I read an article this morning that reminded me of why I started this craze on curriculum.
This article was talking about how this frustrated homeschool mom could not get her child to sit still and often he would literally fall out of his chair. For me, I would find my son gazing out the window, looking through binoculars, and searching for deer. I could not turn away for a second or my student would escape. At the end of the day, when I would grade his papers, it was as if he hadn’t watched one single video. I know he did though, because I was there and I watched him as he sat at the computer for 5 or 6 hours and unfortunately retained NOTHING. So, when it was time for us to be finished, escape this wretched school, and have dinner, I would grade his worksheets and it was an absolute train wreck. He and I were frustrated, weary, and feeling like failures. This nifty program that I paid top dollar for, left me faced with trying to teach him all of these concepts so he could complete the worksheets and ultimately pass this grade. The worst part was knowing that the next day we would have to wake up and repeat the whole process. Other than being completely drained from the full day of nagging and me reminding him to pay attention, he seemed to be able to get the concepts when I would explain them. The days seemed to drag on and I was so frustrated that I would find myself threatening public school if he didn’t shape up.
We had been doing Abeka DVDs since my oldest was in Kindergarten. This curriculum worked well for my oldest and one of my other boys, but it clearly was not working for this one. My boys are good boys, of course I’m partial, but I realized that maybe this one son needed a different option.
I decided to go to my first and only homeschool show ever. I approached each exhibitor’s booth and quickly became his or her interrogator. I wanted to know EVERYTHING and I would not leave one stone unturned. With my husband and I both being college graduates, we were almost scared to change curriculum in the fear that our boys would not be prepared for college themselves. So, for me this quest to broaden our horizons was serious business. I learned so much that day, but the one thing that was a God moment for me was when I met this attorney dad who was manning a booth while someone else took a break. As he asked me questions, I explained my dilemma. He flat out rebuked me and said, “You are focusing on the curriculum too much! It sounds like you need to focus on the METHOD.” It was like a light bulb went off and I had clear direction.
From that moment forward, I have researched and scanned the whole gamut to try and find the best curriculum with the best method of delivery. My kids have been my official product testers and they are the final vote. The climate in our home is so wonderful now. All three of my sons LOVE their school. The one son who didn’t do well with Abeka is doing extremely well and is now doing more advanced work without a hitch. Things that they learn in school are often topics of discussion at the dinner table. I feel so confident about what they are learning and how they are retaining it.
The boys are learning from the book of Proverbs this year. In Proverbs 4:7 it says, “Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding.”
In all of my years of ‘getting’ info on curriculum, I have learned that all children are unique. They learn in different ways and their interests are different. As a homeschool mom, you have a unique opportunity to custom tailor your child’s education to help them flourish into what God wants them to be. Here’s to Happy Homeschooling!