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I Just Figured Out My Challenge with full curriculums...Now what to do to solve it?


gratitude
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I just figured out my home school curriculum challenge! :001_smile:

 

I think this would have crossed my mind prior to this, but it really became clear today why I have struggled so much with my curriculum choices.

 

The curriculum companies are great. We have used SL for pre-school & kindergarten, MFW for kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd, and briefly tried HOD as we struggled with placement with them last fall. They all have much to offer. Yet, I have struggled equally with all 3 for the same reason.

 

I was just listening to Tapestry of Grace videos for their curriculum. They said it perfectly. The guides are written for the average student. They emphasize that we, as home educators, are in the drivers seat. Yet, that means a lot of tweaking if my kids aren't average; which they aren't. The problem I have had time and again is my kids aren't average students. They go way too fast...want to do more...and completely ruin integrated curriculums in the process.

 

I remember the first K program I tried. My student already knew letters, numbers, basic addition, basic phonics, reading Bob reader type books, etc...etc. I am one of those people who want to follow the manual and do it as it goes. I didn't with ADV for MFW this year though. I let it go at his pace. It completely lost the integration that is the point of the program and still failed to challenge my oldest.

 

So if you have read this far. Now that I know my challenge. What do I do?

 

We choose to home school for a number of reasons. The top two though were to teach our children about God & to let them do school at their own pace.

 

I remember reading early on about how schools teach to the average student leaving some students bored and others struggling. This was one of the many reasons I choose to home school. Yet, every curriculum I choose essentially does the same thing. It teaches to the average student. I have 3 students that are on one end of the curve and my youngest with Down Syndrome at the other end.

 

Can anyone else relate to this problem? My kids love to learn, but curriculum has slowly been draining that love the way school would have. My second hates school, and I find it so sad that he would feel that way. The curriculums, if I follow them, mostly holds them back or on some occasions pushes them too much in weak areas.

 

I want to figure out how to teach my kids. I have been sitting on my curriculum money for fall since March, and I just can not bring myself to buy anything. I want an approach that will allow me to teach them somehow the things I want them to learn in a way that reaches their abilities, rather than what worked well for some one else; but I don't know how. Does any one else have some of these challenges?

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You piece it together.

 

 

Start planning with the 3R's. Pick a program for each subject individually. (maybe different programs for different dc too) Place them at the level needed and work at their pace. They still may not love school, but that's tough.:tongue_smilie:

 

 

I like combining dc in history and science, both for time-saving and for the family time. As your older ones are able, you can assign reading/writing across the curriculum (eg writing down their narrations, extra reading). Otherwise, I wouldn't stress integrating. Charlotte Mason actually has some interesting thoughts on that. Essentially, integrating too much means that the teacher is doing all of the mental work that the student should be doing. Let the student make those associations. Don't line everything up so perfectly that the child doesn't even get to think about it. (This is my rationalization for my lack of organization anyways...:tongue_smilie:)

 

 

 

For the "I hate school" kiddos, it's even more important to separate the 3R's from the content areas. They may hate writing, but love history if not tied to the excruciating copywork. They may love all things science, but hate the subject in school b/c it's already chewed up, digested and organized for them. (Some kids get a real thrill out of the discovery and organization of info.) Give them real books, real experiments...no strings attached. Read to them, scribe for them, follow some of their rabbit trails. (And, feel confident doing this b/c the 3R's are covered separately. ;))

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I totally agree with you Gratitude! I am so attracted to Sonlight and I hear rave reviews from my friends using MFW or HOD and I think, "Why oh why can't they work for me too!" But taking just LA for example, my dd8 is on grade level with writing, a grade ahead for grammar, way ahead in spelling, and way, way above grade level in reading. Sadly, Sonlight will not fill that need.

 

What we need to do is come up with a system and templates for taking the curriculums they are doing and scheduling them out Sonlight style. Not integrating everything perhaps but closer than just totally separate books. If you find anything like that..(or invent it:) be sure to let us know! I'll be first in line to buy the e-book:D

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De-integrate them :).

