How We Use Curriculum

Dear Reader,

Sometimes I feel a little dishonest when I say we use this or that curriculum. We do use prepared curricula for some subjects. But I am not sure there is anything where I just start at the beginning, follow manufacturer’s directions, and work through to the end. I am constantly tweaking and very often shortening.

And this is all a good thing I think. I see a lot of other homeschool moms wear themselves and their children out doing every problem. If the child gets it, move on. If they don’t get it, maybe a different approach is needed. Or just more time.

Here is an example of what we do. We use Math-U-See for math which I am pretty pleased with overall. But I have never once looked at one of the instructional videos. I have only rarely cracked the teacher’s manual. So far the concepts have been such that I can explain them to my kids on my own. I explain; they do the pages. I like to cover one chapter a week so given that each has 6 pages we usually miss at least one. Often we don’t do every problem on a page. This is especially true as the work gets harder. My brain would go googly if I had to do 10 long division problems in a row. I would get a calculator. So I want my kids to be able to do 2 or 3 and get them right, but I see no reason to expect them to do a page full. I don’t think the amount of work Math-U-See gives is overwhelming. It is less busywork than other math curricula I have seen. But sometimes it is still too much, either because it is hard (like that long division) or because some parts are just so easy the kids get bored.

We have had a similar approach with the grammar curricula we have tried. There is just too much work and repetition there when the point has been gotten. And often too much writing. I don’t mean creative writing type things but having to write out sentences so you can analyze them. My oldest boy has gotten better but for  a long time he could only handle so much writing things down a day. If I want him to be able to write answers to his math problems, then I can’t require him to write out sentences for grammar.

Maybe I am just too picky, but I have not found the perfect curriculum for anything yet. They all need tweaking, which I am happy to do. And I would encourage you, especially newer homeschool moms, to do so too. As a homeschooler, you will be aware of what your kids know. Don’t kill their love of learning by belaboring a point that they have already gotten.

Nebby

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One response to this post.

  1. […] Is your curriculum the boss or the hired hand? Letters from Nebby writes about How We Use Curriculum. […]

    Reply

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