Three Questions to Ask Before Changing Homeschool Curriculum
It’s that time of year again, the one where all of us homeschooling parents are thinking ahead to summer and where our homeschooling journey will lead us next year. It’s sort of a spring cleaning, we’re getting stir crazy and all of the pretty new curriculum is begging us to switch it up.
Is your school day a struggle?
If you and your kids are dragging your collective feet to get school work done, you might need a change. The right curriculum shouldn’t end in tears and arguments everyday. If you’re using the right kind of curriculum for your child’s style of learning all days shouldn’t be bad days. We used to exclusively use an online curriculum, then we exclusively used workbooks, neither styles worked for us when our whole day was filled with one or the other, so now we have a great mix of narration, workbooks, and online work. Every child learns differently, and what works for everyone else might not work for your family. Homeschooling is a whole lot of trial and error, it’s a ton of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing if it sticks. It can be expensive and tiresome, but getting through (most) days without tears is the goal. If your getting through the days without tears then stop, don’t change anything, you’re fine…unless you feel like your day isn’t challenging enough.
Is your curriculum challenging enough?
You don’t want every day in every subject to be a struggle, but on the other hand you don’t want a curriculum that your children can breeze through. We just went through this with math. We were using Math for a Living Education and for us it was a little too simplistic, it wasn’t a challenge at all and it didn’t feel like we were making any progress or learning anything new. So we switched back to Time4Learning for math and some days are definitely a challenge, but not too much that we can’t handle it. We also have math days that are breezed through with no problems. It’s the perfect mix of hard work and satisfaction when you have a curriculum that challenges their brains (and honestly, challenging your brain too, we all know we’re Googling how to get answers to help with homework) just enough without getting overwhelming. You know what your children are capable of, the right amount of work is out there in some form. If the easy curriculum is the only thing keeping you from daily struggles keep the easy curriculum and supplement with something a little more challenging, that could be as easy as fact fluency flashcards or a book report to practice those writing skills.
Is your school day taking too long?
If you’re schooling for more than a few hours, you’re probably doing something wrong. You do not have to mirror the public school day, that day is full of minutes wasted to get attention, stand in lines, switching classrooms and more, it’s not the one-on-one instruction that you get in a homeschool environment filled with a little less distraction. There are so many things I really want to add to our homeschool day. Let’s include more reading, more arts, more crafts, more science projects, more documentaries, more nature journaling or whatever that mom on Instagram just did with her perfect kids in the pristine picture perfect farmhouse, that looks fun, not stressful. There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything we want to. We get through our core curriculum work book, math, language arts, bible study, a little bit of gym class, and silent reading and we call it a day. Depending on how early we get up that takes us to noon or 1:00, and then everyone needs free time to keep some sanity. We could add more and round out our day, but we would all be a stressful mess. If you’re spending 8 hours on your school day, you need to cut something out or change your curriculum. Just say it with me: We’re human and we can’t do it all. (Even if the Instagram moms say you can.)
If you’re struggling to get through the day, your school day isn’t crazy long, and you feel like your children are being challenged enough, stick with it! You’ve got this, stop doubting yourself. If your days are long and grueling, brains are challenged too hard or not hard enough, you might have to change somethings, no one blames you. Make sure you’re changing curriculum for the right reasons and you’ll be on the path to being a happy homeschooling family.