Jump to content

Menu

Second Guessing- help


Guest zenmom
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest zenmom

I don't know if I have hit burn out after all these years, or what exactly my deal is. I have been teaching our girls since preschool. They have never stepped inside a school.... ever. The older two will be entering into 8th grade and 6th grade. Baby Grayce starts kindergarten this year. Up until a year or two ago, I was always confident with our choices on curriculum. That was until we met a bunch of "young" homeschool moms that LOVE boxed curricula. I find myself questioned by them frequently- "what about gaps?" or "how do you know your kids could keep up with public schoolers?"

Our whole intent in homeschool has always been to teach the children not only how to learn and learn well, but to think for themselves.

Up through this year we have used- SOTW  when they were younger, history we love all things Notgrass Press now, Saxon math, Rod and Staff English (new this year), and Apologia Science. Only math and English have ever changed. We started with BJU English.

 

I am getting ready to go to the homeschool conference next month and I am really feeling the pressure. I can continue on the path/timeline we are on OR say screw it and order the complete package through R&S, Abeka or BJU.

 

Has anyone gone through this? I don't know what I need at this point or why I am second guessing all the sudden. Thoughts of high school have me feeling my choices are a bit more urgent?

 

I appreciate any thoughts, opinions, advice, similar experiences. Like I said, I don't know what I need, but I am feeling overwhelmed and full of frustration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

EVERY curriculum has gaps. And who cares about "keeping up" with the public schools. What you are doing for your kids is so much better than what the public schools have to offer.

 

Do what's right for your family. You're the pro here, remember? ;)

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Step away from the box. :)

 

You are educating little humans with their own strengths and weaknesses. You are NOT educating a curriculum. If your kids are doing well with the path you are on, why change that for the sake of a novelty?

 

If you have specific concerns related to high school preparedness, re-read WTM or check in on the high school board.

 

If you are struggling because of those meddling questions, just tell them "it works for us". Period. End of discussion. It doesn't even have to make sense as an answer to their actual question but put the kibosh on discussions that destroy your confidence. You don't need that. You know what you are doing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, it's easy to question yourself when others are doing something different. But, at the end of the day, there is more than one way to do school, and if yours is working for you, that's fabulous. Embrace it. WRT gaps, everyone's education has gaps. Not since Milton could anyone read and know everything written (and I'm not sure he ready everything in Latin, Greek and Hebrew). So, we all have to pick and choose. If your location publishes curriculum outcomes (or whatever the buzzword is for stuff kids learn) look and see what you have done relative to the schools. I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised looking over all the years. And then, deep breathe, and check what your priorities are, and if what you have is doing the job, enjoy, and keep going. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never used a box. I have zero desire to even look in a box, let alone jump in one. ;)

 

Do my kids have gaps? Yep. They absolutely do. So does every human being out there. It is impossible to know everything about history, current world events, all literature, every field of science and technology, etc.

 

As long as my kids have a mastery of math, have well-rounded exposure to science, history and lit, are solid writers, are critical thinkers, know how to research info and find answers to their questions......I define that as educational success. Fwiw, my kids have never had a problem transitioning to college level courses. They actually tend to be more successful than their ps peers. Why? I think it is bc they are used to relying on themselves for researching answers and completing work vs. being spoon-fed and micro-managed.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if I have hit burn out after all these years, or what exactly my deal is. I have been teaching our girls since preschool. They have never stepped inside a school.... ever. The older two will be entering into 8th grade and 6th grade. Baby Grayce starts kindergarten this year. Up until a year or two ago, I was always confident with our choices on curriculum. That was until we met a bunch of "young" homeschool moms that LOVE boxed curricula. I find myself questioned by them frequently- "what about gaps?" or "how do you know your kids could keep up with public schoolers?"

Our whole intent in homeschool has always been to teach the children not only how to learn and learn well, but to think for themselves.

 

Up through this year we have used- SOTW  when they were younger, history we love all things Notgrass Press now, Saxon math, Rod and Staff English (new this year), and Apologia Science. Only math and English have ever changed. We started with BJU English.

