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Anyone out there who doesn’t or minimally curriculum hops?


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How long did it take to find your trusty standbys?  I am starting to believe that the best curriculum is the one I feel most comfortable modifying.  We are a mere 12 weeks in, and I’ve been clarifying needs, goals and expectations. I would really like to land on some standbys!  

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Trusty standbys as in "We will use this program each and every year for every child"? 

I guess Beast Academy was our trusty standby for math.  Once we found it, we used it almost exclusively until we completed the program.  I never really felt the need to deviate from it or modify it at all.  We are into AOPS now, and will likely continue with it for several years, (at least until kiddo surpasses my math skills, and then we'll need to talk about what the next step is).  

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Hmm, thinking on this more, I guess I don't feel like I curriculum "hop" very much how. We've stuck with BA, MCT, and SOTW.  We've settled into a happy place with Ellen McHenry for science and will use her units until they run out. I don't feel like I tweak those programs too much. There are parts that don't really click for us, (like the writing assignments in the early levels of MCT never clicked for us). We don't do most of the activities in SOTW; we just read the books and do the tests. 

I did curriculum hop when kiddo was in early elementary.  He was advanced in some subjects, which made it hard to find the right balance of content and age-appropriateness sometimes. Now that he's middle school aged, it's less of an issue. 

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I think it is somewhat kid dependent.  I have 3 kids who are pretty flexible learners who can thrive with whatever I put in front of them. If I just had those three, then I would be saying that within the first year I found most of my standbys and only rarely deviated from them year to year, child to child.

But my second son tends to throw a monkey wrench into the works. Unlike his siblings, he does not thrive with any curricula...like, literally, he has yet to peaceably tolerate anything I have used with him.

So, for us, I made a lot of changes during DS1's kindergarten year, then we settled into our groove and he used many of the same programs all the way through elementary. When DS2 hit kindergarten, we pretty much skipped it because he wasn't in a frame of mind to tolerate academics. In first grade it became abundantly clear that the curricula I had used with DS1 would not work with DS2, and since then we have been hopping and tweaking trying to find the least worse. But then when DS3 and DD hit kindergarten, they went right back to what DS1 had used, and I fully expect we will more or less stick to those things through their elementary as well.

I will say, I think my kids will use much more diverse curricula in middle and high school. I have very set goals about what I want my kids to learn in elementary, and I have found curricula that I think teach those things well (and that I enjoy teaching and feel comfortable tweaking as necessary). But I hope that my students' interests will come to the fore more as they get older and that I can guide them to pursuing studies that interest them.  

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I don't curriculum hop, but it is easy not to curriculum hop when you are educating via whole books and planning them yourself vs. using prepackaged curriculum.  🙂  I have used Horizons, Foersters, and Chalkdust's geo for all of my (or all but my oldest for geo) kids.

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This is our 8th year. I started when my kids were in 8th, 6th, 4th, K, toddler, and not even a twinkle in DH's eye 🤣 and so in those 8 years I have taught all the grades at least twice. This year I am finally changing fewer things. I expect to hop around a little bit every year from here on out due to individualization for each kid, but now after lots of trial and error I mostly know what I like to teach from and what will best help me accomplish my goals, as well as the experience/confidence to tweak as needed. My worst nemesis has been elementary science, and I've hopped around with that more times than I'd like to admit,  but this year I decided to create my own curriculum plan from the bits and pieces of other programs that I've used and liked while ditching the parts I haven't liked and so far it's going well.

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7 hours ago, JoyKM said:

I am starting to believe that the best curriculum is the one I feel most comfortable modifying. 

I think there's a lot of truth to this. 

Each of my kids uses the same programs, but it doesn't necessarily look the same.  For my most boredom-prone kid, I put effort into finding ways to change up the format or make it seem fresh.  For my most mathy kid, I give more extension work.  The most social kid gets outside activities that the most introverted kid isn't part of, and the arty kid gets opportunities to draw/model/sculpt/design instead of writing a summary some of the time. 