 

I use Sonlight but I don't use their LA. As much as that idea appealed to me, there's no way to do it and meet my kids' needs also. Life is much simpler and happier with using a separate LA that meets their learning style & abilities. But we really enjoy the SL "Core" of history, lit, and readers (especially the latter two), so we use what we like from them and go to other curricula for our other choices. I really don't think it detracts from our SL experience at all to not use their LA. (And until this year, the younger levels didn't include LA--you purchased it separately. I would just ignore it in their younger guides if you like their other materials, or do the same in any other curriculum that you like.)

 

Separate out the areas that work for you and don't work for you, and meet their needs in each area. Once you start looking at individual pieces, you'll be able to find things that more closely match your needs and that need less tweaking. I find some tweaking/personalizing is almost always needed, that's part of why we homeschool as well! But if you are having to do a lot, then it doesn't sound like curricula is really working *for* you.

 

Is there something that makes you want to use all one curriculum instead of branching out into a more eclectic style?

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I completely understand! I love the looks of the programs you mentioned, and have even purchased 2 HOD guides. I couldn't do more than the first few weeks because my dd was beyond the levels. I've decided to just piece it together via WTM. WTM really does give good guidelines. It does require more thought and involvement in the planning process, but it doesn't feel like I'm totally re-inventing the wheel.

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I like the idea of the convenience of a "box" approach, but agree with you that it seems counter intuitive to the reason so many of us homeschool - to tailor the best possible education to these bright young minds we're entrusted with! :)

 

I 2nd that everyone else is saying - build your own curriculum, and do it by starting with the basics. If the basics are covered well than that's 80% of what matters, right?!

 

I just wish all my children were from the same mold - but I'm thinking that won't be the case!

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I completely understand! I love the looks of the programs you mentioned, and have even purchased 2 HOD guides. I couldn't do more than the first few weeks because my dd was beyond the levels. I've decided to just piece it together via WTM. WTM really does give good guidelines. It does require more thought and involvement in the planning process, but it doesn't feel like I'm totally re-inventing the wheel.

 

:iagree: Yes, I was going to say basically the same thing: re-read TWTM. You don't have to use the exact curricula/books it recommends if you have a certain preference. It's a bunch of separate pieces, so you can use each piece at a different grade level, but it tells how to tie all these separate, differently leveled pieces together.

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De-integrate them :).

 

I use Sonlight but I don't use their LA. As much as that idea appealed to me, there's no way to do it and meet my kids' needs also. Life is much simpler and happier with using a separate LA that meets their learning style & abilities. But we really enjoy the SL "Core" of history, lit, and readers (especially the latter two), so we use what we like from them and go to other curricula for our other choices. I really don't think it detracts from our SL experience at all to not use their LA. (And until this year, the younger levels didn't include LA--you purchased it separately. I would just ignore it in their younger guides if you like their other materials, or do the same in any other curriculum that you like.)

 

Separate out the areas that work for you and don't work for you, and meet their needs in each area. Once you start looking at individual pieces, you'll be able to find things that more closely match your needs and that need less tweaking. I find some tweaking/personalizing is almost always needed, that's part of why we homeschool as well! But if you are having to do a lot, then it doesn't sound like curricula is really working *for* you.

 

Is there something that makes you want to use all one curriculum instead of branching out into a more eclectic style?

 

This is what we do with SL. We share the history and read-alouds together and then my kids do the readers as scheduled. I use LA programs and math programs that suit each child. If you have a child that reads super fast, great. Then they can still read the SL readers as scheduled, but they will have lots of extra time to read for pleasure.

 

I don't think this will work for every integrated program. For example, I'd love to use AWOA next year, but am not willing to drop the LA I use with my kids and don't want to double up, so I don't see how I could make this program work for us.

 

Lisa

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Piecing together is not as difficult as it seems. In the beginning and even occasionally now, boxed curriculum will look so appealing, but I know it would never work for us. TWTM is a great place to start. It really provided a framework from which to work. Choose math and language arts for each child, then choose Bible, history, and science that you can combine all kids (if that is important to you). I still use mostly do the next thing curriculum so the work is really all done for you anyway... Next year we are even venturing into SL, but just for history/literature, and I have given myself permission to tweak it as much as I need to make it work for us.

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So if you have read this far. Now that I know my challenge. What do I do?

 

I had a curriculum nervous breakdown about a year and half ago.

