I was already pretty darn good at, because I was not living up to my impossible expectations of doing everything exactly right all the time...because it wasn't possible.

And typing that all out makes me sound a little insane, LOL. But there you go. :lol:
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#7 brendag

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:04 PM

How I like my house and some of the programs I would like to use definitely mesh, but they would probably be a complete bust for one of my kids. I understand the need to have the curriculum be suited to the teacher, but I feel like it is easier for me as an adult to try and change the way I approach homeschool, rather than my kids. Teaching my kids has been very enlightening for me and I've only been doing this a short time. I am trying to look at my weaknesses (and strengths) and then attempt to figure out if there is an issue with a program. If it isn't the program, is it something not suited to me or one of my kids.

An example. I am a person who likes to do everything in a program. All the problems, nice and orderly. Check those boxes. Because of this and using Singapore which is not how I learned math, I wasn't teaching fast enough for my son in math. He is a visual spatial learner like DH and grasps math concepts pretty easily. Me...not so much and it is really stretching me in that it is unfamiliar. I think because it is one of the 3 R's and my son is already so into science/math, I'm willing to go outside my comfort zone. With the other subjects, I'm hoping it will be easier to do them in a way that we all can enjoy and so far that seems to be the case.

I think the key is balance. I also agree with Alte Viste that it would probably be a disaster to try and stretch in every subject.

Brenda
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#8 regentrude

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:12 PM

I do not entirely see what the appearance of my home has to do with my homeschooling. Maybe in a limited sense: I am organized, somewhat minimalist, dislike frills and superfluous stuff, and my curriculum choices reflect that I value clear cut materials that go right to the facts and abhor busy work or unnecessary "projects".
But this happens to mesh with my students' learning styles, and I can not really take credit for this. If they would learn better by more hands on artsy activities, or if they needed the repetition of dozens of worksheets, then I would definitely give them the opportunity to learn through artsy hands on activities or to fill out worksheet to their hearty's content (both of which I hate). As it is, I am just lucky because what works well for me happens to work well for them.

My children are extremely different in personality. While my extrovert DD thrives on in-person interaction, discussions, live classes and wants to be challenged to the extreme, my introvert DS prefers to work independently and is not that keen on being challenged to the limit. I can't school them in identical ways, and I won't use all the same curriculum. My personality is much like my daughter's, so I "get" what she needs, but I make every effort to adopt my schooling of DS to his personality, because I think this is necessary.

I wonder whether it is always possible to school in a style that matches the Teacher's personality. I would imagine this to work reasonably well if the kids are of a similar makeup and abilities as the parent. However, I could not possibly educate a passionate artistic child with the methods that work well for me and my kids who are very analytical systematic thinkers, nor would these methods and curricula work for a student with a learning disability. Likewise, I imagine that an artsy-craftsy unschooly extremely relaxed mom would have difficulties educating a child well who requires highly formalized, organized, and structured schooling.
So, while I think it is a nice luxury to have a match between materials that suit the teacher and the student's teaching style, a too large discrepancy between the teacher's preferences and the student's needs will require the teacher to use materials outside her comfort zone so the child can be educated according to his needs. After all, the purpose of homeschooling is not for the mom to feel good, but for the child to learn.
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#9 Alte Veste Academy

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:19 PM

Rereading Hunter's post, I can see where she is literally comparing home with what works for you, but I took it as a more general suggestion to be who you are.
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#10 Alte Veste Academy

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:26 PM

I do not entirely see what the appearance of my home has to do with my homeschooling. Maybe in a limited sense: I am organized, somewhat minimalist, dislike frills and superfluous stuff, and my curriculum choices reflect that I value clear cut materials that go right to the facts and abhor busy work or unnecessary "projects".
But this happens to mesh with my students' learning styles, and I can not really take credit for this. If they would learn better by more hands on artsy activities, or if they needed the repetition of dozens of worksheets, then I would definitely give them the opportunity to learn through artsy hands on activities or to fill out worksheet to their hearty's content (both of which I hate). As it is, I am just lucky because what works well for me happens to work well for them.

My children are extremely different in personality. While my extrovert DD thrives on in-person interaction, discussions, live classes and wants to be challenged to the extreme, my introvert DS prefers to work independently and is not that keen on being challenged to the limit. I can't school them in identical ways, and I won't use all the same curriculum. My personality is much like my daughter's, so I "get" what she needs, but I make every effort to adopt my schooling of DS to his personality, because I think this is necessary.

I wonder whether it is always possible to school in a style that matches the Teacher's personality. I would imagine this to work reasonably well if the kids are of a similar makeup and abilities as the parent. However, I could not possibly educate a passionate artistic child with the methods that work well for me and my kids who are very analytical systematic thinkers, nor would these methods and curricula work for a student with a learning disability. Likewise, I imagine that an artsy-craftsy unschooly extremely relaxed mom would have difficulties educating a child well who requires highly formalized, organized, and structured schooling.
So, while I think it is a nice luxury to have a match between materials that suit the teacher and the student's teaching style, a too large discrepancy between the teacher's preferences and the student's needs will require the teacher to use materials outside her comfort zone so the child can be educated according to his needs. After all, the purpose of homeschooling is not for the mom to feel good, but for the child to learn.


I always say that I want my curriculum choices to work for teacher/student 100/100. They need to be a good fit for both of us. That takes on different meanings depending on similarities and differences for particular kids and subjects. In cases where my child is unlike me in a certain subject, I try to pick something easy for me to teach/guide/schedule that lets the child do the work in a way that suits him/her, sometimes taking the lead. Where my kids are most like me, it is obviously easier for me to find a good fit, but flexing works when needed.
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#11 Oakblossoms

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:26 PM

I think homeschooling is for everyone. So, if I don't feel good it isn't working.

I am so attracted to Waldorf but it doesn't work. I am not crafty at all.

I am always surprised at what works especially since my kids are so different. I am coming up on my 4th Preschooler. I have been thinking a lot about what I want for her. My first two went to PS. My third has some special needs. She seems to be doing well and it is going to be so different with her.

One thing I have learned is less is more for us. One good book is ways better than a million extras and crafty stuff and well timed TV shows. One book and discussions so they can connect to other things is nice.

Quite a bit of what we use now is PHP stuff which I always fight but it works.
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#12 Freckles

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:30 PM

I suppose our home reflects our curriculum choices. We are very traditional in how we decorate, and how our family structure flows. I guess it's no surprise that we follow more of a traditional textbook learning style. I'm lucky that Pippi is just like me. She is a Perfect Paula learner. It's fortunate that both of our styles are met.
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#13 Farrar

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:31 PM

That's how I took it too, Kristina. It makes sense to me that the home reflects who you are. And therefore, your curriculum will as well. I mean, I could get into it saying that some curricula will work better when you have room to spread out or something (which I'm sure is true) but I took it to be more a general sense that all these things should mesh and reflect you.

