Friday, March 27, 2009

Namin' Names ....

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.

I'm allowed.
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.
have to.

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.


Halfmoon Girl said...

Good post. I am eclectic in my approach to homeschooling,and have learned to keep things simple, to not force myself to work through a program just because I bought it. I am not so fast to commit myself to expensive programs anymore, and often find that I don't feel the need for them- phonics,for one example. There is nothing wrong with texts in my opinion either. As long as the child is engaged in what they are doing- it's a win-win situation. I can relate to the library fees- I think I have personally sponsored building a new wing of the library.

CrossView said...

One fo the great things about homeschooling is being able to change up if needed. Sometimes, the curriculum doesn't fit, sometimes the season of life isn't right, sometimes it just doesn't fit with the kids. But for whatever reason, we can change. I love that!

Mother Mayhem said...

We are text bookers. :o)

40winkzzz said...

Hey, Comfy, whatever works for you & your kids in this season of life is what you should do!

I started out w/all BJU and ditched it (except for math) after the first year. The next many years were spent trying to "figure out" what worked for us, never really settling into any one method. (I've always been consistent w/math, though.) That was often stressful for me, but it was also a learning experience. I finally decided that this was called "eclectic"! And the way we have done "eclectic" over the years has varied as the family & the kids grew & needs changed. We haven't always done it well. (But all this apparently didn't hurt my oldest 2 a whole lot, since this May one graduates from college and the other graduates from high school w/a 3.9 gpa.)

We're a little bit CM, a little bit classical, perhaps a little bit unit-studyish-- and this year, just a little bit workbook-y! (Just a little bit. :-) B/c you know what? I try to let go the ideals and do what works for me and my kids, and that changes with the seasons of life.

... Paige said...

I commend your stamina, teaching is not easy, especially when you have to be the cafeteria lady, janitor, school nurse, principal, room mother, bus driver, librarian, PE coach, plus and then you still have your night job.


The Gang's Momma! said...

wowza. that was quite comprehensive. sounds like you are very tuned into to what works for each individual kid.

we're shooting for the two oldest to begin cyber-charter schooling in the fall from home. dad's supposed to be researching the options with them before i weigh in with my 2cents. nothing yet.

they're likely going to be using two different charter schools, the way we're heading. both very different learners and styles. we'll see.

TobyBo said...

LOL at the Maxwell article you linked... the second list of reasons for using textbooks is my list. Yep, I submitted that several years ago & it seems they liked it.

I am glad you have found something that is working for you and your crew at this point. I am also glad you quoted me in the process. :)

Peculiar Blogs said...

yeah! I am soooooo glad it is working out for you!! YEAH!

The Zandi Zoo said...

Isn't it awesome that there is a curriculum for just about every style, method, and season of life. I love that we can change things when they aren't working out. Wonderful! I pray that your next school year is wonderful!!!

The Old Gray Mare said...

We've always used textbooks in our homeschool.

We've done a rather eclectic mix of them rather than stick with one full curriculum. We have stuck with Bob Jones literature & history all the way through, as well as Apologia science since middle school.

It is especially helpful to use textbooks when your child is ready to move beyond what you are able to teach. This was the case when mine reached high school and started moving into subjects such as chemistry, trigonometry, etc. Knowing how to read & study from textbooks enabled them to move on independently.

My oldest is now a college sophmore, and he made the transition from home school to class room without much trouble. I feel like it was, in part, due to the fact that he knew how to use textbooks and take tests.

That's my 2-cents worth!

The Old Gray Mare said...

I meant to also throw in that although we've used textbooks, it took some trial and error to hit on the right combination for us.

Some lasted throughout one school year, others got ditched after a few weeks. Some worked well with the my oldest, but not at all with the youngest.

One of the nice things about home schooling is that we have the option to change what isn't working.

Great post, BTW!

Dapoppins said...

Goooood perks.