Dear Homeschool Friends,
My most frequent advice to homeschoolers is to not be afraid to change things up when needed. If something isn’t working, scrap it and try something different. You hit a wall and aren’t making any progress? Look for new ideas. You hate the curriculum you chose? Find one in a different style. Kids aren’t “getting it?” Try a different method. Maybe you haven’t found their learning style yet. The work you have them doing is too easy or too hard? Be honest about that, sell it to someone else (if you bought it), and find work for them at a more appropriate level. Be flexible.
However, I also want to advise you to avoid the temptation to change when you’ve finally found something that works.
I recently realized that we’ve finally found some materials that really work for us! After four years of learning to homeschool, we have figured out what works for us, and what doesn’t. Year Five has been the most productive thus far, and my children have made the biggest leaps this year.
Four years of trial and error, purchases, borrowing, returns, scouring the library, internet, and the homeschool convention, curriculum fairs and book swaps, and peering through friends’ bookshelves and garage sales … guess what I have now? (Besides a store room of unused materials that now need homes.)
I have an email inbox full of sales notices. I have a snail-mailbox full of catalogs. I have piles of temptations! I have thoughts like “Oo, that looks like fun!” or “What a great idea! We should try that!” “I wonder if that would work?” “Oh, that would make an interesting study!” “50% off?? I should try that and see if my kids like it!”
Friends, the last few months have been an exercise in self-control for me. We’ve found materials that are working for us very well, but the temptations don’t stop coming. I really need to keep my focus on taking baby steps forward with what we already have and stop looking at alternatives. I need to wear a sign when I’m with other homeschool friends that says “Got what we need! Don’t tell me about anything else!”
Just to reiterate my top two pieces of advice about curriculum choices: don’t be afraid to change it up until you find something that works; and, once you find something that works, resist the temptation to keep trying out different things!
~ Courageous Jane