I think this is good stuff so I'm curious what others will say.
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#14 *Michelle*

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:51 PM

The first time I read TWTM, I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I figured out a long time ago that I am not a creative person. Well, not exactly. I'm not creative in that I am unable to generate something new. I'm creative once I've been given something to start with. I can take something and make it my own. And when I saw the overarching plan of TWTM, I knew that I could take that framework and adapt it to my needs.

I need a firm structure with plenty of space to bounce around in. Looking around my house, I can see that reflected. Our rooms are uncluttered. We have lots of floor space. We have things set up in nontraditional ways, but they work for how we use our space.

The idea of TWTM resonated with me because its walls are rigid, but its living space is wide open. I can make of it what I will.
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#15 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 10:10 PM

Rereading Hunter's post, I can see where she is literally comparing home with what works for you, but I took it as a more general suggestion to be who you are.


It was this part of the quote that makes me not connect with the analogy: Take a look around your home. If you like it, describe it. Otherwise describe it as you wish it were. Why? Because it lets us figure YOU out a bit more.

I don't think my home reflects me as a teacher at all other than the fact that it is very evident that I am Catholic and have a serious addiction to collecting books. ;)

I think the heart of the issue is whether or not curriculum is implementable by the teacher and useable by the children which I agree completely is reflected in the idea that you have to know yourself as teacher and give yourself the freedom to work with your personal strengths to find a way that meets your kids needs.
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#16 PentecostalMom

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 10:23 PM

To me the difference is in how much you stretch yourself and the number of areas in which you try to stretch at once. I think everyone should stretch a little. It's good for us to grow and improve, to shore up our weak areas. But if everything is a weak area? Maybe pick curricula that takes you by the hand and makes your life easy for 80% of subjects. Then pick the most important subjects and/or your comfort areas to pick curricula that demand more of you. When I first started, I tried to stretch myself in every way, for every subject, all the time. Simultaneously, I was trying to stretch at parenting (frequently solo), keeping house, making great healthy meals 3x a day, doing school, self-educating, being a good friend, mother, etc. Essentially, I was trying to be the best at everything, right from the start. In the end, I just felt like I was failing at everything, even what I was already pretty darn good at, because I was not living up to my impossible expectations of doing everything exactly right all the time...because it wasn't possible.

And typing that all out makes me sound a little insane, LOL. But there you go. :lol:



I totally agree. Many of us try to best the best at everything and compare oursleves unnecessarily to others. I strive daily to be content where I am and with who I am. I try to show my dc love and let everything else fall under that umbrella. I realize that because I do not bake everything from scratch, and because you can find dust in my house, I am not a bad mother. I realize that my time, my focused time (with no computer or cell phone or other distractions) is the very best thing I can give them. That is what they will remember, that is what they will cherish. Not how many different math/writing/grammar programs I used.

The first time I read TWTM, I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I figured out a long time ago that I am not a creative person. Well, not exactly. I'm not creative in that I am unable to generate something new. I'm creative once I've been given something to start with. I can take something and make it my own. And when I saw the overarching plan of TWTM, I knew that I could take that framework and adapt it to my needs.

I need a firm structure with plenty of space to bounce around in. Looking around my house, I can see that reflected. Our rooms are uncluttered. We have lots of floor space. We have things set up in nontraditional ways, but they work for how we use our space.

The idea of TWTM resonated with me because its walls are rigid, but its living space is wide open. I can make of it what I will.


I don't use many PHP products, nor follow WTM, but I do agree with this. We chose a curriculum base that works for us (Sonlight). We are a reading family. My 7yo loves to draw (and 3yo does whatever she is doing). She also enjoys crafts, but mostly drawing. This works very well for me. I do not enjoy crafts (though we do them a few times a month) but I do enjoy reading and discussing. So dd draws pictures to accompany what we are reading about and we all love to discuss not only after reading, but during reading. It fits our family because we are constantly growing but we can always do SL because I can read and discuss when nursing a baby. We can all snuggle, or go outside, or the dd's can draw or color, all while I am reading.

Sonlight, and many of the products they carry, work for our family. It does help keep clutter down because we know what we love and can get rid of anything that we are not using, and do not plan to use. We know what we need to accompany what we are studying and we can get those items, store them all together, and things look neat, but we still live here and school here. It's our home. :)

I do think sometimes, especially with new hsers that are still trying to find their way (so to speak) end up with things they think *look* good or *sound* good, or things that are working for someone else and in reality, they end up failing. Failing themselves and their dc. Not because they did not try hard enough, or do enough research, but because they have to see what works for their dc and fits their family. It entails being able to use different things for different dc, especially with subjects like math. It saddens me to see people think they are doing poorly as a homeschool parent because such-and-such curriculum did not work for their kid, when it worked so marvelously for their neighbor or friend. It also frustrates me to see and know parents that curriculum hop, or jump on the bandwagon of every-single-new thing that comes up, only to realize that what they had was working fine, but usually when they figure this out, the dc and hsing parent are all frustrated.
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#17 Murphy101

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 10:57 PM

I agree with 8fillstheheart.

My home is full of bold colors, warm woods, bookcases and lots of life moving in constant motion.

I love that, but *I* am a homebody who indulges my family by leaving the house way more than I naturally would if I didn't have a family. By nature, crowds, noise, mess, social politics and rushing are all stressful things I avoid. Yet here I am loving 10 kids and all the noise, mess, and busyness that entails.

I guess my homeschooling does reflect me or at least my life. It's eclectic, catholic, sometimes a straight forward program, sometimes very creative, sometimes it's independently done, some it rather teacher intensive. Idk that it reflects my home. I want my home to be bright, cheerful, and a cozy haven.


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#18 coralloyd

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 11:42 PM

Listening intently.

#19 SilverMoon

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 11:51 PM

I can't get the connection either. My actual house usually has kid clutter, books strewn all over, and laundry and dishes always in the middle of being done. My ideal house would still have some kid clutter and strewn books, but would have an Alice from The Brady Bunch going behind us and keeping it much tidier and getting the meals done on time. Academically that sounds like PS, or at least an in home tutor. :p
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#20 Embassy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 12:11 AM

Take a look around your home. If you like it, describe it. Otherwise describe it as you wish it were. Why? Because it lets us figure YOU out a bit more. You might like the book The Organized Homeschooler. It has a lot of good advice your structuring your HOME into something that reflects YOU.

The TEACHER and the HOME are the center of the homeschool. When the curriculum doesn't match the teacher and home, it doesn't work well. And all too often we are most attracted to the curriculum that is most unlike ourselves and our home. We think the curriculum will turn everything around, and CHANGE us into something we have been convinced is better than we are.


