It is not a failure if a curriculum doesn’t work for you! Even if you purchase a professionally formatted, fully kitted, boxed, packaged curriculum, you will need to make adjustments for each child and yourself as you go along. No professional or expert can possibly determine the perfect fit for your family and for each individual!
Just as a travel agent provides a suggested itinerary for a tour to a foreign country, once you arrive, you may decide to visit different scenic stops, spend longer to more fully enjoy an experience, or decide to completely skip a section of the tour.
Here’s a golden rule ~ Work WITH your package and not FOR your package = Tailor-make your curriculum!
So how do you work with your package?
Find the pace that suits your children:
- Spend more time on any topic that your children enjoy. Don’t simply rush onto the next day on the schedule. If your kids sparkle with enthusiasm, feed it by encouraging them to watch additional videos, read other books, do some fun hands-on activities, etc.
- Read more/ or less each day. During our first year I felt completely swamped by the amount of reading I was expected to do every day. The sessions felt exhausting and I almost dreaded the schedule. Rather, I kept reading while the kids colored-in or did hands-on activities, or I read during meals, or I completed the daily reading at bedtime read alouds. As I gained experience, I realized that if I combined more children on the same curriculum, I maximized our learning experience and had far less individual reading.
- Spend more / or less time on certain subjects. Especially when starting a new curriculum, focus on just one or two subjects at a time and gradually add another subject each week, as your children master the new skills required for each subject. Don’t dive in and try to do everything right away. You may wonder how to keep the different subjects flowing together? On some days, focus on the subject you see is “falling behind” and you will easily catch up. Sometimes we spent a week just doing one subject and found it really enjoyable, kind of like an immersion approach.
- Add 6 months margin to the package year. This helped me more than anything — Just knowing that I had extra time to use as and when we wanted gave us a generous freedom and removed the stress and feeling that we would fall behind.
Personalize the curriculum:
- Focus on your children’s delights and interests.
- Add extras to any spark of interest your children show –go on outings, look for projects, job shadow professionals, borrow library books, watch suitable educational movies and videos.
- Do a unit study on topics related to the subject of interest, where you cover all the subjects focusing on a single topic such “Horses” or “Explorers” etc.
- Add a lapbook on the subject of interest.
- Ignore and pack away any books that just don’t suit your child or family. Don’t feel guilty! It is like eating off a fixed menu — not every dish will be to your taste.
- Adjust the activity to suit each child. Some children hate writing! Rather let them present oral narrations, or draw or build or calculate or design, etc. I created an excellent book “Narration Ideas” with over 100 ideas, options or templates for every types of learning style and temperate style. Find what your child enjoys and tailor-make your options.
- Don’t forget that you are an essential component of your homeschooling. Look for a package and approach that best suits your teaching style. Don’t buy a curriculum that stresses and overwhelms you. I love reading and literacy, so read alouds and literacy-based education worked perfectly for me. Another mom may prefer unit studies or project-based learning. Some moms want to teach, others want their children to lead. Whatever your preferred style, look for a package or curriculum or approach that works for you as well as your children.
I hope that this post encourages you to make whatever curriculum you have work best for you and your children.