The curriculum is one part of the equation, but you as a teacher are the other part, and you can give yourself freedom to view packaged products as tools that you use as you see fit.

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I don't curriculum hop

.

 I make a plan towards the end of the year, buy in the stuff I need and stick with it. I sometimes have to rotate a little as both my twins have intellectual disabilities and they progress at a slower rate than curriculum moves

 Example We do All About Reading then some Fitzroy readers and I see Sam books  then back to All about reading. as All about reading moves too fast for them. But this is part of my plan for the year.

 Mind you I have been homeschooling for 17 years now.

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I don't think I curriculum hop? I have changed from one to another a couple of times, but I tend to like the progressions I've taken and so I've done the same or a similar path with all three kids. There has only been one time when I switched without finishing out a level in a program, and boy did I resist that change (but it was a really, really good change to make). 

I am not sure if there is any curriculum I've used exactly the way the publisher intended. I am very comfortable adapting things to make them work for my family. 

It is possible that I will need to do some things differently with DS from how I did/am doing them with his sisters. All three of my kids are different from each other as learners, but it may be that DS's differences will be better served with other resources. So far, he's doing fine with more or less the same progression as I used with them, but it could change.

I admit that I am slightly jealous of curriculum hoppers when it comes to familiarity with a wider variety of programs. I find what works and I stick with it until it doesn't work, and that's great, but there's part of me that wonders what it would be like to use Curriculum X that I'd considered but ultimately opted not to get. And I feel less able to offer recommendations to people because the resources I've actually used are pretty limited in number.

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14 hours ago, wendyroo said:

I think it is somewhat kid dependent.  I have 3 kids who are pretty flexible learners who can thrive with whatever I put in front of them. If I just had those three, then I would be saying that within the first year I found most of my standbys and only rarely deviated from them year to year, child to child.

But my second son tends to throw a monkey wrench into the works. Unlike his siblings, he does not thrive with any curricula...like, literally, he has yet to peaceably tolerate anything I have used with him.

So, for us, I made a lot of changes during DS1's kindergarten year, then we settled into our groove and he used many of the same programs all the way through elementary. When DS2 hit kindergarten, we pretty much skipped it because he wasn't in a frame of mind to tolerate academics. In first grade it became abundantly clear that the curricula I had used with DS1 would not work with DS2, and since then we have been hopping and tweaking trying to find the least worse. But then when DS3 and DD hit kindergarten, they went right back to what DS1 had used, and I fully expect we will more or less stick to those things through their elementary as well.

I will say, I think my kids will use much more diverse curricula in middle and high school. I have very set goals about what I want my kids to learn in elementary, and I have found curricula that I think teach those things well (and that I enjoy teaching and feel comfortable tweaking as necessary). But I hope that my students' interests will come to the fore more as they get older and that I can guide them to pursuing studies that interest them.  

For those of you who say you've found what works, I'd love to hear what those resources are.  

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4 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

For those of you who say you've found what works, I'd love to hear what those resources are.  

What works for us in elementary:

Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading + Explode the Code
Wise Owl Polysyllables

Math Mammoth + Star Wars math workbooks
Hands on Equations + Hands on Geometry
Zaccaro's Becoming a Problem Solving Genius + Real World Algebra (all as pre-algebra, then we move on to an algebra program)

Writing with Ease + Evan-Moor Text-Based Writing workbooks
Lantern English writing classes

Daily Grams

All About Spelling

Story of the World
Oxford University Press The World in Ancient Times + The Medieval & Early Modern World

Mr. Q science

MCT Poetry books

 

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2 hours ago, purpleowl said:

And I feel less able to offer recommendations to people because the resources I've actually used are pretty limited in number.

Hey, just try being me, who's used basically no curricula 😉 . I guess I've looked at the AoPS books through work, and I own Beast Academy. But I can't tell you what that would be like day in, day out. We've never done more than been vaguely inspired by curricula. 

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2 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

For those of you who say you've found what works, I'd love to hear what those resources are.  