 

I started putting together my own curriculum. I sat down and wrote out exactly what I want my kids to study up to high school. I still work on my list, making some changes as we go. I have a binder that travels with me all over the house. It contains long-term schedules, booklists, weekly schedules, "to buy" lists, etc. I'm actually a lot more organized now than when we followed "the next thing" curricula.

 

I also stopped looking at grade level recommendations.

 

Also, (this is the first year I've done this, so I'm not an expert) I've started creating my own workbooks. For example, I bought the RS4K Level 1 Physics textbook and Physics Workshop (a lab kit) and created a workbook for each kid on the computer. It has lab sketch sheets for Physics Workshop, fill-in-the blanks, explain this concept and physics MATH problems (woohoo!). I printed one out for each kid and put the workbooks in small binders.

 

Our history is so much better than it was, too. I decided that my kids officially start history in 4th grade. :D No more history readings while my 1st grader just gets up and walks away to look for My Little Ponies (my kids are late bloomers). :glare:

 

It's more work to pull together your own curriculum, but it's a LOT cheaper and we actually stick with it.

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You piece it together.

 

Start planning with the 3R's. Pick a program for each subject individually. (maybe different programs for different dc too) Place them at the level needed and work at their pace. They still may not love school, but that's tough.:tongue_smilie:

 

I like combining dc in history and science, both for time-saving and for the family time. As your older ones are able, you can assign reading/writing across the curriculum (eg writing down their narrations, extra reading). Otherwise, I wouldn't stress integrating. Charlotte Mason actually has some interesting thoughts on that. Essentially, integrating too much means that the teacher is doing all of the mental work that the student should be doing. Let the student make those associations. Don't line everything up so perfectly that the child doesn't even get to think about it.

 

I've decided to just piece it together via WTM. WTM really does give good guidelines. It does require more thought and involvement in the planning process, but it doesn't feel like I'm totally re-inventing the wheel.

 

:iagree: Yes, I was going to say basically the same thing: re-read TWTM. You don't have to use the exact curricula/books it recommends if you have a certain preference. It's a bunch of separate pieces, so you can use each piece at a different grade level, but it tells how to tie all these separate, differently leveled pieces together.

 

Piecing together is not as difficult as it seems. In the beginning and even occasionally now, boxed curriculum will look so appealing, but I know it would never work for us. TWTM is a great place to start. It really provided a framework from which to work. Choose math and language arts for each child, then choose Bible, history, and science that you can combine all kids (if that is important to you).

 

:iagree: Using WTM as a guide to piecing it together can actually be very freeing for you and your kids.

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I was just listening to Tapestry of Grace videos for their curriculum. They said it perfectly. The guides are written for the average student. They emphasize that we, as home educators, are in the drivers seat. Yet, that means a lot of tweaking if my kids aren't average; which they aren't. The problem I have had time and again is my kids aren't average students. They go way too fast...want to do more...and completely ruin integrated curriculums in the process.

 

 

My oldest also (like many kids I'm sure) is also all over the place in skill levels, abilities, and interest. I think, if you want something laid out for you a little, you may find TOG easier to tweak with various levels. If they read the history sections too quickly, TOG has an alternate reading selection. If they can read literature at a higher level, choose a different level reading - there's no reason a lower grammar child can't read a dialectic book (other than possible content). For your child with down syndrome, you can choose levels that fit his/her ability level. I've had my son doing upper grammar history with dialectic literature. It's easy go harder or easier with TOG because all the levels are right there without you having to buy multiple levels in a different program.

 

Beth

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I knew from the beginning we couldn't do boxed curriculum so I created I pulled together the individual pieces. It's not as difficult as it seems. I use recommendations from most of the full curriculum companies, but tailor each skill set to the individual child. I print out everything at the beginning of the year and put the papers in binders so I'm searching for the materials in the middle of the year.

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You piece it together.

 

 

Start planning with the 3R's. Pick a program for each subject individually. (maybe different programs for different dc too) Place them at the level needed and work at their pace. They still may not love school, but that's tough.

 

 

I like combining dc in history and science, both for time-saving and for the family time. As your older ones are able, you can assign reading/writing across the curriculum (eg writing down their narrations, extra reading). Otherwise, I wouldn't stress integrating. Charlotte Mason actually has some interesting thoughts on that. Essentially, integrating too much means that the teacher is doing all of the mental work that the student should be doing. Let the student make those associations. Don't line everything up so perfectly that the child doesn't even get to think about it. (This is my rationalization for my lack of organization anyways...)

