When we started homeschooling I felt like I had to do everything by the book. If the book said to do it then we did it. I tried to dot every i and cross every t. We did every worksheet and every project. And we quickly got overwhelmed.
It was only kindergarten and I was tired, burnt out, sick of cutting out little shapes and going on every field trip mentioned.
My daughter loves her classes, enjoys learning, and is at a stage where is very self-motivated. (yaaayy!)
But, as to be expected, there have been some rough moments. Specifically in math and history. Multiplication and Division were a doozy for my Sweet Peanut and the video classes didn't seem to be cutting it. History wasn't clicking. And until mama figured things out she lost her verve for learning.
Then something new happened. We join the Homeschool Review Crew. As part of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Review Crew, we test our different homeschool products across all subjects and extracurricular activities (you can read our current reviews here and here) .
Through the Crew, I was able to test out different homeschool styles and products with my daughter.
Math was one of the subjects we first started stepping outside the box with. At the time it was giving her lots of problems and I thought maybe it was the BJU curriculum or maybe too many worksheets. Or maybe not enough. After that hurdle, I came to see that what probably would have helped was for me to step outside the box, slow down, and take the time to speak my daughter's language. Once I did that she excelled.
Math is now her favorite subject and we've been back to using BJU Press Math (by her request) these past two years with no more problems. Stepping outside of the box helped us to discover that in some cases it was just too much too soon and in others maybe it was the method of delivery (I'm talking about me).
Here are Some Other Things I've Learned About Using a Box Homeschool Curriculum
- Just because you get it all doesn't mean you have to use it all. This is the big one. We get a lot of stuff with our BJU PRess Homeschool Curriculum and at first, I made the mistake of trying to use it all. It took me a while to realize they were covering all the bases for all kinds of learners (might help to read that introduction in the Teacher's Manual). Also knowing how my daughter learns better enables me to wade through it all.
- If it doesn't work move on. Don't suffer. Through the years we've had a few classes that didn't gel for the Sweet Peanut. At those times we pushed the boxed curriculum to the side and found something that did work. Is this wasted money? Investing in your child's education is never a waste.
- Reach out. Find others that are using the same curriculum as you and share how you tweak it and make it your own. I'm blessed to have a very close neighbor and good friend who uses the same curriculum we do. We talk about how we are using it and where there might have been rough spots or even fun.
- It's okay if you don't use the whole box. to supplement with other products (most specifically with Schoolhouse Teachers). We use the supplemental material on a daily basis to bring school alive. From videos to books, and lapbooks we like a well rounded homeschool.
- And finally, do read the curriculum. Sometimes a curriculum may not be working because you haven't read all the instructions. Mama are you guilty of that? I know I have been. Publishers are so good at giving you insight into how things can and do work. We just have to be diligent and read the directions.