Things that have worked consistently for several kids with different learning styles and my teaching style:

All About Reading/Spelling, IEW writing, Analytical Grammar, Math Mammoth, Story of the World, K12 Human Odyssey, History of US, Video Text, Apologia middle school and high school science (*not* their elementary science though), Great Courses Economics and misc world history

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4 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

Things that have worked consistently for several kids with different learning styles and my teaching style:

All About Reading/Spelling, IEW writing, Analytical Grammar, Math Mammoth, Story of the World, K12 Human Odyssey, History of US, Video Text, Apologia middle school and high school science (*not* their elementary science though), Great Courses Economics and misc world history

I had read so many good SOTW reviews, both from here and from friends IRL... and then we just didn’t like it 😞 . It made me feel a bit left out, lol!

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Things I finally settled on:

  • KONOS, the original volumes, until the dc are 12 or 13yo
  • Easy Grammar Plus, when the dc are 10ish
  • Spalding
  • Saxon math, beginning with Math 54

Things I learned about too late because we started hsing before they were written and my dc had aged out when I learned about them but I would make every effort to use if I were hsing again:

  • Writing Strands in its new home of My Father's World and renamed "Writing Skills for Today"
  • Rod and Staff's math series, which was rewritten after my dc were into higher maths; I used the first three levels in a small one-room school
  • Beautiful Feet Books; I also used this in the one-room school
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3 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

For those of you who say you've found what works, I'd love to hear what those resources are.  

Math: Beast Academy / Art of Problem Solving (we use books, not online)

Grammar: First Language Lessons / Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind

Writing: Writing & Rhetoric

History: Story of the World / K12 Human Odyssey (I do adapt the latter quite a bit)

Latin: Big Book of Lively Latin / Wheelock's Latin

 

Those are my favorite resources that have worked for us over multiple years (well, this is the first year I have anyone doing Wheelock's Latin, but I certainly plan to continue it with oldest and then use it again with siblings). For science I tend to pull together my own resources each year, so I don't have a recommendation there. 

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hey, just try being me, who's used basically no curricula 😉 . I guess I've looked at the AoPS books through work, and I own Beast Academy. But I can't tell you what that would be like day in, day out. We've never done more than been vaguely inspired by curricula. 

On these boards I generally don't offer opinions on things I haven't used. IRL, sometimes people will ask me for recommendations or for what I think about a particular program. I usually just parrot what people on these boards have said, lol. 

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1 minute ago, purpleowl said:

On these boards I generally don't offer opinions on things I haven't used. IRL, sometimes people will ask me for recommendations or for what I think about a particular program. I usually just parrot what people on these boards have said, lol. 

I've done that before, lol. But it's pretty different from having actually used a program! 

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I haven't curriculum hopped/changed much over the last 19 or so years. Things I've used from the start and never deviated from:

McGuffey's Primer reader/workbook + Phonics Pathways (my Primer has each child's name and the date they finished the book going back to my oldest sister in 1977!)
A Reason for Spelling
Evan-Moore Daily Language, etc. books


Saxon math grades 1 and 2
Singapore Math 3A-6B + Horizons for review/supplement

Teach Them Spanish K-5
Galore Park Spanish/French

Ellen McHenry science, art and English

Wes Olson's 101 science series (starting in upper elementary)

Beautiful Feet History/Science (love the Holling C Holling Geography series!)

Sid Fleischman books for history/geography/science "springboard" (huge, huge hit each year I do this)

I'm sure there are more but I'm ignoring my kids who are now playing hockey in the living room...that should end well, right??

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This is all great to hear!  Over (a hopefully short) time I’d like to settle on workable base programs so I’m not constantly shifting the kids to something new and shelling out the startup costs for new programs.  Thankfully I had selected and ordered some decent start up materials before things got on backorder. We’ve been able to start our year while I continue to learn more about subjects that intimidate me and solidify my vision for longer term.  Here is what we are doing and what I am wanting to move towards:

ELA: now—TGATB  moving forward: something with better spelling that covers a wide variety of ELA skills.  I’m reading reference materials now to form my own vision.  TGATB isn’t bad as a pick up and go thing, but I don’t feel like I’m learning how to teach ELA so much as checking boxes.  That’s fine for now but, for me, it limits my ability to modify a curriculum successfully. There are things they do in TGATB that I first thought were stupid but, upon more reading, now see as important skill builders.  Some may be tempted to omit the “stupid” but actually important activities just because they don’t understand them.  Just reflection.

