40Winkzz asked a very pertinent question on a previous post.
And since we seem to share a love of denim...I'll answer her question.
I'm nice like that.
I'm also assuming a lot. She has denim on her blog back ground.
I had the same denim on my blog background when I first started.
And she has Mr. Potato Head in her side bar.
I had one -- I took him off to conserve space.
Besides, putting him back together after he sneezed just go to be a hassle.
So I'm assuming a lot.
It's my blog.
Her question was in reference to my statement about making changes in our schooling.
Now - I just assumed again that you knew immediately what I'm talking about.
(I don't normally assume so much. I'm usually wrong. )
In order to answer her question, I feel I need to tell you my story and name some names.
When we first started Homeschooling, The Professor wanted to come under the "protection" of a school. There's nothing wrong with that. So we went with ABeka Academy. We went with them for the first 2 years. (Yes, they really do teach cursive writing in Kindergarten. Just FYI.)
When G-man was about to enter Kindergarten, there were some things that I knew he couldn't handle in the Academy program. So -- we opted to use Abeka Books instead. I was always on the look out for curriculum that would be awesome and fantastic and FUN!!!
I looked at and bought an entire set of K*n*s curriculum.
I logged in to the forums to get ideas.
I tried to make it work ... and just couldn't.
I would look at the pages, get my paper out to take notes and make decisions -- and I swear the words would jumble on the pages in front of me.
And don't get me started on the forums.
This curriculum now sits on my shelf for reference.
Haven't touched it.
I felt stupid for the longest time that I couldn't get it - until a very wise mom said, "That curriculum may be for every student -- but it's not for every mom."
Aha!! Perfect phrasing!!!
We looked at SonLight.
What a GREAT Idea!
Then someone mentioned My Father's World.
I REALLY liked the look of this one.
We jumped into the America study. It really is fun. The kids really enjoyed it. I was only using the core for History and Geography. By the end of the school year, we were bored with it - and I just stopped before getting to the western states.
Luckily, I don't think the kids were bothered by this turn of events.
So This last year, we were going to go into My Father's World: Exploring Cultures and Countries.
I was excited. It was going to be fun. It involved things I liked from the Big K curriculum, with the reading as in Sonlight. Sweet deal!!
Until we got bogged down in the library system, over due fees, and my own Little kids.
Trying to read serious, worthwhile books while having demanding little kids around was actually a burden.
(I mean -- they just won't wait to have their diapers changed!!!!! Sheesh!!)
Then on top of that, Trying to find library books that fit both Mini-Me & G-man were also a challenge. Heck, Trying to find Library books that fit the subject matter was difficult.
By November - we were so far behind that I was frustrated.
I was frustrated because G-man, especially, wasn't learning much.
I knew we needed to make a change.
I needed to have an extra set of hands, and since that wasn't going to happen, I needed to quit depending on the Library to provide me with history and geography books.
I read an article written by Steven & Teri Maxwell telling how they had opted for text books. Here is one. I can't quite tell if this is the one I read...but it's close enough. It was like reading something I, myself, could have written -- except maybe more serious and professional.
I can be professional if I absolutely have to. Absolutely.
I struggled with the idea of letting my kids experience the world... having a classical education (the way I knew it) but in my season of life - it just wasn't happening.
I don't agree with everything that the Maxwells have written, I just want to say that up front. But that article opened my eyes that maybe I just wasn't alone. Many of the homeschoolers I know are not mostly text book driven, like we have become. But I realized, that maybe I was striving to achieve something that was impossible for my household.
My plan was to change up and stop using My Father's World. We were going to start using other stuff in January -- but I decided to switch up early.
It's been awesome!!! Not perfect - but awesome.
Mini-Me especially has had a great time being a semi-independent learner.
She relishes in getting her tasks done.
For her, I switched to Rod& Staff Geography and The Light and the Glory for kids series for history. We were already using Abeka for Math, Grammar and Spelling. For Reading, I let her pick out books from the library. From the stacks. She's also very interested in butterflies. So we're trying to feed that interest.
For G-man, his lessons have changed a bit. I'm now reading to him specifically from an ABeka History and a Rod & Staff Geography. He gets ABeka for Phonics, Math & Spelling.
I may not have it down to an exact science - I am, after all, still trying to break the distractible habit of being distractible -- but right now this works.
I also don't have to chase down a gigling 3 year old down the back wall of the library stacks. Yes, she would get in trouble in the van - No, she didn't care.
Next year, we're just going to start out with ABeka as our majory curriculum of choice. We've already gotten our boxes. In a few years, if this ceases to work for us, then we'll change again. I am not a person that says "This is the only way"...because how distractible and random would I be then??
And I'm not so stodgy that we only use text books. We use sidewalk chalk on the street. Blocks and magnet men -- and hide and seek -- and I'm thinking of using the Hi-Ho Cheerio game for J-man's math. Mini-Me has gotten quite the love of reading and I don't worry that she's not reading for school during her off time - which was what needed to happen previously.
Her favorites are Cam Jansen and The Box Car Children, should you want to know.
Right now this works. It's given me hope that I'm not hopeless.
Oh - An unexpected Perk!!! Now that we're using Text Books -- The professor has offered to step in and substitute teach!!! So when I'm gone, or we need to have Saturday School - I have a substitute teacher.
Another perk!!! -- They like my teaching better!!!
It's become a win-win situation.