I am honored and excited to introduce to you:
Suzanne, who blogs about book reviews, her beliefs, and life as a mom over at Books ‘N Moderation.
I have been homeschooling for 4 years now. Last year I sat down and really researched what direction and schooling do I want for my children. I firmly believe in unschooling, life learning, and education (different from schooling). Hubby really wanted a curriculum for the children and we found a curriculum that works best for me and my children. So I combine the lot. We spend a few hours a day doing “school” then the rest is life learning. However this post is about our boxed curriculum method. There are things I learned and am applying that I would like to share with you.
The main reason why I use a boxed curriculum is for the simplicity. You look at any boxed curriculum – Abeka, Christian Light education, ACE, Alpha Omega Publications – and you will find they are all categorized according to grade and subject. Voila, instant school. You figure out what subjects you want the kids to take and what grades they may be in and you have a complete education. Everything the kids need to learn are right there on the pages.
The next point would be independence. You give the child his school work and he works away at independently. With the younger grades this may not be possible seeing as they can’t quite read but by gr 3 or 4 they should be able to work away at independently. It gives them responsibility. You show them a goal chart or let them know “you have x-amount of subjects and x -amount of pages, finish it today”. This gives them the responsibility and independence to work at it themselves. For myself and my children, which are in gr. 1, 2 and 3, I personally sit with them and read through their work. The littlest one can’t quite read and the middle child needs some help as well. However, the oldest can work away just fine.
Along with independence comes time. Depending on the grades and work load this can take as little as a couple hours to a half day to a full day. I usually strive for a couple hours a day. This way the children get their education but still have the rest of the day to live and learn. I have also found that some children take longer than others. You might have a child get done quicker (my 2 boys) vs. one who is a little slower at picking up new concepts (my oldest daughter). I will also confess and say I am a bit lazy. So this works to my advantage. We devote a few hours to school, and then have the rest of the day to do chores, movies, play dates etc.
You are the boss. This kind of sounds contradictory to the last statement but here me out. And to me this is where my “life learning” comes into play. I personally don’t give my child their text book and say have at ‘er. I judge all the time. Does my child need to know this? (Example: Language Arts had a page that taught them how to introduce people. I felt I didn’t want to teach that so we skipped it.) Does my child already grasp this concept? My daughter practiced her hand writing by making a book, does she need to do hand writing in her text book? Questions like that I am always asking. I am their mother and very involved on their lives and education so I am perfectly capable to see what they should learn or not learn in the textbooks. So many times I have seen people make curriculum their slave and the children are miserable. I try hard to make curriculum my salve and just a means of supplying information to my children.
Lastly, would have to be peace of mind. Frankly this is why I use a box curriculum as opposed to other methods. I KNOW that my children are getting something. They are learning something that I might miss. They have a paper trail that if someone asks I can say “see they do school”. My hubby has peace of mind that his children are getting a good education and not just sitting around the home all day 🙂 (this kinda sounds bad but he is truly a loving hubby.) Also I find I am not very good at making unit studies or finding projects to do so a boxed curriculum gives me peace that we are just not spending our years in pleasure. I truly like using a boxed curriculum!
Guest post by: Suzanne is a stay at home mom of 3. She has 3 pets, 1 dog 2 cats. She is very dedicated to raising her children right. Her motto “Homeschooling is an extension of her parenting”. She blogs at Books ’N Moderation