Math:  now—Singapore Dimensions/MFTS moving forward: I want to keep this. This program is the one that taught me that an easy to modify program—whatever it is—would be the best choice. I haven’t had problems altering scope and sequence, supplementing, teaching it or using it for review.  Had a leg up choosing this, though, having taught math before.  Knew a little more what I want to look for.

Science/History:  now—SOTW (was waiting to do science until spring) moving forward: DIY unit studies (with SOTW on the side for fun). Unit studies bring the whimsy we need to have fun with learning. SOTW is great in many ways—it just doesn’t lend itself to unit studies being chronological. I miss monthly deep dives on whatever we want!  

Other subjects: now—Don’t always need a program, just use free printables or inexpensive resources to examine fun things. Moving forward—We need a Spanish program, music lessons, and I’d like to diy geography.  Other than that keep it whimsical. 

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1 hour ago, JoyKM said:

There are things they do in TGATB that I first thought were stupid but, upon more reading, now see as important skill builders.  Some may be tempted to omit the “stupid” but actually important activities just because they don’t understand them.  Just reflection.

I do think the best thing you can do is figure out what skills it is you're working on 🙂 . And I'd also be mindful of the fact that not all kids will need to work on the same "important skills." 

For instance, DD8 doesn't need a spelling program, because she'll be able to spell no matter WHAT I do. It saves us time and energy not to use a spelling program, since as far as I can tell, she doesn't need this skill. So, sometimes being aware of a skill also allows you to skip the work building that skill, if you know what I mean. 

So, I think you're absolutely right to think about this from the perspective of "I'm teaching myself how to teach." However, it might be even more effective to read about a more global overview, keeping in mind what you want the result to be.

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56 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

So, I think you're absolutely right to think about this from the perspective of "I'm teaching myself how to teach." However, it might be even more effective to read about a more global overview, keeping in mind what you want the result to be.

That’s what I’m thinking in terms of ELA. I have no background in teaching it though I was always a rather strong ELA student. “Skills” may be the wrong word for it—I have come across teaching techniques that are solid at building regular ELA skills that all children need, but I thought they were silly.  In reality, they are normal and effective teaching techniques (dictation, copywork, etc.).  It revealed just how little I know about teaching ELA skills. My current curriculum is designed so that parents don’t have to trouble themselves with the why which is fine for many families. For me, though, I need more info and the broader picture. It will patch us through while I read up. 

Spelling for my oldest is going to need specific effort. That’s why I need something that will address it. I have been worried about her spelling for a year and a half and, now that she’s in second grade, we need to hammer something down. I do agree that spelling is something that can be (gladly) dropped if you have a strong natural speller—make more room in the day for other things!  Maybe one of my other two will be that way, but at least one isn’t so here we are. 😅 Back to the “best for me” curriculum is the one I feel most comfortable modifying. A curriculum is a tool to wield—I am the one in control. That’s what I tell myself. 🛠

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Just now, JoyKM said:

That’s what I’m thinking in terms of ELA. I have no background in teaching it though I was always a rather strong ELA student. “Skills” may be the wrong word for it—I have come across teaching techniques that are solid at building regular ELA skills that all children need, but I thought they were silly.  In reality, they are normal and effective teaching techniques (dictation, copywork, etc.).  It revealed just how little I know about teaching ELA skills. My current curriculum is designed so that parents don’t have to trouble themselves with the why which is fine for many families. For me, though, I need more info and the broader picture. It will patch us through while I read up. 