 

I am getting ready to go to the homeschool conference next month and I am really feeling the pressure. I can continue on the path/timeline we are on OR say screw it and order the complete package through R&S, Abeka or BJU.

 

Has anyone gone through this? I don't know what I need at this point or why I am second guessing all the sudden. Thoughts of high school have me feeling my choices are a bit more urgent?

 

I appreciate any thoughts, opinions, advice, similar experiences. Like I said, I don't know what I need, but I am feeling overwhelmed and full of frustration.

 

I never used a school-in-a-box (people define "box curriculum" differently, and it's a term that is very new among hsers. Anyway.).

 

Every child whose parents were in the military and who moved multiple times in his childhood experienced "gaps" and lived to tell about it.

 

Don't let people question you about it. You have been hsing longer than your inquisitors. Look at them blankly and say,  "Oh, gosh, I could never put my children in a box. They are so unique." Or "Gosh, I teach them at home because I want them to learn as much as they are able, not emulate a classroom where every child learns the same thing at the same time for 12 years."

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

People were using "boxed curriculum" to describe Seton and Calvert back in the early 90s.

 

No one I knew used either Seton or Calvert. :-)

 

We talked about "school in a box;" we just never said "boxed curriculum." And we specifically meant "a box of books just like school from a single publisher like ABeka or CLASS," never anything that was written by and for homeschoolers, such as KONOS or Beautiful Feet Books. Or single-subject things like Easy Grammar (yes, I have seen Easy Grammar referred to as "boxed").

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My take on this is that their questions are not really for you. Their questions are for themselves, but they are reflecting their own feelings by directing them toward you. They may be overwhelmed with a sea of choices (so many more now than even when I began, and my oldest is in 6th grade this year). They are new and young, as you say, and may be intimidated by the path they've laid for themselves. So they take what they see as a safe path (and in fact it may be a great path for them!), and they question what they view as less protective.

 

Really, I would be very surprised if these people have even attempted to move discussion with you past the superficial initial idea of not using a box curriculum. Do they know the details of what you've done? My guess is that they are not questioning the details, intrigued by your process and tools and experience, as people would if they were truly interested in investigating or even just understanding the possibilities. Instead, if they are like the beginners I have known, they are questioning the very idea of getting creative with school. Many people who are just putting a toe in simply want easy agreement and all the support and like-minded friends they can get. They don't want their decisions challenged. If you feel uneasy having your success of the past (9?!) years challenged, imagine how much more scary it would be to have the decisions of your first year challenged. LOL You should feel like the unshakeable expert now. :D

 

In the past, when I have talked to all but one (1!) real-life friend or acquaintance about how I homeschool, I have been met with doe eyes and a shaking head. For many people, the idea of stepping out of the box by homeschooling at all is intimidation enough. They don't need the extra scariness that comes with stepping out of the curriculum box as well. LOL

 

Do not let their insecurities affect you. Really. You are the experienced one here, the one with perspective. They are feeling about the elementary years what you are now feeling about the high school years. The difference is that you know what you did worked fine, so you can breathe deeply and trust that what you plan to do will also be fine.

 

(To be clear, I absolutely do not think my experience here applies to everyone who uses a box curriculum. So if you use a box curriculum, and it doesn't apply to you, then it's not necessary to reply to say that this isn't your experience and doesn't apply to you. LOL)

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if I have hit burn out after all these years, or what exactly my deal is. I have been teaching our girls since preschool. They have never stepped inside a school.... ever. The older two will be entering into 8th grade and 6th grade. Baby Grayce starts kindergarten this year. Up until a year or two ago, I was always confident with our choices on curriculum. That was until we met a bunch of "young" homeschool moms that LOVE boxed curricula. I find myself questioned by them frequently- "what about gaps?" or "how do you know your kids could keep up with public schoolers?"

Our whole intent in homeschool has always been to teach the children not only how to learn and learn well, but to think for themselves.

Up through this year we have used- SOTW  when they were younger, history we love all things Notgrass Press now, Saxon math, Rod and Staff English (new this year), and Apologia Science. Only math and English have ever changed. We started with BJU English.