 

 

 

For the "I hate school" kiddos, it's even more important to separate the 3R's from the content areas. They may hate writing, but love history if not tied to the excruciating copywork. They may love all things science, but hate the subject in school b/c it's already chewed up, digested and organized for them. (Some kids get a real thrill out of the discovery and organization of info.) Give them real books, real experiments...no strings attached. Read to them, scribe for them, follow some of their rabbit trails. (And, feel confident doing this b/c the 3R's are covered separately. ;))

 

You said this very eloquently, and I agree!!:iagree::iagree:

 

This year I bought SL Core W which actually turned into a glorified reading schedule....:tongue_smilie:

 

Honestly, I like having a glorified reading schedule....so I am ok with it....but it sure wasn't worth the price! The book guides were practically useless....no instruction whatsoever on the geography/map work. Just a map with some places...:confused: No Bible study....just readings and a memory verse....

It turned into a big pile of nothing....that taunted me daily from the shelf!

 

Anyway, After years of Ambleside, and WTM, and pretty much every other darn thing out there....I realize that I do not do grid type integrated curriculum well because my kids HATE them! They really do not like their school time all bundled up nicely in a thematic fashion. I am the one who likes things all nice and neat....

 

My last dd at home is a text book kid. Reading full books FOR SCHOOL makes her eyes cross! She loves reading and does fine with a text and then real books added on....but, to use whole books for every subject makes our day so flipping long we both want to jump out of the window. Also, using a study guide, or writing a paper on every book makes learning a ridiculously hard chore, instead of a hearts desire.

 

So, this year...I found text books or encyclopedia type books for study....and handed off reader after reader ( no work required, just enjoyment. If they hated the book, I let them complain to their hearts delight. They almost liked those books better!:D)

 

The programs that are out there, especially ones written by homeschooling Moms, are written for THEIR kids and THEIR families! THEIR family and THEIR kids are not MY kids or MY family!!

It is harder to put it all together yourself. I try to think now in terms of " courses" instead of themes. It is not difficult to put together a course if you are not trying to integrate everything. I just try not to incorporate to much redundancy. We will naturally have copy work in our Science texts because we HAVE to copy definitions. We will naturally have summaries or outlining in our History studies because we need a way to summarize what we read that day.

 

I do try to incorporate our skill subjects into our content subjects....but I am not all weird about it anymore. I don't scour our readers for vocabulary words or appropriate spelling and dictation passages.....I just use programs for those subjects:D. If I have a brainstorm and find the perfect passage.....then I ditch the books for that week and use my brainstorm....lol.

 

I try to use very streamlined programs for skill areas, so we can use our bulk of time USING our skills in content areas.

 

Anyway, I feel your frustration. At least it didn't take you 15 years to figure it out!

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I am struggling with the exact same issue this year. The problem is that I already purchased MFW ECC for next year, so I feel obligated to use it! That being said, we are not using any of their language arts or math. I am using it basically for science, geography (and history later- if we stick with it), Bible, art, and music. I hope it works because right now our concentration is on the 3Rs and the rest is just as added bonus!

I have a love/hate relationship with boxed curriculum. We have used HOD and Sonlight, and I love that things are planned out, but I also hate it. If we get ahead or behind in something I feel like it throws the whole schedule off! Plus, I have my bachelor's in education- why am I paying someone to put curriculum together for me when I am completely capable! Oh well, maybe after next year I will feel confident enough to pull it all together:)

I think I need my own copy of WTM instead of continuing to borrow it from the library!

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You piece it together.

 

 

Start planning with the 3R's. Pick a program for each subject individually. (maybe different programs for different dc too) Place them at the level needed and work at their pace. They still may not love school, but that's tough.:tongue_smilie:

 

 

I like combining dc in history and science, both for time-saving and for the family time. As your older ones are able, you can assign reading/writing across the curriculum (eg writing down their narrations, extra reading). Otherwise, I wouldn't stress integrating. Charlotte Mason actually has some interesting thoughts on that. Essentially, integrating too much means that the teacher is doing all of the mental work that the student should be doing. Let the student make those associations. Don't line everything up so perfectly that the child doesn't even get to think about it. (This is my rationalization for my lack of organization anyways...:tongue_smilie:)

