Tuesday, March 20

The Next Step

March is more than halfway over and I am already seriously thinking about next year's school.  I've talked to lots of experienced homeschool moms about the ins and outs of home education, why they've chosen to do things certain ways, and gotten some tips about how to be a successful mom, teacher, wife, and housekeeper.  (Simply put, several of them have said just hire a housekeeper. ;-)  This year we started off using the Mother of Divine Grace kindergarten curriculum but (and I think I've mentioned this), we both got a little bored with it.  Beth likes to do a lot of hands-on activities, and I want to take advantage of the way she learns and encourage her to love learning. 

I'm soooo close to designing our own curriculum.  I feel like I just need a little urge from a friend or The Spirit letting me know I'm making the right decision!  I want to be able to include Luke in our lessons, so that I can teach both him and Beth on their own levels.  For this reason unit studies seem really appealing to me, but what I have in mind doesn't exist in a formal curriculum. 

I'm glad it's March and I have some time.  It's been my goal to finish my doula training packet and then I'll start work on our curriculum, whether I find one or design one.  This past week marks the one-year anniversary of my training course last year!  I am nearly done with my packet I have to send off to become certified, I only have to print off my essays, proof-read everything, make copies, and mail it off!  My goal is to go to the post office on Friday!


Liz said...

First off, major snaps on your doula certification! I have several friends with small children who abandoned their training even though they were TRULY passionate about quality birth experiences-- it was just too much for them to handle while also raising a young family. So I really salute you for that.

Secondly, you should DEFINITELY design your own curriculum! Definitely, 100%! I know there must be tons of parents with pre k or k aged kids who ALSO have an inquisitive toddler (or two) which could also benefit from "school". You could piecemeal your own curriculum and design "mini" lessons related to the main lessons for Luke. I know it sounds like a major time suck but I think it would actually save you time in the long run because you won't be constantly modifying a curriculum which doesn't really challenge or satisfy Beth.

Someone I know decided to piecemeal her own curriculum for her five year old twins. They have radically different personalities and learning styles and she didn't know any other way but to design it herself.

She used reading from one program, math from another, religious study from another, and designed her own INCREDIBLE science curriculum using materials/worksheets she found online and hands on experiments she bought at this educational site- I forget what it is but after I post this comment I will ask her and report back. Her science experiments were so amazing she actually had people pay her to give them a copy of the curriculum she designed.

Anyway, the approach of choosing individual lessons which suited her children worked marvelously. The kids adore school and when she had to "close school" for a week to have a baby, they whined and griped every day about missing it.

She was nervous in the beginning because she wanted to make sure the kids learned at least as much as they would in public school. She got the final exam for each subject in first grade from her local district (since they didn't have a "final" for kindergarten) and that way she felt comfortable knowing they were learning above and beyond even first grade while she was only doing kindergarten with them. She plans to get the following year's final exams every year to make sure her kids are at or ahead of the curve should they ever decide they want to go to "regular" school.

I think designing your own lessons shows a real commitment to your child's education- I know people who say they love homeschool because the kids can finish their work in one hour and then do whatever they want the rest of the day. But the kids are basically just sitting at a computer clicking "next" or "yes, I understand" and probably not absorbing that much. To really get what you're meant to out of homeschooling (not that I'd know, I'm just pontificating here) I really think you HAVE to tailor curriculum to your child's strengths.

Good luck with your certification- congrats!

Liz said...


This is the science website where she got the materials. The kids got butterfly larvae and watched the chrysalides develop, watched tadpoles turn into frogs, and lots of other stuff the kids went wild for. A lot of it is too old for her kids she said but will come in very handy down the road.

Neen said...

The bottom line is that you will not ruin your kiddos my picking your own stuff. We have since Dani (now 21) was 8. Years ago I read "designing your own classical curriculum" I saw a pattern. History goes in cycles, world/ancient - European/After Christ before America - American. Math follows a serious and science tries to hit all the major areas once before highschool. Then you master plan the years not the months. 2012-2013 Ancient history (egypt) 2013-2014 Europeen (Castles and kings) etc. Then everyone can "study" the same thing but project can be more age related. I love group stuff and won't teach individually too often.

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