I've never thought about the home being the center of the homeschool before and now that I think of it I don't totally understand it. I suppose if you buy a house and stay in one place for a long time I could wrap my head around that idea. However, my family has lived a rather nomadic life thus far and we expect to do so in the future. I'm not attached to this house and don't wish it were different. It is just a place to live. I don't make my home into something that reflects me either. The furniture is furniture and the wall is a wall. But if home is defined as family then I can see how it can fit.

I think what we do reflects me as a teacher, but I wouldn't come close to saying that it reflects my home.
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#21 Erin

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 12:17 AM

We think the curriculum will turn everything around, and CHANGE us into something we have been convinced is better than we are.


I'm a school teacher by profession and something I noticed years ago after a convention or class is so many teachers go home, all pumped up and try to implement EVERYTHING they've just learned. They turn their classrooms upside down. (This is particularly annoying if the convention was during a school year...)

Or you walk through the vendor hall, and every booth is selling a method/product that's better than the last. THIS is the one that magically take away all my troubles, create harmony and beauty in my classroom, and send all of my students on into next year more prepared and excited to learn.
I NEED the latest shiny!!!


My junior year of college, in elementary methods, we had to write our philosophies. I can't even begin to remember what I wrote, or where that paper might have gone, but the purpose of the exercise serves me still. I know my philosophy. So when the siren song of the latest shiny is calling to me from across the vendor hall (or page of a homeschool forum) I deliberately ask myself, "Does this fit my philosophy? Will it further my goals?"
And then I just hope I'm listening to my answers before I whip out my wallet!! ;)
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#22 wellread

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 01:25 AM

In my house, all my bookshelves are filled with LOTS of books, paper, and shoes. In my sister's house, her bookshelves are filled with fossils, shells, bones, and who knows what other dead thing.... and some books.

My sister travels to collect shells and fossils as a hobby, 1 of her kids helped excavate a dinosaur etc.

On the other hand, at this point in my life, my main connection to outdoor life (other than the garden) goes something like this: "kids stop throwing your stuffed animals in the trees... stop throwing your boots in the trees (to rescue the stuffed animals stuck in the branches)... wear your shoes when you go to the barn or you'll get horse manure in the house...." So we are NOT going to be going on nature hikes, observing nature closely, doing nature studies, etc. (Now I will stop the car next to a puddle on the road so my kids can collect tadpoles to bring home to let grow inside the house.)

For me to plan a curriculum that involves lots of outdoor field trips, digging, collecting stuff, etc. would be for me to indulge in a fantasy about how I think education should happen (because I've seen my sister implement it so beautifully). A curriculum heavy on this type of activity would fail for us. The kids are free to play with nature (my daughter is big on bugs) and they certainly observe a lot of it (we're in the country), but I'm not teaching it.

On the other hand, we read like crazy-- even before the kids knew how to read they were looking at books, etc. Not surprisingly, we are going to be reading tons of historical fiction. And we read lots of kids science books.

I took Hunter's comment about your house to mean, 'know yourself'-- and look at your house/how you actually live to see who you really are, and then go from there.

Not to derail the conversation, but I have a question, what is the "box" that Hunter spoke of:

Read No Regrets to see what a box REALLY means, and if that might work for you. A package is not a box, and they are often confused nowadays.


so what is "a box" in this context??
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#23 NASDAQ

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:26 AM

I'm not creative. I don't like crafts. I'm efficient and driven and relentless. I like a curriculum that achieves the most possible, with the least amount of wasted time. And doesn't involve any paste.

That's what I look for, and that's pretty much what I have. The bulk of our work comes from Singapore Math, AAS, and Elson/McGuffey Readers with the older, and AAR and RightStart A with the four-year-old. I like doing things every day, so I do. My Hebrew materials, which no one here will have heard of, make McGuffey look full of bells and whistles.

I could probably stand to balance things a little more with my rather artistic daughter's interests.
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#24 Hunter

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:32 AM

Not to derail the conversation, but I have a question, what is the "box" that Hunter spoke of:

so what is "a box" in this context??


People have different definitions of "box" but MY definition of a box is when EVERYTHING is included. It's often delivered from a correspondence school. It's been carefully compiled to be COMPLETED in the number of hours that a child would spend ON TASK at a quality PS. The books COMPLEMENT each other and make a pleasing WHOLE, even if an individual book is just so-so. The materials are developmentally appropriate and doable in every sense of the word. Some correspondence schools will allow you to just purchase their curriculum without signing with the school.

A package is not a box. The materials have not always been properly field tested to WORK in the do-the-next-thing fashion. Mom is expected to supplement and skip and tweak, with little guidance of what's enough or important. There is often too much to do, too many "fun" things that require shopping, and lessons that just do not work.


No Regrets is a great example of a family that used boxed curricula. They used Calvert and then American School.


My oldest used American School for high school and I have nothing but good things to say about the experience.


Boxes have a bad rap in the homeschooling community and that is unfortunate. They are a great option for SOME families. Having school in a box, literally, that children keep in their room, and complete in the morning, allows many families to spend the afternoon unschooling, working, creating, performing, or otherwise pursuing a lifestyle that is not FOCUSED on being a homeschooling family.

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#25 stripe

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:44 AM

Boxes have a bad rap in the homeschooling community and that is unfortunate. They are a great option for SOME families. Having school in a box, literally, that children keep in their room, and complete in the morning, allows many families to spend the afternoon unschooling, working, creating, performing, or otherwise pursuing a lifestyle that is not FOCUSED on being a homeschooling family.

I wonder if this is true, actually, given how many people use them. I mean, it reminds me sort of, of saying "Most people think Applebee's is a bad restaurant" or "Americans think smoking is repulsive." It can't possibly be true because so many people eat there, and it is a top chain in the country, and tons of people smoke. There is a group of people who dislike chain food, but they aren't the majority. Charles Murray claims there are two Americas in "Coming Apart," and one of them loves chain restaurants and popular music and movies, and the other one does not have anything to do with them. (Perhaps due to his previous ill-advised comments in "Bell Curve," he now seems to be confining his analysis to white America.) I am hardly an enthusiastic fan of his, but I thought there is some truth to this claim, at least as far as people's consumer habits are concerned, leaving aside entirely any morality issues.

Is there a silent majority in homeschooling circles?

I wonder.

And I do know someone who uses Calvert, definitely does not go online to chat about curricula as she has no internet connection and does not attend conventions, and does not fit the expectations of most HSing moms on here. She is not representative of most homeschoolers, either, but she is an example of a segment that might be hidden from our view of who's out there.
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#26 Pawz4me

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:52 AM

Goodness. A huge ditto to everything Hunter just said above.