I actually think that thinking of it in terms of skills is more helpful, at least for me. That's because it's enabled me to be MUCH more flexible. For instance, I have nothing against copywork and dictation, but DD8 loathes dictation and will only bother to do copywork if she's learning to specific handwriting skills. (So she's currently doing copywork to learn cursive, but she really didn't want to at other times.) So then I had to really think about what these techniques were trying to teach, and to decide whether this was worth insisting on. And I concluded that I have a child who's writing in sophisticated sentences and using interesting words, so the only skill I seem to be missing with our unconventional approach is writing quickly. And as I am not super worried about fast writing in grade 3, I feel pretty relaxed about skipping copywork and dictation. 

I'm not saying you'll have the exact same thought process, but for me, it has allowed me to individualize our program much more. Right now, all of DD8's writing is math proofs, cursive copywork, and writing random stuff in her spare time. But because I know what skills I'm tackling, I feel quite unstressed about the lack of a formal writing program! 

 

Just now, JoyKM said:

Spelling for my oldest is going to need specific effort. That’s why I need something that will address it. I have been worried about her spelling for a year and a half and, now that she’s in second grade, we need to hammer something down. I do agree that spelling is something that can be (gladly) dropped if you have a strong natural speller—make more room in the day for other things!  Maybe one of my other two will be that way, but at least one isn’t so here we are. 😅 Back to the “best for me” curriculum is the I enjoy I feel most comfortable modifying. A curriculum is a tool to wield—I am the one in control. That’s what I tell myself. 🛠

I absolutely agree with that! You're the the most important part of your homeschool. The curriculum helps you out, that's all. 

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13 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I actually think that thinking of it in terms of skills is more helpful, at least for me. That's because it's enabled me to be MUCH more flexible. For instance, I have nothing against copywork and dictation, but DD8 loathes dictation and will only bother to do copywork if she's learning to specific handwriting skills. (So she's currently doing copywork to learn cursive, but she really didn't want to at other times.) So then I had to really think about what these techniques were trying to teach, and to decide whether this was worth insisting on. 

That’s great!  Its good to be reflective and choose from a variety of teaching techniques to teach a skill. I wasn’t really in a place where I knew what teaching techniques are even normal or effective options for ELA, though my husband and I have discussed particular goals for our children in writing and grammar since they were babies. He feels that his grammar knowledge is lacking and wants our kids to be explicitly taught, and we both feel that being able to write well is extremely valuable. Teaching language arts is intimidating to me, but it has become clear that the only way through that is to learn what to do. I do want to land on a method, framework or program that I fully understand and appreciate so that modifying it for each of my kids is effective (my trusty standby). For now I’m thinking through about 5th grade before middle school comes along and needs change. 

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In my first homeschooling run (with my boys who are now 22 and 20) I was pretty loyal to MUS math, IEW writing, SOTW for history, and Sonlight read alouds. I was never fully content though so I added random stuff on. We also did a co-op which I used for science experiments and other enrichment. I was more of a curriculum adder than jumper. I loved it all and was convinced I could squeeze it all in. We tried a few different things for grammar but MUS, IEW, and SOTW were regular in the elementary days of our homeschool. 
 

When they were in high school I saw some weaknesses and holes and I became less satisfied (mostly with the math). In high school mine also took more de or co-op classes or online to fill out their academic courses. I became less sold on the what I had done in the elementary years.

Current high school senior was on the tail end of that. He got some of the old regulars but I started jumping around with things I saw recommended here. He did things differently than the first two and I tried more variety. I was also overwhelmed with my mother’s death and this particular kid had some behavior problems so it was rough for a few years. I’d be hard pressed to even remember what I did with him most subjects most years.

Then on to my baby. My 7th grade dd has been in a Memoria Press core box  since K. She now takes several MPOA classes. The only deviation from that has been that she had accelerated a grade or two ahead in some subjects and she is a year behind in Latin. This year she is taking a French class from another provider but other than that she has been in MP since K. I have never even looked around for other curriculum. She is an excellent student and loves school. 
 

