Monday, January 22, 2018

The Details of Curriculum

We are back with week three of our Virtual Homeschool Fair, hosted by my friend Susan and Homeschooling Hearts and Minds.  Last week we talked about general Homeschooling Methods, but today the subject is Curriculum.

I want to begin this post with a confession- I have dreaded writing this one!  In the past, curriculum posts have been pretty straight forward, but well, this one gets personal.

Hang in and you will see what I mean.

I am down to just two students these days which is easier in a way and slightly sad in a way.  Schooling just two is less stress, but with two girls already grown, it is a reminder of just how fast time goes by and how fast they grow!  Cherish the moments, mamas!

The oldest is easier so let's start there.  He is a high school sophomore.  In the past we have done a lot of different things but have pretty much settled into what works best for us with a few tweaks.

  •      Math- Math U See Geometry  This is new this year, but we like it and recommend it.
  •      History- Sonlight
  •      Bible- Sonlight
  •      Literature- Sonlight
  •      Science- Chemistry 101 Series and Apologia
  •      Art Appreciation- Me (yep, I put together a simple 1/2 credit course because I wanted to!)
  •      Geography- Maps of the World (Emerald Books)
  •      Writing- IEW

Simple, straight to the point, and working well.  As our kids get older we encourage independent learning to help prepare them for college.  Next year our son will begin dual credit classes at the local college and we want to make sure he can hold his own.  So far, so good!

And then it gets complicated.  And a bit messy.  And very humbling!

Our last kiddo through the pipeline is our 10 year old who is in 5th grade.  He is my strong willed child that pushes all the buttons with mom.  Put him with someone else, and they sing his praises.  Put us together and we butt heads and struggle.  A lot.

I almost put him in a private school in January.  Quite frankly, I was at my wits end.

It was not that I wanted to send him off, but I really was thinking that to preserve our mother son relationship I had no other choice.

And then a friend talked to me about the Abeka streaming program, we tried a two week trial, and we started this week.

In no way do I want to sell you on this program, but I will quickly share why we are using it and how I feel about it.

I knew he needed an accelerated program.
I knew he needed someone else to be the teacher.
I knew it was a Christian program.
I knew we had to make a change.

And how do I feel?

Humbled.  Relieved.  Frustrated.  Thankful.  You name it, I have probably felt it this week!

Funny story!  When I began teaching our oldest almost 20 years ago we lived in Florida, not far from Pensacola Christian College (where ABeka is out of) so we bought ABeka and used it.  Not the video program, but just the curriculum.  Our needs eventually changed and we sold it.  All of it.  Or gave it away in most instances.  (So yes, I just RE-BOUGHT stuff I once owned.  UGH)

After several years of trying to do school just like the public school system, I finally got the courage to just TEACH my kids, not try to reproduce a system I felt was broken in many ways.  That's how things have worked around here for a long while.

Now my kiddo stands for the pledge of allegiance, sings songs with other students, recites verses, math facts, and spelling words, plays classroom games, and more.


But guess what?  He loves it!
  • He loves the competition with the other students.
  • He stands when they do and sits when they do.
  • He is learning all the songs and memorizes things with ease.
  • He listens to the teacher without arguing about every. little. thing!
  • He is smiling more and complaining less.
  • He is so proud of himself and his work.
  • He is not just learning stuff from the books, but also learning about diligence, and doing your best, and listening skills.
And even told me he thought that going to THAT school might be neat.

With that being said, I have to remind myself this is not about me.  It is about my son.

Who is learning and growing despite my failures and shortcomings.

Yes, I can get school done with him in half the time this program takes him.  And yes, I think some of the stuff is wasting MY time.  But the bigger picture is that it is NOT wasting his time if he is learning and loving the process.  Just because I would not choose to learn that way does not mean it is not right for him.

I tell people all the time that every kid is different and therefore learns differently.  Now is the time I have to believe what I say and act on it. To do something that may not have been my first choice, but for this season clearly is the right choice.

And the bonus?  We had a peaceful week with a lot more smiles and a lot less head butting.

I call that a success.


Looking for more curriculum ideas? Visit my fellow homeschool bloggers! 

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 22nd.
Our Homeschool Plan for 3rd, 6th, 8th, & 12th Grades by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Our 10th Grade Plans by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Planning Out Our Unschooling Studies by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
The Details of Curriculum by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Reflections of a Curriculum Junkie by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Freedom through nature journaling. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
How I pull together a homeschool curriculum without packaged curriculum by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
Our Favorite Curriculum and Resources - An Annotated Bibliography by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
Our 2018 Homeschool Curriculum Choices by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Top Home Educating Resources by Sarah @ DeliveringGrace
Homeschooling Curriculum We Are Using This Year by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Use the Force and Complete the Course by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Choices, choices - how to choose your curriculum wisely by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home
Our Curriculum Needs - grade seven by Annette @ A Net in Time
The Heart of Our School by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Curriculum We Have Loved Using by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
How to Avoid Gaps in Education by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
Tricky Subjects and Starting the Decision Making Process by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
High School Syllabus by TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy @ GoldenGrasses
How we Homeschool Together  Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine


  1. Thanks so much for an intriguing review! Some kids are "joiners" (DD) and others love to work alone (me). The Abeka streaming choice was something I wasn't aware of. Nice option to be aware of for joiners : ) (and, I totally get how frustrating it is for you to see it take longer than one on one tutoring : )

  2. I think it is great that you found something that works for him and that you are honoring his individuality by doing what is best, not necessarily what is easiest.

  3. Although we may know in our minds that every kid is different and has different needs, it can be a struggle sometimes to put that into practice. Especially when what the kid needs goes against what we would need if we were the student. It's wonderful that you were able to discern what you child needed and be able to implement it, even if it is not quite what you envisioned. And bravo for being able to admit it's not what you want.


Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from you!