We too use Calvert as our core (substituting TT for math). And we love it. Absolutely and totally love it. It gets school done, thoroughly and (IMO) rigorously w/o school having to take over our lives. We get up in the morning, get 'er done and then get on with life. Of course the rest of "life" includes following a lot of rabbit trails and having fun with those. And I can see how that kind of relates to how our "house" (literally and figuratively) is. Relatively neat and clean, and organized and minimalist (Calvert). But still allowing for the occasional mess or whimsical decoration (the extra time using an efficient curriculum like Calvert allows for rabbit trails).

I"m not very clear-headed yet this morning, so I've probably botched that response up. I reserve the right to clarify later. ;)
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#27 Hunter

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:57 AM

:lol: to some of these responses.

Sometimes my strongest statements are in context of responding to statements that are strongly on the other end of the spectrum. If there were a ton of people here writing posts like I do, I would sometimes be writing of the other end of the spectrum to provide balance.

No, of course not every home is a reflection of the teacher, but it almost is. And it's a good place for a newbie or stressed mom to take a look at. So many moms are looking at Waldorf CURRICULA whose entire lifestyle and home is not supportive of that curriculum. The same for many other methods.

And as for meeting the mom's needs before the students, of COURSE there are times to be VERY careful with that GENERALIZATION. But over the decades, I have seen over and over and over, long term homeschoolers gradually move from attempting to match the student, to matching the teacher, with very positive results. As a GENERALIZATION, I think one of the top newbie mistakes is to try too hard to accommodate the student's learning style. Of course I've seen the opposite!!! But often it was a mom that was using something she thought she SHOULD use, rather than something that TRULY reflected her CORE personality, not the MASK she has learned to wear to be accepted and safe.

So, like I said, many of my GENERALIZATIONS are in CONTEXT to the CURRENT homeschool climate which is very shaming and overwhelming to moms. A climate so shaming and overwhelming that many moms give up, or are failing to teach well in. If the climate changes, my responses will adapt accordingly. Right now, though...well...I'm going to keep preaching my generalizations, until someone writes a book on the topic and balances the general climate a bit.

I'm not going to warn tropical moms to wear a winter coat, or arctic moms to wear a bathing suit. But if I see a crowd of tropical moms in coats, I'm going to preach, "TAKE OFF YOUR COATS!" and if I see a huddle of shivering arctic moms in bathing suits, I'm going to yell, "GO GET YOUR COATS ON!", and not take the time so say, "in general" and then list all the possible exceptions.
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#28 Runningmom80

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 06:50 AM

Great thread. I recently came to this conclusion because I keep stressing myself out trying to fit into a category, and no one is having fun. The past 2 weeks DS has just been doing LoF and handwriting while I soul search about what is going to work for us. Oh he's been reading lots of captain underpants too. Is the a captain underpants curriculum? ;)


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#29 Melenie

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 06:57 AM

This is a great discussion and I am enjoying everyone's replies.

The first time I read TWTM, I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I figured out a long time ago that I am not a creative person. Well, not exactly. I'm not creative in that I am unable to generate something new. I'm creative once I've been given something to start with. I can take something and make it my own. And when I saw the overarching plan of TWTM, I knew that I could take that framework and adapt it to my needs.

I need a firm structure with plenty of space to bounce around in. Looking around my house, I can see that reflected. Our rooms are uncluttered. We have lots of floor space. We have things set up in nontraditional ways, but they work for how we use our space.

The idea of TWTM resonated with me because its walls are rigid, but its living space is wide open. I can make of it what I will.


I have never thought about it much, but Michelle has described my house and why TWTM works for us. My house is uncluttered and everything has a place, that does not mean that it is always tidy and everything is in it's place. It means that should I feel things are getting "out of control", I can quickly get it back to my comfort level. I feel the same with TWTM. Within that structure we have freedom to move around, but the walls are rigid and give me my safety net.
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#30 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:14 AM

Boxes have a bad rap in the homeschooling community and that is unfortunate. They are a great option for SOME families. Having school in a box, literally, that children keep in their room, and complete in[/size][/font][/color]

:lol: to some of these responses.
Sometimes my strongest statements are in context of responding to statements that are strongly on the other end of the spectrum. If there were a ton of people here writing posts like I do, I would sometimes be writing of the other end of the spectrum to provide balance.

So, like I said, many of my GENERALIZATIONS are in CONTEXT to the CURRENT homeschool climate which is very shaming and overwhelming to moms. A climate so shaming and overwhelming that many moms give up, or are failing to teach well in.


Per your first quote, i agree with Stripe and wonder if your observations are true about the homeschooling community at large or if they are more are reflective of segments of the homeschooling population. For example, if I only had relationships with my Catholic homeschooling community in the numerous places I have lived, I would think that the vast majority of homeschoolers used boxed curriculum. In one community, Seton was used by almost all of them, MODG or Kolbe by a few families. Only one other family did not use completely planned curriculum. And, my skewed perspective is that the vast majority of Catholic homeschoolers use Saxon or TT and most aren't familiar with anything else.......and I am sure that probably is not a real truth!!! It just seems that way based on the families I encounter.

Reading this forum definitely skews perspective. I hang out here precisely bc I can't find people that think like this IRL. Since the WTM is about designing your curriculum, it only makes sense that those drawn to this forum aren't using boxed curriculum.

As a completely aside pov, your generalization of boxed curriculum being the a good solution for the overwhelmed mom was the complete opposite for me. As the "generalized" Catholic I started off with a boxed curriculum, Seton, and school at home completely overwhelmed me. For me as a homeschooler, sticking with a box would have led to failure bc using a boxed curriculum made me miserable.

Per the second quote, is the current homeschooling climate very shaming to moms? It is not something I have observed personally, but if it is, I wonder if the "death" of the traditional homeschool support group (the old type of group where moms met just to support each other and then met with kids for pure social activities) vs co-op groups might be connected?? I have no idea since I haven't witnessed "shaming" but perhaps it is connected to the belief that i have observed amg so many homeschoolers in which moms really believe that they cannot do it at home and need to have outside teachers vs really being encouraged that they are capable? No real thoughts or answers......just random spewing here. :p
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#31 boscopup

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:19 AM

Is there a silent majority in homeschooling circles?