So I could say that on the fourth kid I found something that worked and stuck with it. But I doubt my boys would have responded to MP and I know I couldn’t keep up with more than one full MP core. Definitely not four of them!
 

But all of the kids are more than OK even though I can be hyper critical and say I would do thinks differently. The oldest graduated college in the spring and has a good job. The 20 yo has had the hardest time academically but he is still in his final semester of college with decent grades and graduating young. Math has been a real stumbling block for him and been the biggest challenge in college. I have regrets BUT a high schooler also has to cooperate and be engaged and take some responsibility for his learning. He always made good grades in any outsourced math class so he kind of skated by when he could have learned things more deeply. 
 

Kid # 3 is my academic superstar. The one that had behavior issues and I can hardly remember what curriculum we used. 

Kid # 4 will probably have an outcome in the range of what her brothers have done. 
 

So even in my 18th year (I think) I still don’t have an answer for the one thing I would always stick with. I do think the most important thing is getting up every day and doing school consistently and establishing good habits and an environment in which education is valuable and fulfilling and requires hard work. Having a homeschool parent willing to be committed and involved and who is striving to do the best for the kids is the biggest factor, in my opinion. I always was that parent, even if my curriculum choices weren’t great or my role was finding the best online class and supporting it. I always prioritized education and I think that was the key here. 
 

 

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My kids are 6th and 9th grades, and we have a few things that we used for both kids for all or almost all of the years.  We used Singapore Math until we finished it at level 6 (the kids are doing different things for pre-A and beyond, although both kids seem to enjoy using Life of Fred as a supplement).  Both kids used Hirsh's Core Knowledge in elementary school to guide topic choice in history, science, and literature stories.  We didn't cover the material in the same way, but they mostly covered the same content.  The Michael Clay Thompson series for language arts has been a hit with both kids (one is on level 4, the other is using 6 as part of their English credit).  I've used the K-12 History Odyssey as the main spine for middle school history for one kid and am using it with the second with plans to continue with it.  I like them having a survey in middle school so that they'll be in a good spot to choose interest-led things to delve deeper into for high school (we also use the World History Detective workbook during these years).  I might have used some of the same Critical Thinking Company workbooks for both kids, but those are supplements that I do as needed so I don't know exactly what I used for each, other than both did Inference Jones.  Both kid used Halvorson's Spelling Work! as a semester-long review at whatever point I decide that they're basically ready to be done with spelling.

We have some other things that we tried and didn't finish, and even more that we used for one year, said was sufficient but didn't love, and tried something different the next year.  I have also made different choices at times because my kids are different.  My map-obsessed kid didn't need to spend a lot of time on geography, for instance.  I give the kids a say in what we do, especially once they get older, and if they hate something or I feel it isn't working, I'm willing to make a switch.  But, once we find something that works that we like we definitely take a 'don't fix what isn't broken' approach.  I did learn early on that we do not do well with anything that is planned to be daily - 36 weeks x 5 days or something like that.  I can, and have, made adjustments but I prefer something where I don't feel like I'm just skipping stuff, or don't feel like I'm skipping 2/5 of the material. 

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On 10/27/2020 at 5:17 PM, JoyKM said:

How long did it take to find your trusty standbys?  I am starting to believe that the best curriculum is the one I feel most comfortable modifying.  We are a mere 12 weeks in, and I’ve been clarifying needs, goals and expectations. I would really like to land on some standbys!  

Well, I loved comparing curriculum... and there is a difference in sitting down and looking at the table of contents verses actual application. It’s a bit like flying over a state and saying you’ve been there, kwim? This is my twentieth year and I’d say I use my stand bys now, but I lack the enthusiasm now for throwing myself into a new curriculum and learning the ins and outs of teaching it. Honestly? I did it for a solid dozen or so years and I’m older, wiser, more tired, lol. Truth is, it’s less about the curriculum that about the application, mostly because homeschooling is more about the environment and less about the schooling. 😉 

I used to want to be in love with my curriculum. I wanted it to inspire me. Now? I want the basics done and done well, but I want it to get out of my way so we can pour ourselves into life and interests, etc. We use Saxon, but Nicole the Math Lady has sure made my life easier. I still love and appreciate First Language Lessons and pull out an old copy of Level 4 to memorize lists and I use Level 1 with my littles because it lends itself nicely to Circle Time. I like the Genevieve Foster books but I don’t necessarily always use them. I like Fix It, but wouldn’t use it alone. I like IEW for my kiddos who don’t write easily. I love books (fiction and none, classical and otherwise) and we read widely - solo, aloud, and on Audible, but we don’t call it school even when they are assigned. Sadly, I’ve never yet met a science curriculum I’ve loved.

