What if you feel you've made wrong choices in curriculum?

Ok, so I really have been feeling anxiety about some of the choices Ive made with homeschool curriculum. If I could have had a mentor in the very beginning, explaining the history cycles, etc. and to map out a plan....that would have been great. I have had some good years, but now Im getting scared.

I was always told just read to your kids and let them play outside and write their name in the dirt. Your kids are young (when i first started) and this is all they need. So I never really had a lot of mentoring. We have a large homeschool association and I've always been involved. We have gone to the NCHE large homeschool conferences as well as some smaller ones (Teach them Diligently etc.)

I started out with My Fathers World, which I really liked at 2nd grade. I then took a year off from that and did totally Charlotte Mason with Ambleside Online. I had a small CM group and we learned a lot. I made a notebook and printed out lots of info from Simply Charlotte Mason and Charlotte Mason Helps websites. We had a good year that year, as I was younger and my brain was working properly and I made them out their own schedule and everything. It was a rich year. But the history (Truth Quest History) had us using a spine that was way too old for my boys and way too detailed and I never got half way thru history that year.

Then the following year I use MFW again because I had a 3rd and 5th grader and we were ready for Exploring Countries and Cultures. It also was a FABulous year, I learned a lot, read a lot of books to them, and we learned so much about Geography. I couldnt wait to get out of bed to start our day!

This year, we had a few tragedies - had to have our cat put to sleep in April and In May my son broke a bone in his foot. So we were stuck at home ALL summer. And I am a people person, who loves to get out of the house and go places. So that really hit me. Not only that, take in that I don't have any family here, and the loneliness - I had sort of a really strange physical thing happen, where I had like a nervous break down type thing (I'm only 45 years old). I had depression, anxiety, and brain fog, hot flashes, lost weight, couldn't eat, smells bothered me. Probably all hormonal or some thyroid (still trying to get this resolved)

All along thru homeschooling, I only used minimal grammar. I liked the Queens workbooks but never used the copywork it was just too much for younger boys who hated to write and had not matured in that area yet (2nd and 3rd grades). I never used literature studies or anything like that. I just read good books and encouraged our two boys to read them as well. and they read well. They just don't read a LOT. (i need to assign a book to them for our history period but have yet to do so, but they both are reading good personal books). I used narration a lot but currently sometimes I forget. My older one does not do this automatically. AT the times I read, I am not sure my younger son listens as well but he always narrates what he reads. ( I know I need to improve on the narration)

I decided to wait on grammar because I had heard thru so many mentors that if you wait til 5th or 6th grade they are ready to grasp it and it will come easy to them. So I did. I chose Easy Grammar. And we like it. But my son is in 6th grade and I started them both in the 3rd grade book because that is where it starts. It is just grammar, nothing else. I feel like I should have chosen an English like Rod and Staff (last year when he was in 5th grade) that would help them to write. My plan was to use narration as the natural method of learning to write. I still like that idea and have yet to use it much. I just feel so lost and wonder if there is anyone else who feels like me. Wishing you had used this or stayed with American History the first 5 years of their life to give them a good foundation. ( I had messed that up too and used ancient history book 1 with Story of the world when my younger son was in 2nd grade!)

I just dont feel so confident like most homeschool moms do. How do you get to this point if you are not that smart? I struggled alot this year knowing what to use. Then a friend loaned me My Fathers World which was Ancient History (i really did not want to do this again but it was given to me, and I felt like it might be an answer to prayer)- Creation to the GReeks. I was very happy that we didnt have the $ to buy curriculum anyhow so it seemed like an answer to prayer. WEe love the Creation to the Greek because the history is reading from the bible mostly at this point. But Im not sure I like the MFW package anymore. Some of it is babyish.
My son will be in 7th grade next year and Im just really scared. I know he has tested good, and that they don't even test in History. But - I want a good confident child who writes well. and I haven't liked most of the writing programs I have looked at. We've used Diana Hanbury King Writing Book A and its forced, he hates it. I feel it shouldnt be forced. It should come natural. I know I need to use a really good Science and History for his sake and a really good English. I'm just wondering if anyone else is feeling this way - like I just need encouragement and direction. I'm scared for the higher years. when they were younger, it was easier.