I think Hunter was describing this forum, not necessarily homeschoolers in general. I think a majority of homeschoolers probably aren't on forums like this, discussing curricula. At least, most of the ones I know aren't. Locally, I mention Singapore, and they have no idea what I'm talking about. They've only heard of A Beka and Saxon (which isn't a box, but it's popular). They don't waste time researching curricula like I do. ;)

So yes, here on WTM, the vast majority shuns "the box", but I think in general, homeschoolers are still very box happy (which is perfectly fine!!!). When I look at what the homeschoolers locally are selling, there is a lot of A Beka, an occasional BJU, a lot of Saxon. Really, that's what most here are using. Just a couple weeks ago, a homeschooler at church brought up math to me, and she told me how she was switching from a A Beka to Saxon. She asked what I used. I said Singapore. She'd never heard of it. She doesn't go online to research curricula at all. And again, that's perfectly fine. She's happy with her homeschool, and her kids are happy, so it's all good. :)

As far as the OP goes... I guess I can sort of see some similarity between my curricula choices and my house. My house is a bit haphazard, but I try to keep it organized, and I'd like for it to be clutter-free (it's better than it was!). Likewise, my curriculum choices are a bit all over the place, but I keep them organized and streamlined. I don't do a lot of busy-work (guess that would be the clutter?).

I definitely have learned to use materials *I* like to teach. If I were to get a Waldorf curriculum and try to teach my children, it probably wouldn't get done. I'm not an artsy person (I do enjoy sewing and music, but drawing... nope). I don't like doing projects. My oldest is like me and doesn't even learn much from projects. He learns more from reading. In biology class, I learned more reading about the insides of a frog than I did dissecting one (the one thing I remember from dissecting is that if you are cutting through the top of the head to get to the brain and you miss, you might pull the tongue out through the top of the head :lol:). Now obviously if I were to go into a medical field, I'd need to know how to work on real animals or people, but as far as learning what the parts of the frog are, a labeled picture is actually better for me. My oldest son is the same way. So teaching him has been easy. Now he's flexible and will learn from just about anything, but he is very similar to me. We did the left-brained/right-brained test in Ellen McHenry's "The Brain" unit recently, and my oldest is left-brained like me, though he has *some* right-brained traits that I don't have. We tested my middle son, and as I expected... very right-brained. He thinks in pictures. He's completely opposite of me. I still use the same materials with him, and I just adjust gently. Most curricula can be used with multiple learning styles. For example, Singapore math hits the kinesthetic kids via manipulatives, the visual kids via pictorial, and the auditory kids via the teacher teaching the material and discussing it. Most curricula are designed that way. Obviously, some curricula will be more extreme. For example, Right Start would be a bad fit for my oldest, as he's very abstract and doesn't need manipulatives. Manipulatives slow him down, and that bothers him. I'm thankful for that, because I hated teaching RS. :lol: As far as teaching my middle son, I've had to appeal more to movement and pictures for teaching him, but again, I can use the same curricula that I used with my oldest, who learns well from reading on his own and from me reading to him.

So basically, I pick what *I* want to teach, and I just adjust it ever so slightly to meet the kids. I suppose if I had a kid with an LD or an extreme learning style, it might be different. Obviously, there are kids like that who really can't learn from just any curricula. But I think most kids can probably learn from a variety of curricula, and in those cases, meeting the teacher's needs first makes absolute sense. If I don't like teaching something, it may not get taught. I'd rather pick something I'll actually teach consistently. That's what I had to do with spelling... I hated teaching spelling. Just hated it. I used AAS for a while, but it started becoming something I didn't get around to some days. I tried Spalding, but I hated teaching that too. Then I realized that R&S Spelling taught basically the same phonics and rules, so I got that. My son is now learning to spell... independently!!! I don't have to teach spelling anymore! Hooray! Now it gets done consistently, and his spelling is improving much more than it did with AAS (I didn't use Spalding long enough to see results from that). My son did great with AAS, but in this case, the program that got used consistently every day is the more effective. Both teach solid phonics, which is what I wanted, so now all is good. :) Likewise, teaching phonics to my middle son with games and activities would probably work well for him, but for ME, one Phonics Pathways book is all I need, and it's working well, because we do it consistently every day. I did get out a picture from the IEW PAL program to differentiate letters 'm' and 'n', but otherwise, I've just used what works for me, and it's getting done, and he's learning.
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#32 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:23 AM

I think Hunter was describing this forum, not necessarily homeschoolers in general. I think a majority of homeschoolers probably aren't on forums like this, discussing curricula. At least, most of the ones I know aren't. Locally, I mention Singapore, and they have no idea what I'm talking about. They've only heard of A Beka and Saxon (which isn't a box, but it's popular). They don't waste time researching curricula like I do. ;)

So yes, here on WTM, the vast majority shuns "the box", but I think in general, homeschoolers are still very box happy (which is perfectly fine!!!).


We were posting at the same time. :) Your observations are the same as mine.

#33 Shmead

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:29 AM

I think it's really hard to look at your house and see how it reflects you, because so much of what makes a house unique seems like the default: a house is just a house.

I am reminded of my grandmother. Years--decades--ago, she says to me "I don't know why people from other countries are so attached to their "cultures". I don't have a culture". And I was like (heavily paraphrased) "Grandmother, you have certain ways you celebrate Christmas and Easter and Halloween, and you had 12 kids, sent them all to Catholic school, pushed them all through scouts, sent them all (ok, 11) to college, whatever the cost. You took them camping every summer, baked them a cake a every birthday, and named each and every one after a saint". And she said "Well, that's not a culture, that's just what people do".

I worked at a grocery store for about month in college. Before that, I would have said my groceries said nothing about me, that I bought "standard stuff", and that there were only one or two distinctive items. But after working there a week, I discovered that there are no standard groceries. Every single weird thing I couldn't imagine anyone buying is actually bought by tons of people. And things I thought of as just normal--stuff everyone buys all the time--rarely crossed my register.

I guess what I am saying is that our homes seem such the default that it can be hard to see what they reveal. But I think Hunter's point is good: if you aren't the kind of person who will enjoy the work of prepping BFSU, don't use it: a kid who was in the same house as BFSU but never used it is not better educated than someone who had a workbook and a series of boxed experiments. Trying to find the materials, method, or approach that is 100% best for your child without ever a thought for what your own strengths and limitations are is basically pride ("I can do ANYTHING for my kid!"), and it will hurt your child, because they won't get the perfect version of that perfect curriculum, they will get the deeply flawed presentation of it that is all you can manage. And in reflecting on past years, you need to look at what you did, not what you used.
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#34 Shmead

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:39 AM

Per the second quote, is the current homeschooling climate very shaming to moms? It is not something I have observed personally, but if it is, I wonder if the "death" of the traditional homeschool support group (the old type of group where moms met just to support each other and then met with kids for pure social activities) vs co-op groups might be connected?? I have no idea since I haven't witnessed "shaming" but perhaps it is connected to the belief that i have observed amg so many homeschoolers in which moms really believe that they cannot do it at home and need to have outside teachers vs really being encouraged that they are capable? No real thoughts or answers......just random spewing here. :p


I think the internet tends to be very shaming to everyone, because it's so easy for people to lie, and to judge, and to present themselves as achieving an ideal and condescend to those that don't. When you know someone in the world, you often see the gap between their claims and their reality: I used to work with a woman that was really smug about how well she fed her children and how much she LOVED healthy food and really had this "If anyone enjoys Doritos, they must be really unsophisticated" kind of attitude, but I also saw that she brought McD's to work for breakfast twice a week. If I'd pushed it, I am sure she would have explained it was because she was so busy, on account of her kids being so needy, but that she's have preferred an egg white omelet with feta and fresh greens. And I am sure that would taste good. But she also really enjoyed the McDs. I guess what I am saying is that if all I had heard were her words, I would have felt shamed by my own tastes, my own . . .self. But because I saw her actions, I didn't. On the internet, we only get the words.
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#35 Where's Toto?