 

 

 

For the "I hate school" kiddos, it's even more important to separate the 3R's from the content areas. They may hate writing, but love history if not tied to the excruciating copywork. They may love all things science, but hate the subject in school b/c it's already chewed up, digested and organized for them. (Some kids get a real thrill out of the discovery and organization of info.) Give them real books, real experiments...no strings attached. Read to them, scribe for them, follow some of their rabbit trails. (And, feel confident doing this b/c the 3R's are covered separately. ;))

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree::iagree::iagree:

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Yes, Have encountered that problem with dd and spent $$$ on curriculum to try and meet her needs. I finally realized it was impossible with full curriculum. Now I will use the curriculum as a base line or jumping off point for the week. I then add in more readings and writing and drawing. We discuss more and take rabbit trails, add in hands on, and have fun with the subject.

Ex: We are using MFW Adventures. This week we learned about Daniel Boone (They had 2 days spent on it) and a few states. We spent all week reading a biography on Daniel Boone and she drew a picture of him making the Wilderness Trail. She then dictated a paragraph about him and typed it up. We traced the trail on a map making note of the geographical features he encountered. Indian tribes of the area were looked up and a notebook page was made listing the different tribes and something about them. tracking was discussed and animal prints looked at. As a family we went hiking and tried to track each other through the woods.

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I lean towards a strong history component and liked "boxed" ones for this. History wasn't my favorite subject growing up, but I am enjoying it so much more with my kids. We will be using MFW ECC this year for my two boys. But, I don't follow their suggestions for language arts, math, or spelling. I do what I know has worked for my kids.

 

When I accepted that a box wasn't perfect, but could be used mainly for history, science, bible....it took pressure off of me to try to make it all work. It is probably more expensive this way, but right now in our stage of life, that is worth it to me. And DH agrees! :)

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Have you considered scrapping the boxed curriculum and making your own?

 

I am seriously considering it and nervous about creating holes in their education. I also realize though that it may be the only way to go. They end up figuring out too much on their own to make a boxed curriculum really work for us.

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(Some kids get a real thrill out of the discovery and organization of info.) Give them real books, real experiments...no strings attached. Read to them, scribe for them, follow some of their rabbit trails. (And, feel confident doing this b/c the 3R's are covered separately. ;))

 

Ahh.... This made me think of my second son. He loves nothing more than coming up with his own science experiments daily. His favorite DVDs are Sonlights math and science guys (sons). Light bulb! :D God Bless you for the confidence builder.

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I totally agree with you Gratitude! I am so attracted to Sonlight and I hear rave reviews from my friends using MFW or HOD and I think, "Why oh why can't they work for me too!" But taking just LA for example, my dd8 is on grade level with writing, a grade ahead for grammar, way ahead in spelling, and way, way above grade level in reading. Sadly, Sonlight will not fill that need.

 

What we need to do is come up with a system and templates for taking the curriculums they are doing and scheduling them out Sonlight style. Not integrating everything perhaps but closer than just totally separate books. If you find anything like that..(or invent it:) be sure to let us know! I'll be first in line to buy the e-book:D

:iagree::001_smile:

 

You ds8 sounds exactly like mine. Mine is about on grade level for writing (although moving quickly forward this year), ahead in math, ahead in spelling, a little ahead in grammar, and light years ahead in reading and content understanding and science and history and geography.

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I haven't read all of the pages, but have you tried WTM and SOTW? They provide a framework so there are no "gaps" :0, and SOTW gives lots of ideas for tieing everything together. Sometimes science is only loosely tied, but if you follow the rotation everything gets covered, and if you use SOTW, there are lots of opportunities to tie it in at your discretion.

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Is there something that makes you want to use all one curriculum instead of branching out into a more eclectic style?

 

It is where I started and so I have a comfort level with that TM motivating me every morning. ;) I am concerned I will create holes in their education. Over all I know though at some level that it would be a lot more fun and we would enjoy home schooling much more, like we did before my oldest reached Kindergarten (I did eclectic for pre-school). To think of going without is a bit like deciding to home school in the first place... Can I do it? :)

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I've decided to just piece it together via WTM. WTM really does give good guidelines. It does require more thought and involvement in the planning process, but it doesn't feel like I'm totally re-inventing the wheel.