 

I am getting ready to go to the homeschool conference next month and I am really feeling the pressure. I can continue on the path/timeline we are on OR say screw it and order the complete package through R&S, Abeka or BJU.

 

Has anyone gone through this? I don't know what I need at this point or why I am second guessing all the sudden. Thoughts of high school have me feeling my choices are a bit more urgent?

 

I appreciate any thoughts, opinions, advice, similar experiences. Like I said, I don't know what I need, but I am feeling overwhelmed and full of frustration.

 

I moderate an email homeschool group and recently have had quite a few families coming out of the public school system. One works for the district (same district I worked in) and she told me about her fear of not teaching her kids everything they need to know.

 

I reassured her by telling her she can't (ie, there will be gaps); even the schools don't teach everything students need to know. That's why we teach our kids how to learn, after all, learning doesn't stop because they graduate. Some odd way, that provided her some reassurance and confidence to pull her 6-10 year olds for next year.

 

Another thing I like to say, which probably got me in trouble with my last school, is "We teach children, not curriculum." It's not about what we use, it's about our children. You are teaching to the needs of your children, which is what you are supposed to do.

 

Any time a new homeschooler asks me what curriculum they should use, I always ask first for them to tell me about their children, their goals, their vision. One size fits all is an institutional mindset.

 

I'm not an institution. I'm a facilitator. (I saw myself as a facilitator even in the classroom.) We facilitate learning based on the needs and interests of our students, and determine curriculum from there - whether it is "school in a box" or eclectic. And, it's ok. You're ok. You'll do fine. And your kids will be okay.  :thumbup:

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those moms may be looking to you for guidance, not to make you questions your choices. I know when I first started, it was overwhelming. I wanted a box. To have everything laid out for me would have been amazing ( I thought at the time). They may want to step away from the box, but are unsure if they can. Your answers and reassurance may be what they need. 

 

I asked those questions from other experienced homeschoolers to help figure out how I should homeschool. The things I wanted to use didn't come in a box. Could it really work? Would I be short changing my children by not using a box?

 I even asked about socialization :insert dodging flying tomatoes icon here: .  Some of us started off brainwashed into thinking the government way to school was the only way  :001_rolleyes:

 

However, if they seem judgmental about it, that's a different story. If they are young and think their way is better, not just different... :rofl:

 

You have a plan and a vision for your children. Don't let others discourage you.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest zenmom

Ladies thank you all. In Minnesota, the homeschool community was fairly small, and in Missouri it is huge. We moved here 4 years ago, and most people prefer Abeka or Sonlight so I am like the "oddball." We get a lot of negativity doing things on our own path. I appreciate all the encouragement. Now, if only I could figure out what the heck we are doing with history this year.

 

We recently moved to a small town and do not have cable or internet unless my husband is home and has the "hotspot" on, so I have to keep my responces short. Never know when cellular data will cut out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those moms may be looking to you for guidance, not to make you questions your choices. I know when I first started, it was overwhelming. I wanted a box. To have everything laid out for me would have been amazing ( I thought at the time). They may want to step away from the box, but are unsure if they can. Your answers and reassurance may be what they need. 

 

I asked those questions from other experienced homeschoolers to help figure out how I should homeschool. The things I wanted to use didn't come in a box. Could it really work? Would I be short changing my children by not using a box?

 I even asked about socialization :insert dodging flying tomatoes icon here: .  Some of us started off brainwashed into thinking the government way to school was the only way  :001_rolleyes:

 

However, if they seem judgmental about it, that's a different story. If they are young and think their way is better, not just different... :rofl:

 

You have a plan and a vision for your children. Don't let others discourage you.

I agree with everything, especially the bold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest zenmom

Those moms may be looking to you for guidance, not to make you questions your choices. I know when I first started, it was overwhelming. I wanted a box. To have everything laid out for me would have been amazing ( I thought at the time). They may want to step away from the box, but are unsure if they can. Your answers and reassurance may be what they need. 

 

I asked those questions from other experienced homeschoolers to help figure out how I should homeschool. The things I wanted to use didn't come in a box. Could it really work? Would I be short changing my children by not using a box?