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:43 AM

I think there's a lot of truth to Hunters statement. My house dictates some of what we use in a very practical sense. We have no space for nature displays, and large long term projects.

As far are choosing curriculum, I found out early on that I hate anything that involves switching between multiple resources for the same subject, anything too integrated where you have to match up your reading, science, history, etc. for the day, and anything that takes longer to plan than it does to actually do. Lucky for me, my kids are similar. They want their school to be straight-forward, to the point, and easy to tell when you're almost done. They don't have the patience for a project that is going to take days to show the results (this could be because they are young).
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#36 Pawz4me

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:48 AM

I've encountered the prejudice against boxed curricula on other home schooling forums and on Yahoo groups. I think much of it comes from people who have no actual experience with complete, boxed programs and yet for some reason they feel compelled to speak against them. I don't see that happening so much with other schooling choices.
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#37 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:51 AM

I think the internet tends to be very shaming to everyone, because it's so easy for people to lie, and to judge, and to present themselves as achieving an ideal and condescend to those that don't. When you know someone in the world, you often see the gap between their claims and their reality: I used to work with a woman that was really smug about how well she fed her children and how much she LOVED healthy food and really had this "If anyone enjoys Doritos, they must be really unsophisticated" kind of attitude, but I also saw that she brought McD's to work for breakfast twice a week. If I'd pushed it, I am sure she would have explained it was because she was so busy, on account of her kids being so needy, but that she's have preferred an egg white omelet with feta and fresh greens. And I am sure that would taste good. But she also really enjoyed the McDs. I guess what I am saying is that if all I had heard were her words, I would have felt shamed by my own tastes, my own . . .self. But because I saw her actions, I didn't. On the internet, we only get the words.


I guess that suggests that IRL homeschool support meetings no longer existing really does hurt homeschooling moms then. B/c you're right......IRL you get the big picture. I hadn't really thought about it, but has social media networking influenced the breakdown of the traditional IRL homeschool support network? (other than the WTM and a couple of email loops, I am not "connected" on the internet, so I haven't really thought about it.)
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#38 stripe

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:33 AM

Just for the record, I was just musing about it, and I definitely think Hunter knows more about almost everything than I, and I have always thought a boxed curriculum could be a good option for people, and certainly seems preferable to confusion and stress and jumping madly from one thing to the next, leaving one's children confused.

I have no experience with boxed curricula and very limited exposure to people who use them, but I think it is entirely possible that they work reasonably well, or very well, for a fair number of people. In a way, sort of like making pancakes or a cake from a mix: reliable and virtually fail safe, but not personal. I have observed it to be the case in American society, in many different areas, that someone who does the unconventional thing is assumed to have thought deeply about her choice and be more intelligent, etc, whereas someone who does the conventional thing is assumed to be lazy, not very bright, and certainly not thoughtful. This is not the case in my husband's culture, where comformity is fairly highly valued and it is actually very easy to be considered a polite, caring person, for example, by simply learning what is expected, using the right phrases, and so forth. In a time of stress, for example, if someone dies, simple actions are predictable and very comforting.

I think it can be somewhat harder to navigate the waters when there are so many options. One is expected to reinvent the wheel at every opportunity, and, particularly in moments of stress and any other difficulties, this can be very hard.
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#39 Runningmom80

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:46 AM

I've encountered the prejudice against boxed curricula on other home schooling forums and on Yahoo groups. I think much of it comes from people who have no actual experience with complete, boxed programs and yet for some reason they feel compelled to speak against them. I don't see that happening so much with other schooling choices.



I find the internet, when pertaining to any parenting decision, tends to be overly judgmental, and unrelenting at that. I don't think it's just a homeschooling thing.
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#40 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:51 AM

Just for the record, I was just musing about it, and I definitely think Hunter knows more about almost everything than I, and I have always thought a boxed curriculum could be a good option for people, and certainly seems preferable to confusion and stress and jumping madly from one thing to the next, leaving one's children confused.

I have no experience with boxed curricula and very limited exposure to people who use them, but I think it is entirely possible that they work reasonably well, or very well, for a fair number of people. In a way, sort of like making pancakes or a cake from a mix: reliable and virtually fail safe, but not personal. I have observed it to be the case in American society, in many different areas, that someone who does the unconventional thing is assumed to have thought deeply about her choice and be more intelligent, etc, whereas someone who does the conventional thing is assumed to be lazy, not very bright, and certainly not thoughtful. This is not the case in my husband's culture, where comformity is fairly highly valued and it is actually very easy to be considered a polite, caring person, for example, by simply learning what is expected, using the right phrases, and so forth. In a time of stress, for example, if someone dies, simple actions are predictable and very comforting.

I think it can be somewhat harder to navigate the waters when there are so many options. One is expected to reinvent the wheel at every opportunity, and, particularly in moments of stress and any other difficulties, this can be very hard.


I wonder if part of it is what the dominate perspective is of the larger group one is around? For example, the Catholic groups I have been around have had an undercurrent of "you aren't Catholic homeschooling if you aren't using a Catholic provider." Creating your own curriculum was definitely not regarded more highly by many of those groups. ;)
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#41 soror

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:32 AM

For me personally I like my house uncluttered, ordered, minimalist. It seems perhaps boxed would be the way to go but that really doesn't work well for us. I like a loose structure but I don't want to follow someone else's structure. Michelle talked about how WTM provided an outside structure with lots of free room inside, I felt that way about LCC, which fits me more than anything else.

Locally I see that most moms just go with what is known, around here that is Abeka, My Father's World and some Sonlight. I do see consideration as to the mom's preferences and children's learning style but I wouldn't say that it leans one direction more than another. Our local hs group is just a support group and not academic. Curriculum is not generally discussed in much detail. I don't see a lot of shame and guilt, if anything it leans towards the other end in accepting anything.

