Saturday, May 22, 2010


This afternoon I sat down and started trying to put my lesson plans together for the upcoming year, I love doing this stuff but I need to take a break and just vent a little bit because I'm frustrated.

After spending an entire weekend knee deep in curriculum and lesson plans, I find that once again there is not a perfect curriculum out there for us. I love our eclectic style and our approach because it works for us, but I also want a curriculum that I can follow, that is already written and put together, that fits us so that I don't have to do it ALL.

Truth be told, I LOVE writing my own curriculum for my kids and I love coming up with my own ideas and activities, but I just don't have the amount of time or energy I need to get it all done, and the truth is, I am only really homeschooling one child right now, what happens when I'm homeschooling more than one?

This weekend as I was looking around at a curriculum that would work for Treyton, I noticed that he is performing in between the Kindergarten and 1st grade level in many areas. I don't want to spend our time (or money) repeating what he just learned (for example, letter sounds and CVC words), and I also don't want to push him too hard into a curriculum he isn't ready for. I don't mind what we're doing now, but I really wanted to find a curriculum that would help me out a little bit more, freeing up a little bit of my time.

I am attracted to the Sonlight, FIAR, My Father's World, Literature based unit study approach. I am also very attracted to Tapestry of Grace and the more classical approach to homeschooling... if there was just a way to combine all off these curriculums and find one that is a perfect blend without having to do it all myself and spend hours.... okay, days, doing it?

Sigh.... I know our school will be great, and I am not going to do anyhting that doesn't work for us, I just wish that there was a way to get it done without spending all of my time doing it.

Okay, enough complaining, it's time to get back to work!!


Ticia said...

I know what you mean about nothing being perfect. I tried My Father's World last year and it didn't work for us. It looks like you have an interesting assortment of stuff you're planning to use next year though.

Mandy said...

I have the exact same frustrations...and we're only doing preschool. I can only imagine how it will be when we get to kindergarten and beyone. I love creating lessons and making our own stuff, but there simply isn't the time. We have looked into all the same curriculums and would love to find something combining all the approaches!

Catherine said...

Hi Amber,
I was wondering how you felt about all of the planning when I read your post yesterday about your curriculum choices. I noticed that pulling all of that together would take a lot of effort on your part.

Have you looked at Heart of Dakota? It's a very Christ centered program. I have their K curriculum sitting here and I LOVE it and can't wait to use it with Rachel. The plans are all done for you which is so great in this season of life. I like to write my own curriculum to, but I have to be realistic right now with Baby 3 on the way. :) Having the plans done for me has allowed me to just enjoy the teaching experience and not get burnt out with planning and prep. :)

I looked extensively at MFW too, and although I was drawn to the themes and Bible teaching, the K program would have been too easy for Rachel who is already reading CVC words. Sounds a lot like Treyton.

This is turning into a pre-midnight ramble. Sorry!! I'll say a prayer for you tonight. I know God will give you the strength to accomplish whatever He's called you to. :) You work so hard for your kids and I know you'll reap great rewards from the sacrifices you're making now.


Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

You are so right - There isn't a perfect curriculum out there and part of the reason is because there are so many different theories and philosophies on how preschoolers learn. In my early childhood studies, I found that I enjoyed many aspects of different curriculum models but there was not one model that I would single out and use exclusive of all others. I also believe that since the growth of young children vary significantly from age to age and child to child, one will always need to adapt to the specific needs of the child and no curriculum will be able to do that for you. Best wishes in finding a curriculum model that you find to be most useful in helping you design your lesson plans next year.

Alexis said...

Oh daughter of mine! You are in my prayers - that the pieces will fall into place for you and praises for what you are willing to undertake. I soooo understand your frustrations - after the first year when I got over "say this to your child" because of my fear of "doing it wrong" we were all over the board (don't you remember?) One year we did it this way and one year that way, with that constant little nagging doubt always there that I was "doing it wrong." So, first let me tell you a few things you already know - 1)There is NO wrong way 2)There is no perfect curriculum 3)God is ultimately the author of your curriculum (Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things (math, science, phonics, etc) will come unto you) 4)Homeschool is a way of life; not school at home and life cannot always be neatly planned out.
Now, the motherly advice - First, believe it or not it is actually easier to teach more than one child so let go of the thought that your workload is going to double or triple as you add children in. Contrary to popular belief the younger grades are the hardest you are giving them their "tools" (reading, numbers, fine motor, etc)and showing them how they work, you are teaching the disciplines of listening, paying attention, staying focused, etc. Once this is accomplished the child will pick up a momentum of their own and life gets easier. Ok, I know this one is going to be as hard or harder for you as it was for me. LET GO - RELAX - ENJOY. Yes, you are going to end up writing your own curriculum because you, my daughter, will never find a curriculum that "fits" you to your satisfaction - you are constantly going to be making alterations. Whatever, the curriculum it will only be a model; a jumping off point - and you like me will probably use several models all at one time. Take it in pieces. Know your destination but not necessarily your route. Right now, fresh out of conference you are trying too hard to work at the "big picture" - the whole year, or semester. . . and I think this is part of what is frustrating you. Worry about next week, or the next unit and then go from there. You, Treyton, Lexie and even Tim are going to grow through the process of homeschooling and what you need today or next week will most likely be different than what you will need next month.
You have done a phenomenal job so far - you have learned how to work with your son and what works for him and when to work with him and when to be a mom and not a teacher. He is a very bright little boy and has a quick mind and a keen interest in the world around him. He loves the Lord and his family and has a beautiful spirit. Just keep doing what you are doing and LET GO of social expectations. (I have noticed in recent years that it seems we are expecting more and more out of children at younger and younger ages - they have prerequisites for kindergarten for goodness sake. Why are we trying so hard to steal their childhood?? It is such a short period of life.) Keep in mind this is a life experience it is NOT school at home. You are my daughter, you have my tendencies for order, control and perfection, learn from my mistakes LET GO - RELAX - ENJOY. Give your children the tools and create an environment in which they love to learn!! That's all they really need to know!! And remember that sometimes Less is More.
I love you.

Luke said...

Amber, while not perfect, Sonlight is guaranteed to be a program you and your family will love to use. And the beautiful thing about Sonlight is that you can customize/tweak it however you like. The schedule is flexible and open so you can make your school what you want it to be.

If you're still frustrated, please take some time to chat with a Sonlight Advisor. If nothing else, they should be able to help you figure out if Sonlight will be right for you and your family. But my guess is that they will be able to help you get a clearer picture of what resources you should pursue.