We started our homeschooling year early because of how busy we knew fall was going to be, so we are already a few months in. We’ve been using the Bob Jones curriculum that’s on DVD, and there are a lot of things I really like about it. The videos (for the most part) are really interesting and the kids like them. Here are a couple of the downsides and then I’m going to ask for your advice/experience.
The DVD’s were really expensive. Like, way more than we have ever spent before on homeschooling stuff, so I feel a need to salvage it. The way it was in our heads, in case there were days that we were traveling there would still be consistency as far as their lessons and we could bring it on the road with us. I imagined them being able to do it in the hotel, on the bus, car, or whatever. That sounded good but it isn’t really working out the way we pictured it (that’s never happened to you, has it?) It’s also hard because they are in the third (A&E) and first (K) grades and with the baby I thought it would be easier to have them in two rooms doing their own thing and I could go back and forth and check in, but if I wasn’t available they wouldn’t get behind.
Here’s the thing, though. They aren’t really able to do it as independently as I was hoping, and what I think was supposed to be a 4 hour school day actually turns out to be much (MUCH) longer, because Todd and I are having to stay with them the whole time and really process things. We take turns on who we are with but neither side is able to get very far without us present. It’s gotten frustrating for all of us and I’m trying to figure out a new game plan for the rest of the year.
We bought the stuff and I don’t want it to go to waste, but I think the bottom line is that it isn’t as literature based as I would like for it to be and my kids just aren’t at a point where they can do it without quite a bit of help. And that’s fine. But if we are going to be putting in that kind of time I would much rather do a curriculum that I feel like is more “us.” For the record, there isn’t a thing wrong with the actual curriculum-I think in a few years mine would absolutely love it. Like any other, I think it just depends on the way you teach and the way your kids learn and I’m not 100% sure this is a fit with our lifestyle.
I’m not really sure what I’m asking, but I would love some thoughts from you home-schoolers out there. I have never “piecemealed” curriculum because I’m so stinking paranoid that I might be missing something they need to be learning, but I really feel like this isn’t working. Right now I’m tempted to let them keep watching some of the videos and then supplement. Has anyone out there done anything like that?
I know there are lots of other home-schoolers who have these same questions because I get them all the time in my email, so please share any thoughts here from what you have learned about curriculum. What has worked for your family? Do you switch it up every year? Do you have “non-negotiables” that you always go back to? Does it depend completely on the kid? HOW DO YOU KEEP A 16 MONTH OLD BUSY FOR THAT LONG?!?!?!
Today we spent the day on blankets outside and I feel like we got a lot done, but most of it was off the cuff and not really driven by any book or text. I know lots of people do this but I want to feel freedom and also know I’m keeping them on track. So just jump in and tell us what has worked/not worked for your family throughout the years.
PLEASE feel free to link to your blog if this is something you have addressed so that we can just click over and you won’t have to re-write anything here. I promise I’m not going to sit by the computer and await your comments.
That last part was a lie.