Personally when I started I thought I would teach how I had wanted to learn. I quickly realized that I had to consider the children I had in front of me. Now that the children are getting older I can that our hs going in the direction I had in my mind, it is just that I had no concept of teaching small children. I'm pleased as punch with where we are now. I just had no clue when we started as to how to bring my vision to fruition and the work that entailed. I have a much better idea now and also realize we can just take it one day at a time. I do put a lot of thought into making our family have a lifestyle of learning and structuring our home, family etc around that goal.

#42 Lucy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 10:20 AM

When I first began hsing, I picked what I was told was "the best" for each subject. All of it was totally teacher intensive. Sooooo not me! I wish I loved to read aloud - I love to read - just not aloud! So all those curr were a bust for me. Now I use curr that is all very non teacher intensive and we use books on cd to listen to together! I am so much more relaxed and happy, and so are the kids. If one of my kids struggles with a choice, I'm totally open to switch and find what works best for her. (for example, I love history and love the projects and videos and fun stuff - my 3rd dd told me she just wants a textbook next year. totally her style) I think that matches my home pretty good. It's orderly, but not rigid. I've set things up to be the least amount of work possible. But I will rearrange everything (even switch entire rooms) to accomidate the changing needs of the family.

Also, my house is bright with lots of windows and lots and lots of color - probably too much! (Blue walls, red chair, yellow pillows) And I find myself wishing constatly that I could add in more FUN... more LIFE into my homeschooling and not fall into the trap of just "do the next thing and get it done." Time to think about how to add more joy into my schooling for next year. Any great ideas?
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#43 Murphy101

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 10:56 AM

Per the second quote,  is the current homeschooling climate very shaming to moms?   It is not something I have observed personally, but if it is, I wonder if the "death" of the traditional homeschool support group (the old type of group where moms met just to support each other and then met with kids for pure social activities) vs co-op groups might be connected??  I have no idea since I haven't witnessed "shaming" but perhaps it is connected to the belief that i have observed amg so many homeschoolers in which moms really believe that they cannot do it at home and need to have outside teachers vs really being encouraged that they are capable?  No real thoughts or answers......just random spewing here.


I've seen it in various forms. Mom's told if they join the protestant support group then they are ditching the Catholics. Mom's quietly cut from friends lists if they sign their kids into the public virtual school. Mom's pressured heavily to join coops and or support groups even though those coops and support groups don't meet their education needs. Is it shaming? Idk. But it sure creates plenty of heartache, frustration and general bad feelings.

I've encountered the prejudice against boxed curricula on other home schooling forums and on Yahoo groups. I think much of it comes from people who have no actual experience with complete, boxed programs and yet for some reason they feel compelled to speak against them. I don't see that happening so much with other schooling choices.


I've seen this too. And it's a shame because not every mom is a born bibliophile who can put it all together or is savey at how to research what is or is not quality or enough. I tell every new homeschooling mom that the best thing I did my first year homeschooling was to NOT research and shop around. I knew ONE person vaguely who home schooled and I called her in desperation, and she said she used Seton. I ordered Seton. The end. I did it because i didnt have a computer to research and all, but i genuinely feel in hindsight this was a tremendous blessing. The first year home schooling is a HUGE adjustment. Adding in creating an eclectic curriculum and lessons on your own for the first time? No. Just no. Get the box. You can adjust as you go and maybe the next year you'll have a better idea of what would work better.

And honestly, after 12 years I've come to accept that there is an ebb and flow to education and it's okay. We don't have to go full throttle every year. It's okay to decide that we need to sit back and just enjoy the ride a bit and let the box do the driving instead of planning every detail of the trip ourselves.
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#44 wellread

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 10:58 AM

This thread is very helpful to me. I'm reflecting on what works (and why) and how we can build on it. And also on what isn't working and why and how I could approach things I want to do differently in order to make them work.

Some of my strengths/weaknesses are reflected in my home. Some of my home clutter is because I find it stimulating (similar to being happy when I have a bunch of ideas/info dancing around in my mind). Which translates to: I'm happy with using several approaches in an unstructured way (like how we use both MUS and Singapore.) Some of my home clutter is because I don't know what to do with some things or where to put them, which can be overwhelming and distracting. Which translates to: sometimes I just have to box stuff up and focus on what is important, which in our homeschool is reading, math and bible.

Some of my beliefs and practices re school are from personal experience: my ability to read made it possible for me to get degrees, teach myself to be a computer programmer, etc. So fluent, happy reading (of all kinds of books) is a huge goal. How I achieve this goal varies by child: my son started reading after 3/4 of 100 EZ lessons and now (at 7) just devours books. Riht now we don't do any formal lessons: I have him read outloud and I correct/explain and he just gets it (it's amazing). My daughter on the other hand needs lots of repitition and practice. Right now we are reading (and constantly reviewing) Let's Read. (which isn't fun, but is incredibly regular, has lots of practice, and she is learning--and it turns out I have a high tolerance for repetition). I put the "fun" into reading for her by getting easy fiction books she likes about cats, animals and nature and reading books outloud with her. Really, reading is fun because of our lifestyle (we read a lot, have tons of books, and go to the library a lot) For me and my style, we don't do any reading program that requires lots of specific manipulatives, books, activities, etc. etc. If we had lots of pieces the dogs would eat them, I would get bogged down in reading the schedule, and nothing would get done.

We've been getting bogged down in SOTW and BFSU because (for me) there are too many moving parts to coordinate (and spend money buying and time finding, getting and storing somewhere). I am very impressed by all these people with their schedules and elaborate projects and have wanted to be able to do this in our home. But it is just not happening. I am realizing that I need to just read the SOTW outloud and let the kids look at supplemental books, read any relevant historical fiction we happen to have, and then they can make whatever project they want using whatever materials are at hand. (thus capitalizing on all the junk we have floating around, their creativity, and my comfort with "unstructure""/serendipity".)

Some of what I'm realizing is based on trying different things (we are only in first grade and very new to this). I like Singapore but dislike reading the HIG. On the other hand I really like reading books about teaching math (Dr. Wright's Kitchen Table, the book describing difference between US and Singapore math teaching [can't recall name now]). Maybe I need a book for me to learn the 'approach' and then I will be able to just teach the lessons without poring over the HIG. Or some videos to watch. Once I understand what I'm trying to teach I'm good at creatively approaching it in lots of ways-- in fact a lot better than trying to understand someone else's detailed way and then doing it.

still reflecting/thinking/learning....
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#45 Lucy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:03 AM

Mom's quietly cut from friends lists if they sign their kids into the public virtual school.