 

This is a really good idea. I have their 2004 book and was starting to look at it for LA for 3rd grade; I loved their standards.

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Yes-I've discovered that I have to take each subject area, and even each sub-skill within a subject-area separately, and work from that. I love SL as a book list, but this year for Core 6 I didn't even bother to TRY to find the IG, because I've always ended up giving up on it within a week and simply handing DD a big stack of books to read on her own, while doing the history spine with her. I've decided this year to just start there!

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Putting your own year together is not that hard. I just made a list of subjects to cover: grammar, reading, spelling, cursive, math, literature, history, science, Latin, Bible, memory work. Then I found what I wanted for each subject. Some things I went with a full program: math, grammar, history, etc. For literature, we read what I jave at home and what is in the "What your......needs to Know" books. Same for reading, we do what ever interests my son.

 

After you have a subject list, make a criteria list for each subject: length of time each lrsson will take, teach intensive or more independent, religious or secular, colorful or plain, etc. Use that to narrow down your choices.

 

Start with a list and then start hand picking programs. Since I knew what I wanted, I could look for all the pieces used and only bought new at the end, when I did not find what I wanted.

 

Once you pick a program, give a placement test or look at the TOC to see where to place each child.

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I agree with pps. I haven't ever used a "boxed" curriculum. I couldn't see marrying myself to one publisher/method. It's actually pretty easy to cover every subject with different publishers and programs and even different teaching methods.

 

There's a ton of free resources on the web. You could take different parts of the "boxed" that you like and skip the rest. Looking through the resources recommended in homeschooling books like WTM and others is a good place to start.

 

Also thinking about what it is you want for your kid's education, having a personal mission statement or educational philosophy helps narrow down the options.

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:bigear: to this timely thread. I've wanted to step out of the box for a year but haven't done so. I keep back pedaling with the boxed curriculum.... but can't bring myself to use it. So many inspiring posts here ladies. Thanks!

:seeya: Hi Katarina! I have wanted to step out since December, but have felt a lack of confidence in doing so. Aren't these ladies suggestions wonderful?! :)

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It is where I started and so I have a comfort level with that TM motivating me every morning. ;) I am concerned I will create holes in their education. Over all I know though at some level that it would be a lot more fun and we would enjoy home schooling much more, like we did before my oldest reached Kindergarten (I did eclectic for pre-school). To think of going without is a bit like deciding to home school in the first place... Can I do it? :)

 

The real truth is this: Every curriculum has gaps. Boxed ones do. Eclectic ones do. Your education probably has gaps (which is why you learn things along with your kids). They'll continue learning new things too. Don't let fear make this decision for you.

 

Most individual pieces come with some kind of plan or are easy to make up a plan for though. Think through what it is about the TM that motivates and helps you.

 

For example: After using SL for awhile, I discovered that what I appreciated was not so much a daily schedule, but knowing what order to do things. (Now, I do also appreciate that they have decided about how long some things will take, even though that doesn't always work perfectly for us). In the front of the SL guide, they have a one-page listing of the history, readers, and read-alouds in order, with what week number to use them. I love that!

 

So, when I go eclectic for those subjects (maybe choosing some SL books and some others, or SL books from more than one year), I take a few days in the summer to sit down and decide what order the books go in, and approximately how long I think it will take my kids to read them. I also list out some "optional readers" in case they read faster than I thought they would, and I decide which books I might drop if they read more slowly. Voila, I have the type of plan that helps me feel confident each morning, it's not boxed, and I have tweakability.

 

With a Sonlight schedule it's even easier to take that 1-page schedule, decide what might be optional or make trips to the library for extra books if they get ahead (or do what I've done for years--allow a core to stretch out over more than a year if we want to go on rabbit trails, or add in favorite books from my childhood or sequels etc... if we want more read-alouds).

 

Math--Math is easy to come up with a schedule for. Divide the pages by the year or the lessons by the year. Some LA programs you can do that way, others you can just do the next thing. I used Easy Grammar and Story Starters (Karen Andreola) this way. I didn't schedule them all out, we just kept doing the next page in EG alternated with the next story in SS, and I let them take more than a year. My daughter enjoyed it, the pace was good for her--not a big issue.

