(Last Updated on November 24, 2020)
Each August, I share Our Curriculum Choices for the school year ahead.
It’s always a nice feeling to have a plan in place. All the curricula picked out. All the ducks in a row.
In reality, though, plans change. Ducks get up and walk around. And you know what?
Over the years, I’ve learned to hold my plans with a looser grip and not be as afraid of changes. After all, customizing our homeschools for our kids is what home education is all about!
So, each break week (every six-ish weeks for us) I think about each subject and decide how to tweak it to make it better.
I ask my kids for their input, glance back at my master course of study, and make changes if needed. Usually just a few small adjustments make a big difference. Here’s what I’m changing this fall:
Our Curriculum Changes – Year 7
(Check out the original plan for this year here)
I’ve heard from friends and other blogs that Volume 4 of Story of the World (SotW) history curriculum is harder than the first three. They weren’t kidding.
I thought we could use the suggested outlines (in SotW Activity Book Four) for my 6th grader and have my 3rd grader write facts he learned. But the writing assignments quickly turned into busy work. The kids were just looking for facts to copy down to “get it over with.” Not okay.
Instead, we’ve decided to focus more on the fun stuff and skip the outlines and fact-writing. The Volume 4 maps are excellent and my kids love the discussion questions. So, we’re taking more time on geography and to simply talk about the lessons together.
I was super-excited when I found Word Build Online for my 6th grader to practice word roots. I still think it’s a neat program (especially since there’s a free version!), but we had some technical difficulties.
I could’ve pushed through, contacted their customer service and figured it out.
But… I’m tired.
So, for now, we’re playing Rummy Roots a couple times a week and he’s already memorized almost all of Set 1.
We might try Word Build Online again later but, for now, he’s still learning word roots and I don’t mind one less screen-based activity (especially during 2020, a.k.a. “the year of Zoom”).
We’ve been using Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power for my 6th grader. But just reading through it and copying the definitions one time hasn’t been enough for him to retain much.
Thankfully, someone has already made a set of all 290 words on Quizlet! Thank you random stranger!! So now he reads/copies the words one day, practices on Quizlet the next two days, and is more prepared for the section quiz at the end of the week.
We homeschool moms have such good intentions, don’t we? I had high hopes that my four-year-old would jump right in and do creative writing along with her older brothers (at her own level, of course).
Alas, she had other plans. Some subjects we’ve been able to combine ages, but this apparently isn’t one of them. So, I’m switching gears for her. Now, while the boys are writing, she gets to write whatever she wants, or just play and color.
We’ve tweaked a few other things, too. In CTC Math, I’ve found my 3rd and 6th graders don’t need to do the review sets every week. So we aren’t doing those as often as I’d planned.
Also, my 3rd grader says his logic book is too easy, so I’m going to let him finish it as fast as he wants and find some harder books for the rest of the year.
No plan is perfect.
I used to get hung up on the time I’d “wasted” preparing plans that ended up changing. Sometimes, I even took it personally if a plan didn’t work out. (“What do you mean you don’t like the math program I painstakingly researched, selected and prepared for you?! Hmph!”)
But the sooner we, as homeschool parents, can get over those frustrations (and, dare I say, our pride), the better.
If you sense – or if your kids aren’t shy about letting you know – that a change is needed, don’t feel bad about tweaking your plans or even revamping them altogether! The freedom to change and customize our curricula and methods is one of the biggest advantages to homeschooling!
Don’t be afraid to make changes to optimize the educational experience for your kids!
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