 I even asked about socialization :insert dodging flying tomatoes icon here: .  Some of us started off brainwashed into thinking the government way to school was the only way  :001_rolleyes:

 

However, if they seem judgmental about it, that's a different story. If they are young and think their way is better, not just different... :rofl:

 

You have a plan and a vision for your children. Don't let others discourage you.

 

I had thought about this, but I "think" if I follow my gut two things are going on. Abeka/ Sonlight seems to be the loved choice here in Missouri. Most of the moms have been homeschooling 2-4 years that are really pushing. Neither really fit the learning style of my girls. Mine prefer the middle ground  on textbooks vs. Charlotte Mason with some hands on projects. I think the other end of the issue is I haven't found anyone that has been homeschooling since the begining. Most have had their kids in public school at some point. One lady that really challenges me has a high school student, but is in her first year of homeschooling.

 

I think I need to do what you ladies suggested and nip the conversations. I don't mind helping others if I feel like they are really trying to figure things out for themselves, but it really feels like "I'm right, your wrong" kind of dialogues.

 

I have been diving back into my WTM and I am feeling a little more confident with the way I do things. I really appreciate the support. If it is okay, I think I may just hang around here more often,:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had thought about this, but I "think" if I follow my gut two things are going on. Abeka/ Sonlight seems to be the loved choice here in Missouri. Most of the moms have been homeschooling 2-4 years that are really pushing. Neither really fit the learning style of my girls. Mine prefer the middle ground  on textbooks vs. Charlotte Mason with some hands on projects. I think the other end of the issue is I haven't found anyone that has been homeschooling since the begining. Most have had their kids in public school at some point. One lady that really challenges me has a high school student, but is in her first year of homeschooling.

 

I think I need to do what you ladies suggested and nip the conversations. I don't mind helping others if I feel like they are really trying to figure things out for themselves, but it really feels like "I'm right, your wrong" kind of dialogues.

 

I have been diving back into my WTM and I am feeling a little more confident with the way I do things. I really appreciate the support. If it is okay, I think I may just hang around here more often, :)

 

Among Christian homeschoolers, ABeka is The Big One. I think people should use whatever works best for them, but honestly, many people, especially baby homeschoolers, use all ABeka [ WARNING: GENERALIZATION COMING] not because they researched the heck outof  stuff but because they withdrew their children from a school that used all ABeka and so it must be good (but if the school is so good, why did they withdraw their children???), or they have a friend who teaches (as in has only ever taught in schools that use ABeka and so has never seen anything else) in a school that uses ABeka and says it is The Best, or they have a friend who has an aunt who lives across the street from someone whose dc attended a school that uses all ABeka and so it must be good...

 

I was always the odd man out. I withdrew my dd from a school that used all ABeka, and I was convinced that she was burned out...by Easter vacation of first grade...and so there was no way I was going to buy a box of books and make her do Every Day Just Like School. In fact, it took me 18 months to undo what the school had done in less than a year. Most of the homeschoolers who came after me had never heard of John Holt (I had read all of his books in the two weeks between when my dd broke down over half a page of ABeka arithmetic homework and when I withdrew her at Easter), and in 1982 there weren't many choices other than Official Textbooks anyway, and so they bought their box of books.

 

You just dive back into your WTM. Have a good swim around, lie in the sun and bake in it, and learn to say, "Thanks for sharing that with me" in your best sweetness-and-light voice and move on.

 

:grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was homeschooled for nearly 8 years on a boxed curriculum (ABeka, for the record). I lived being homeschooled, but I hated the curriculum. I burnt out so badly that I refused to do any schoolwork and my mother, thinking me rebellious, put me in public school.

 

My childhood experience with that boxed curriculum informs my choices when educating my own children. I don't like boxes or boxed curriculum. My children don't fit in boxes. I tweak everything we use. My kids are very young, but I am very pleased with our path so far.

 

For what it's worth, most young homeschoolers I know use boxed curriculum, and they question my decisions liberally. I encourage people to remember that each home gets to find the method of homeschooling that is right for that home. :-) We like what we do. It works. We're happy.

 

ETA: I intended to write that I loved homeschooling, but I suppose saying I lived it works too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...