Funny, I've experienced the exact opposite. I've been excluded or silently looked down on because I haven't joined a public school program or co-op! It all depends on your circle, I guess! :)
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#46 Murphy101

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:13 AM

Funny, I've experienced the exact opposite. I've been excluded or silently looked down on because I haven't joined a public school program or co-op! It all depends on your circle, I guess! :)


No, I thought I made it clear, I've seen that too. :)

#47 Pawz4me

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:34 AM

I've seen this too. And it's a shame because not every mom is a born bibliophile who can put it all together or is savey at how to research what is or is not quality or enough. I tell every new homeschooling mom that the best thing I did my first year homeschooling was to NOT research and shop around. I knew ONE person vaguely who home schooled and I called her in desperation, and she said she used Seton. I ordered Seton. The end. I did it because i didnt have a computer to research and all, but i genuinely feel in hindsight this was a tremendous blessing. The first year home schooling is a HUGE adjustment. Adding in creating an eclectic curriculum and lessons on your own for the first time? No. Just no. Get the box. You can adjust as you go and maybe the next year you'll have a better idea of what would work better.


But . . . although I don't think you meant it is an insult, your post certainly comes across as very insulting to those of us who use (and like) a boxed curriculum. Look at the parts I've bolded. So those of us who like a boxed curriculum must do so because we're not bibliophiles? Not savvy? Don't have decent research skills? Poor pitiful (stupid/illiterate/clueless) boxed curricula users. They just don't know any better, bless their hearts.

And then there's the assumption that anyone who starts off with a boxed curriculum will of course find something better. Implying, of course, that a boxed curriculum could never be the "better" choice once one is enlightened?

This is exactly the type of post I see all the time that criticizes boxed curricula and the people who use them. It kind of proves the point of what I posted earlier. It doesn't bother me for myself, because not only am I savvy and have fabulous research skills, I'm also pretty darn self-confident and in touch with what works for us. I use Calvert because I have researched extensively (for the past eight years or so) and haven't found anything that IMO is as rigorous, user-friendly and would be a better choice for us. But while posts like Martha's don't bother me, I do think that maybe they do a huge disservice to less experienced and/or less self-confident home schoolers by making them believe there has to be something "better" out there than the boxed curriculum they're using and loving.
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#48 bethben

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:43 AM

My home and it's "style" is basically picked ideas from someone else or my artsy mother-in-law who told me what would look good for colors. My curriculum is much the same. I have tried to make up a program per the well trained mind, but it never works. I like having a set plan that someone else has put together for me. The stuff I make up always flops about 1/3 of the way into the year. I'm also one of those people who wishes all the clothes in a department store were on manikins so that I wouldn't have to figure out what matches what. We also have books pouring out of every cranny and did so before we started homeschooling. So, I tend to gravitate toward curriculum that tells me what to do every week but gives me a little leeway into how I implement it.

This is why I pick Tapestry of Grace over Beautiful Feet Curriculum. Beautiful feet had too many book choices to choose from, but Tapestry limits the books while giving me a pick and choose on the extras. I would love to do a science program like BSFU, but I know that I would never get it done because there's no "this is how you do it". Instead, I picked something like Nancy Larson for my two youngest next year - a box, tell me what to do when, and here are all the supplies for it. I always admire the people who are able to put together random things in their house and make it look beautiful. The same is with homeschoolers who can just pull together random curriculum pieces/suggestions and make a great year of learning. I am just not that person and when I figured that out about myself, picking homeschooling materials became a lot easier.

Beth
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#49 stripe

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:56 AM

Funny, I've experienced the exact opposite. I've been excluded or silently looked down on because I haven't joined a public school program or co-op! It all depends on your circle, I guess! :)

That's funny, because almost everyone I tell I homeschool (and I don't really mention it unless asked specifically) asks me if I am in a group or coop. My parents also kept hinting around because their friend's daughter is heavily into hers, and so is a relative of mine who homeschools. I don't do anything with a HS group, and apparently that' abnormal.

I tell every new homeschooling mom that the best thing I did my first year homeschooling was to NOT research and shop around. I knew ONE person vaguely who home schooled and I called her in desperation, and she said she used Seton. I ordered Seton. The end. I did it because i didnt have a computer to research and all, but i genuinely feel in hindsight this was a tremendous blessing.

I think it works this way in other aspects of life, too. I have an aunt and uncle who overresearch every purchase, but always end up unhappy. Usually because they decide not to buy what they really want. They buy the car that costs $500 less and are unhappy. Seriously, every big purchase turns out like this.

As I said earlier in the thread, I think, among some people, reinventing the wheel is seen as superior. This applies to all manner of things, including for example some people having disdain for people who follow particular organized religions devoutly, but esteem those who have an "eclectic" religious practice of their own assembly. This is I think what Pawz4me is getting at. I have seen those studies where the more choices of, say, ice cream or jam, people have, the less they tend to buy, and also that people who buy at stores with no return policy are happier than those who have the option of a return.
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#50 Murphy101

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 12:41 PM

But . . . although I don't think you meant it is an insult, your post certainly comes across as very insulting to those of us who use (and like) a boxed curriculum. Look at the parts I've bolded. So those of us who like a boxed curriculum must do so because we're not bibliophiles? Not savvy? Don't have decent research skills? Poor pitiful (stupid/illiterate/clueless) boxed curricula users. They just don't know any better, bless their hearts.
And then there's the assumption that anyone who starts off with a boxed curriculum will of course find something better. Implying, of course, that a boxed curriculum could never be the "better" choice once one is enlightened?


Nope. Don't go looking for insult where there isn't one. All I meant was not everyone wants to have a home held up by bookcases or spend hours doing research or maybe they do get overwhelmed by all the planning and options. I don't think someone who isn't savey at it is stupid anymore than I think someone with a disorganized home is lazy. *shrug* That's just who they are. It's not a sin and it doesn't define their intellect or their character or necessarily even their ability to home school well.

This is exactly the type of post I see all the time that criticizes boxed curricula and the people who use them. It kind of proves the point of what I posted earlier. It doesn't bother me for myself, because not only am I savvy and have fabulous research skills, I'm also pretty darn self-confident and in touch with what works for us. I use Calvert because I have researched extensively (for the past eight years or so) and haven't found anything that IMO is as rigorous, user-friendly and would be a better choice for us. But while posts like Martha's don't bother me, I do think that maybe they do a huge disservice to less experienced and/or less self-confident home schoolers by making them believe there has to be something "better" out there than the boxed curriculum they're using and loving.


What the heck? Then those less experience or confident haven't read much by me then, bc my first rule for a great curriculum is that it is being used and is working. I always caution to use what is working and don't be glamored by the latest shiny whatever that promises to be easier and better. Don't try to fix what isn't broken.

I don't encourage someone to use a packaged or boxed program to start bc I think they aren't capable of doing something else or because I think there is better out there. I do it because I know it is easier and better for many people for many reasons.