We have been doing this homeschooling thing now for 9 years.
Some might consider me a veteran and a well-experienced home school mom. Others may even think that by now I probably have things figured out.
Let me set the record straight:
I’m still learning–about my kids, curriculum, styles of learning and teaching–and I don’t often feel like I have a good handle on any of it.
I have tried (and failed) many times to get it “right.” And now I’m discovering that my definition of “right” is probably not…right. But that can be a really good thing, and I’d like to share an example of something that I’ve discovered just this year.
Before the school year began, I shopped around for curriculum, looking at all kinds of options, and then chose a boxed set that had everything I thought we needed. It came with a wonderful teacher’s lesson plan book that laid everything out for me, day by day, week by week. (Why are some of you snickering at me?! Oh wait, I know why.) I thought I was being brave because this curriculum was a step away from the textbook/workbook/teacher’s book norm that I tenaciously held on to in years past. I was feeling
pretty good about my choice.
The year got rolling. We were doing ok, I thought.
Then the movie “A Dolphin Tale” came out and someone was offering a free unit study to go along with the movie. I thought I’d give it a whirl, just for something different, and, because I had already planned on taking my girls to see the movie. We had so much fun! After watching the movie, we spent about a week on the study and the comment was made, “We should do more of these types of unit studies!” Really?
But…But…my teacher’s planning book was getting all out of whack already! So I filed the comment away in the recesses of my “need to stick with the plan” brain.
Until I started seeing advertisements for a month-long Thanksgiving unit study.
I timidly asked the girls if they might be interested in doing that. I bet you can guess their response. Yes, we spent the entire month of November diving into a thorough study of all things Thanksgiving related. They made beautiful notebooks to hold all their work for the month. We did craft projects, baked goodies, and had great discussions about faith, freedom, and sacrifice. They–we–loved it!
When I saw that the same author was offering a Christmas unit study to use throughout the month of December, it really wasn’t a difficult decision to move on to that one. We’ve immersed ourselves in the Christmas story. We continue to do math every day, and science when we can, and I am all right with that.
We’ll probably go back and revisit our regularly-scheduled curriculum after Christmas break. It really is good curriculum. However, I will not let myself be tied down by it.
One of my girls is really interested in roller coasters. She wants to design them some day. Guess what I found? Yep! A unit study on roller coasters. When our regular Geography takes us to the continent of Europe, I have some wonderful studies lined up for a couple of countries there.
My youngest summed it up well a few days ago when she exclaimed, “I love this school year!” My teacher’s heart was humbled and blessed.