 

I keep a binder and have a tab for each subject, and I have my "plan" for that subject in there. It's not a daily plan, it's just a "how we'll approach the year" type of plan. Then on a daily basis, I do keep track on a schedule/journal what we've done for each subject, which helps me see how realistic my plans were and helps me tweak the next year.

 

If you don't finish something...you can start it the next year, or catch it next time around. My son didn't get a research report written last year, so I'll make sure to do one this year. It's been awhile since we did a punctuation/capitalization refresher, I can focus on that this year.

 

LA is a big topic, and you don't have to do everything every year. Look at your children's skills year by year and decide what to focus on. Maybe one year writing, the next grammar and skills, but spelling yearly etc...

 

If you think through your plan (such as your 4-year history plan ala WTM, or some other variation you like--I like Sonlight which isn't an exact rotation, that's ok with me), you won't have big gaps. Think longer term when you want to cover things.

 

You said that your son likes to do science experiments--get him materials, books to inspire or dvd's (if you have the funds, Supercharged Science is a wonderful resource--maybe for now, maybe when he's a bit older)--and then let him go at it. Schedule science into your day or week, however you want to do it, but you don't have to have a daily plan for that. Let him call it. My daughter has really enjoyed the freedom to pursue science in this way.

 

Yes, you can do it :).

 

Merry :-)

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Thank you ladies for the confidence boost and ALL of the great suggestions!

 

Today is our home school convention and I think I am going to go put some of these suggestions into practice as I do some research for next fall.

Edited by gratitude
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De-integrate them :).

 

I use Sonlight but I don't use their LA. As much as that idea appealed to me, there's no way to do it and meet my kids' needs also. Life is much simpler and happier with using a separate LA that meets their learning style & abilities. But we really enjoy the SL "Core" of history, lit, and readers (especially the latter two), so we use what we like from them and go to other curricula for our other choices. I really don't think it detracts from our SL experience at all to not use their LA. (And until this year, the younger levels didn't include LA--you purchased it separately. I would just ignore it in their younger guides if you like their other materials, or do the same in any other curriculum that you like.)

 

Separate out the areas that work for you and don't work for you, and meet their needs in each area. Once you start looking at individual pieces, you'll be able to find things that more closely match your needs and that need less tweaking. I find some tweaking/personalizing is almost always needed, that's part of why we homeschool as well! But if you are having to do a lot, then it doesn't sound like curricula is really working *for* you.

 

Is there something that makes you want to use all one curriculum instead of branching out into a more eclectic style?

 

This is exactly what we do. My boys are all over the place as far as leveled curriculum. We love SL cores (history, geography, lit, readers, and Bible) and piece together the rest. I really don't tweak anything, we just finish things like readers and math programs faster; writing programs go slower. Having a spreadsheet with curriculum separated by subject helps me stay organized.

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I don't think this will work for every integrated program. For example, I'd love to use AWOA next year, but am not willing to drop the LA I use with my kids and don't want to double up, so I don't see how I could make this program work for us.

 

Lisa

 

Lisa,

 

I just wanted to tell you dropping LA from AWOA will not affect the program. We just finished ANWOA. The first 1/2 we did it all. The second 1/2 we only did Bible, literature & History. We loved it. I will be doing the same with WOW this year. The LA/Spelling/Writing was not working for us so we do other things that suit him better. This was, by far, out best year.

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De-integrate them :).

 

I use Sonlight but I don't use their LA. As much as that idea appealed to me, there's no way to do it and meet my kids' needs also. Life is much simpler and happier with using a separate LA that meets their learning style & abilities. But we really enjoy the SL "Core" of history, lit, and readers (especially the latter two), so we use what we like from them and go to other curricula for our other choices. I really don't think it detracts from our SL experience at all to not use their LA. (And until this year, the younger levels didn't include LA--you purchased it separately. I would just ignore it in their younger guides if you like their other materials, or do the same in any other curriculum that you like.)

 

Separate out the areas that work for you and don't work for you, and meet their needs in each area. Once you start looking at individual pieces, you'll be able to find things that more closely match your needs and that need less tweaking. I find some tweaking/personalizing is almost always needed, that's part of why we homeschool as well! But if you are having to do a lot, then it doesn't sound like curricula is really working *for* you.

 

:iagree: This is exactly what I have done all along. We love SL!