My curriculum hopping years had value. It isn’t as though the children didn’t learn those years. 😉 Gaps? Sure! Overlaps? Absolutely. But I’m certain my enthusiasm for the new curriculum, whatever it was, did  help me feel excited about teaching and that also has great value.

 

On 10/28/2020 at 8:35 AM, BaseballandHockey said:

For those of you who say you've found what works, I'd love to hear what those resources are.  

I listed my favorites above. ❤️ 

On 10/28/2020 at 12:44 PM, purpleowl said:

On these boards I generally don't offer opinions on things I haven't used. IRL, sometimes people will ask me for recommendations or for what I think about a particular program. I usually just parrot what people on these boards have said, lol. 

I think there is a lot of value in resisting from the temptation to weigh in on curriculum you haven’t actually used. It can muddy the waters when someone says, “I don’t love X. I felt it had gaps here, here, and here,” when they might be seeking hands on experiences, especially on the boards where there are those with experience. In real life, there are fewer folks with any experience so I wouldn’t hesitate to say, “I’ve heard...” so long as it is prefaced in that manner. ❤️ 

On 10/28/2020 at 3:59 PM, JoyKM said:

That’s great!  Its good to be reflective and choose from a variety of teaching techniques to teach a skill. I wasn’t really in a place where I knew what teaching techniques are even normal or effective options for ELA, though my husband and I have discussed particular goals for our children in writing and grammar since they were babies. He feels that his grammar knowledge is lacking and wants our kids to be explicitly taught, and we both feel that being able to write well is extremely valuable. Teaching language arts is intimidating to me, but it has become clear that the only way through that is to learn what to do. I do want to land on a method, framework or program that I fully understand and appreciate so that modifying it for each of my kids is effective (my trusty standby). For now I’m thinking through about 5th grade before middle school comes along and needs change. 

This brings up a good point - oftentimes we simply don’t know what we don’t know. This is actually a benefit to curriculum hopping. When you have opportunity to try a different curriculum, it’s often easier to see where another lacked or was strong. After twenty years, there are curriculum books I keep around for valuable bits and pieces. I remember selling Tapestry of Hrave and keeping Writing Aids just because I loved the rubrics she had. I hadn’t known what a rubric was before I used ToG. I remember falling head over heels for that curriculum and writing a review in which I decided it was superior to Sonlight. I was shocked when Mr. Holtzmann himself commented on that particular blog post. 😮 I wonder how he’d feel to know I bought some older versions of Sonlight just last year for their reading lists because there is so much heart in the books they chose and I didn’t want the “buffet” that I now find overwhelming from Tapestry? Lol. I say this to illustrate the point that once upon a time I wanted “the best” and I endlessly sought to analyze, compare, and trade up. The more confidence and clarity I gained about my home, school, and family, the more I sought materials that could meet my needs so I could “check the box” of effective math and language arts and get out of my way so we could have more freedom. 😉 
 

 

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56 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

The more confidence and clarity I gained about my home, school, and family, the more I sought materials that could meet my needs so I could “check the box” of effective math and language arts and get out of my way so we could have more freedom. 😉 

I guess it all comes full circle.  Once I get more confident in how to actually teach language arts I would love to have it be on some sort of autopilot system.  For math my goals have been pretty easy to identify and incorporate, so at least one major subject doesn't have me saying, "Wow...I need to learn a LOT more about this!"  😂  Thanks for all of the feedback! 

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