Every home educator that I’ve met has had a ton of great recommendations for the best homeschool curriculum items they have tried with their children. The problem is, they often don’t reveal the many curriculum choice changes that they have made over time to get to this conclusion. I don’t know about you, but I have often struggled with changing things up mid-year or mid-program for fear that I would somehow mess up the education of my children and it has made me feel like a quitter. It is time to address this and help put our minds at ease. You are not a quitter (and neither am I!).
Give yourself permission to admit that you picked something impractical and move on!
Sometimes it takes time to know if a program can work well in your homeschool schedule or routine. On the other hand, sometimes the facts were right in front of you the whole time and yet the wrong curriculum ended up in your hands anyway.
Admittedly, I have made the mistake of choosing curriculum items based on how they made me feel emotionally rather than how they would practically work in our regular homeschooling day. The product description gave me the warm and fuzzies and I ordered it, not taking into account the 3 hours of read-alouds required or the heavy use of tiny manipulatives necessary for each lesson.
I have a household of 4 kids under the age of nine. Those two factors are total deal-breakers, and the information was out there, I just wasn’t paying attention logically.
It is okay to make this mistake and choose not to use an item that just doesn’t work. Even if you’ve used it for a few weeks to give it a try, if it really doesn’t seem to work after a month or two, it was probably never meant to be in the first place.
Different people have different learning styles and teaching styles.
Some curriculum descriptions fail to adequately describe which learning styles it works best for and it isn’t always easy to determine it on your own until you start to actually use it. Not only that, but some kids are difficult to assess as far as their true learning style. A lot of times, determining their learning style is done after a series of trial and error.
Without fully knowing if your child’s learning style will mesh with the program you have chosen, it can become very obvious that the two won’t mesh once you dive into it a bit. Not only that, but your teaching style might not work well with the program.
It is totally fair to consider yourself and your part in using the curriculum. This is something you’ll be spending a significant amount of time with, even if it is indirectly, so it has to work for both you and your student.
The beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility.
One of the most exciting parts of homeschooling is that it is flexible. When things need to be tweaked, put on hold, covered more, or added to the school day, it’s easy to adjust things as needed.
Allow yourself to enjoy this flexibility. Keep in mind that, even on a budget, it is possible to switch from one type of curriculum to another to suit your needs. As long as your kids are learning what is required of them, don’t worry if that means you’ll suddenly be using something no one else has heard of or if the curriculum is something you never thought you’d be using!
Kids are generally quick to accept change, so long as it benefits them positively.
If you are changing your curriculum mid-year or mid-program, it is probably because you have found that it isn’t working for you or your child’s needs. Sure, this is subjecting your student to a change, but kids are so resilient!
If the curriculum change is in the best interest of your family and your homeschool, it is likely that your child will happily go with the flow. This is especially true if you’re tweaking things to create a better learning environment for them with less stress or catered more toward their learning style and schedule.
The fact that you are seeking something that works shows that you are committed – not a quitter!
Instead of feeling like you’re failing yourself or your child because you gave up on a program before you completed it, try looking at it a different way. You are looking for the best fit for the educational needs of your family. You are committed – not a quitter!
The time and effort that you are putting into educating your child at home is so important. Good for you for choosing to seek the best options that work best for your family. Really, give yourself a pat on the back for being an attentive, caring, and open to change.
Jennifer Land is a homeschooling mother to 4 children, residing in Fort Worth, Texas. She has been homeschooling for the past 4 1/2 years and has gone through many curriculum changes to find what works for her individual kids. Jennifer’s blog, Jenn’s RAQ, has reviews of many of the things she has tried, as well as paleo recipes, parenting articles, and information about local events.