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You know it's funny, I never thought of a box curriculum failing me (ok, the only one I have used is HOD for 4 years) even though I had to tweak and not use all the components. I guess I naturally paln that not everything in it is going to work. I used it mostly for Bible, Poetry, History and sometimes science when I liked the choices. It reminded me that we needed to cover the other subjects, so I would not pay attention to what was in the box just the box itself. Seeing how Carrie scheduled things in the guide also taught me (like WTM did for History and science) that it is okay to split up language arts so I didn't have to do spellihg or handwriting every day, I could alternate days I do those. THe subjects I ended up scheduling on my own, I do similarly to Merry where I divide the book up according to the amount of days that we will be using it to give me an idea where I should be.Usually then we do the next thing. I have a son who is really good in math and doesn't need much guidance from me. XI use Singapore for him and always make sure I get 3 workbooks for the year for him. He usually does an exercise a day. If he is done with his independent work and I am not ready to help him with the next subkect, I tell him to do the next exercise. Sometimes he goes ahead qnd does two or three anyway. I might have him write the date on top of the pages so later I can log what he has done I did this more when we lived in PA and had to have evaluations.

 

This coming year I am not using a boxed curriculum for any of my childrenand I am confident in my eclectic selectiins and how to organize them. I use a main quarterly schedule (showing 9 weeks w/ all subkect and basic assigned pages) for each child (and since I color code it too is color coded). I then have a schedule for each subject broken down weekly, that way if we get off course (which usually happens) I have guide of what the next thing is without the stress of figuering out which week/quarter it is in. If that changes I dont go back and reschedule but rather write down what we actually did. It usually works out in the end and like Merry if we don't finish a book we either continue the next year or wait until it comes around again.

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There's a lot of knowledge on this board, so hopefully you'll get some good ideas. What's wored for us is scrapping a boxed curriculum and just using what works fir each subject. For basic skills, we follow a curriculum. (grammar, phonics, math) but even in following a curriculum, you need to learn to be flexible and skip things. Not every problem in every lesson needs to be done. (this has meant doing half the problems, or none of thE problems. Or with one child, sometimes taking a few days on one lesson) for science and history, I've stocked the house with books and fun science kits and basically unschooled. (we're getting more structured with this for the upper grades) you always have that nagging feeling that this isn't such a great idea. But ds just took the Stanford test and scored really well in spite of (because or?) letting him have free reign. So I'm beginning to relax a little and trust myself more.

 

You know your kid better than a curriculum. Try to find the best fit, but then use the curriculum as you see fit. It is your servant, not your master.

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There's a lot of knowledge on this board, so hopefully you'll get some good ideas. What's wored for us is scrapping a boxed curriculum and just using what works fir each subject. For basic skills, we follow a curriculum. (grammar, phonics, math) but even in following a curriculum, you need to learn to be flexible and skip things. Not every problem in every lesson needs to be done. (this has meant doing half the problems, or none of thE problems. Or with one child, sometimes taking a few days on one lesson) for science and history, I've stocked the house with books and fun science kits and basically unschooled. (we're getting more structured with this for the upper grades) you always have that nagging feeling that this isn't such a great idea. But ds just took the Stanford test and scored really well in spite of (because or?) letting him have free reign. So I'm beginning to relax a little and trust myself more.

 

You know your kid better than a curriculum. Try to find the best fit, but then use the curriculum as you see fit. It is your servant, not your master.

 

:iagree: I've basically unschooled history and science as well. I don't even use SOTW as rigorously or as structured as it calls for. And so far, so good.

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Here's a post I wrote about the same thing! :001_smile:

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=395701

 

Keri,

 

We are considering something similar to what you are doing although I think my ideas for this year look a little like LCC 1st edition with an American studies thread, a Christian studies thread, and a history overview/geography thread (rather than Classical studies). My oldest is in 4th and I'd like a fun, varied, yet strong year before hitting middle school. I have a plan coming together.... :001_smile::tongue_smilie:

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I use only the SL core, I don't use the LA. This way I'm able to put each child at their individual level for skill subjects. I've found the core very easy to tweak, adding content for my voracious reader and slowing some aspects down for my reluctant reader. I still consider having the framework of SL to be worth the expense for me, some of my kids read so much and so quickly that I wouldn't have time to preread all of those books myself and I trust SL's selections.

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