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Trust that God has a plan
by: Marianne

Hi,
I have just been reading your post again. I'm so sorry that I had not responded earlier to you.

I don't think you've made the wrong choices in curriculum - you went with what felt right at the time. Even if you would like to get on top of some concepts (like grammar) you can do that quickly. We always liked Winston Grammar, because it isn't drawn out over years. You don't have to do something year after year.

Having the variety your children have had - is a blessing to them. Some things worked better for some children, some years worked better. I know that for myself. Trying different things is not a bad thing. You know the truth of the matter is - that however you homeschool - there will be gaps! Definitely! But that doesn't matter? We've got to believe that God will work through and across the gaps, filling it in at the right time, if need be. He's preparing our children for the future and He chooses to use as His instruments (knowing we are frail and fallen).

I have been thinking a lot about choices in homeschooling and ways we do it - every family being so different. I addressed some of these things in my latest ezine (not even sent yet..), but here is some of what I have written:

Trust that God has a plan for your family.

All the time, we are being family, walking the road together, sharing our ideas, pursuing what we love, working as a family in keeping things neat, in place and with a sense of calm, God is moulding all our children.

As time moves on, He reveals more of who our children are – and as we chip away at the block of marble, we discover the person, the unique individual our creator has given us. His/her difficulty with math is part of who they are; His/her love for creative writing – is part of who they are; His love of reading, his love of pulling things apart – are all part of who they are. We do not need to undo this, or temper it, or sedate them to become what we want them to be – rather we need to work with them, encourage them in their strengths and help them to pursue their natural talents, and patiently work with them through their struggles to help them to become the best that they can be. Why? For Him who made us.

I am thankful to God for giving me six children each with very distinct and unique personalities and gifts. Some struggle in academics, some excel, some are quick thinkers, some take a long time, some love to write, some fall to pieces at the idea of writing, some are detailed thinkers, some have a big picture mindset. If I had one child, I would believe there was just one way to homeschool. However, having had six and still in the middle of homeschooling them, I realize more and more that there are many designs to education – a mix of approaches, a mix of resources , a mix of subject areas, and it can be mixed all through the years. One size does not fit all - each family has their unqiue design.

God bless you as you design your homeschool.

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Be confident in your choice
by: Gwen Thring

The biggest thing is to not second guess yourself all the time.

I've struggled with not thinking I was doing enough or not covering the 'right' things but my older children (20 & 18) are able to read and write fluently, interact with anyone in a social or work setting, do enough maths for their current roles and generally know a bit about the world and how we got here.

They both enjoy learning and are always reading something new, whether on the internet or in a 'real' book.

My younger children enjoy learning but they've all required different things to help them learn.

I've had a lot to learn myself, as I started out with very much a school at home attitude where I dictated everything but now I guide the older ones (15 & 12) in the areas they are passionate about while maintaining a structred English and Maths programme.

The youngest 2 (10 & 5) will gradually follow that path, too. Oh, and don't assume every homeschooler you see is confident. Many people look that way but are assailed by immense doubt as to whether or not they're being 'good enough' in what they're trying to achieve. So, don't be hard on yourself.

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Renew your homeschooling vision
by: Willemien

Hi there, You are a star coping with many children, physical sickness, homeschooling and loneliness all at the same time!

Wow, you should get perspective that you are doing well. Maybe because you are a people person you listen too much to others opinion, and you don't have to...in your email it is clear you have your own vision of what you want to achieve - which determine your curriculum choices. Maybe you are at a point where some more detail on the specific vision for your Gr7 child is needed, now that he can read and write well.

Questions such as : what is his interests? In which field of knowledge would he like to learn more? What are his idea of what to do with his life? These should help form your new vision, which will help homeschool curriculum choices. I have my own GR7, and we do LLATL for English and Apologia for Science.

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