Curriculum Woes

We are in year two of homeschooling, so that pretty much means I’m still a newbie. First of all, I know it isn’t for everyone (some days I think it’s not for me), but I truly believe it is right for us. I feel very fortunate that I am able to stay home with the kids and homeschool them. I do it for many reasons….some, people might think are crazy. Like, I really love being with my kids as much as I can, even when they drive me up the wall. I’m learning to laugh at their craziness, but sometimes my patience wanes. We are in the midst of a snow storm that has pretty much locked people in and closed down schools. I’ve been a little surprised at the number of people who would like schools to reopen, immediately. It made me reevaluate my own reactions to the kids, and decide to try harder each day to do better. I realize that just because I choose to homeschool doesn’t mean some days I won’t feel like running; but, I think if I did run I’d probably take the kids and just leave everything else behind for the day (maybe that’s called a field trip). I’m also the opposite of most people I know, I go stir crazy out of my house. In my house I am completely comfortable. It is interesting I guess how different we all are as humans.

Another reason I homeschool is that I worry about the influence kids their age will have on the fragile innocence of my kids. I’m sure there will be some backlash from that statement, but they have already been through a lot. I want to protect what is left of their childhood. They do a lot of things such as gymnastics, dance, musicals, music lessons, and sports where they are with other kids their age a lot, but those environments are a lot different from the school environment. Maybe because I’m there??? Here is the thing about me, I have been in public schools. I student taught in the fall in a public school. And I have spent many hours in other schools. All my hours in that environment has contributed to me wanting to homeschool even more. I loved the teachers I taught beside, they were awesome. I loved teaching, it was fantastic and fulfilling. I didn’t like the politics, and I didn’t like how “beyond their age” most of the kids seemed. I met second graders who knew more about “Walking Dead” than I do. I don’t watch the show, but I’ve read about it and I wouldn’t let my second grader watch it…or my fourth grader…or my Mom. So, after that experience I feel even more like our homeschooling path was right. I KNOW I could be a force at home (if they were in public school) that would counter premature exposure to certain things. But I can stay home, I can homeschool, and be free from that added worry, so I don’t see a reason WE should do it any other way. Some parents don’t have my choices and want them (I hate it for them that they don’t have the choice), some parents do have my choices and choose the opposite…and I think that’s awesome. Either route is tough. Either route is valuable.

Anyway…tangent much?? I have a curriculum dilemma. I can’t seem to find one that fits ALL of our needs. Not that I expect to find the perfect curriculum, but I have found that I have to supplement way more than I anticipated. We can’t seem to stay on track with our current curriculum. What I mean is that I have to add a lot each week and it takes a lot of extra time, the we are playing catch up. We will finish our school year in mid-to-end April (I started in July) which means plenty of review time before test time. I went a Classical route this year, and while it is rigorous, I’m not sure it is for us. For Kindergarten, I think it’s 90 % excellent. I understand how it builds, but the writing practice is too much at once. It is a daily battle with my youngest, so we often extend it over more than one day. For second grade, I think it is about 85% excellent. I don’t like the lack of structured science or social studies. I love the reading, all of it, and the math. It is hard to find a straightforward math program, but I think ours is perfect. Third/fourth grade I feel very disconnected with it. I pretty much like the math and Christian studies, but nothing else. It just doesn’t work for my creative, free-spirited daughter. Last year she used Sonlight, and while there are many positives (fantastic reading based curriculum), it fell short in other areas. I couldn’t justify using it again knowing it didn’t fit her needs. I don’t know where to go with our curriculum next year, so I’m on a mission to find out as much as possible about materials people use that work for them!!! Do you have something that works for you? Or does your sister’s friend’s cousin use something awesome?? Let me know!!

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