One size fits all boxed curriculum never worked for my family. Oh, we still bought it. We sliced through the pretty packaging and struggled through the first quarter of a school year. I always found myself cutting and pasting pieces to where they worked for each individual. Soon, my once stellar study plan, looked like a mod podge of torn worksheets, whited out goals, and inked in adaptations. Basically, it was nothing like what I’d purchased.
It didn’t take me long to realize that our family was not a checklist, worksheet, “just like everyone else’s” family. Even with only two kiddos, splicing curriculum had to follow two completely different paths. No matter the provider or system we were never one size fits all. I’m betting your family isn’t either.
Here’s a peek at what works for us.
My kiddos tackle the “boring” individual tasks and assignments. Math and handwriting usually fit in here. They both use a completely different curriculum and they both need different levels of my interaction. My eldest sneaks reading and P.E. into this portion of the day.
We all love to talk. Together time is our favorite part of the school day. Starting close to 11 am, we gather lunch or snacks in tow and read. This portion gets some core subjects completed. history, science, Bible, and fun reading all get discussed. For one student in one subject, the discussion is enough followed by a hands-on experiment or craft. For the other, our debates continue and morph into in-depth essays and reports. Even together time is individually geared.
We all share the experience but we all take something different away from it.
Splitting up once again, my kiddos get instructional coaching time from me. This is usually in one subject where they need remediation or where they’re just plain stuck. Other than that afternoons are liberating.
One student dives into stop animation with Legos. Complete with storyboards and plots, I count this as quality writing, grammar, and spelling time.
The other student heads outdoors. They mess in their garden. Or record and upload a relaxation video on YouTube. This kiddo needs a lot of outside exploration time. They discover all kinds of things about plant and bug life that I never knew. Sometimes we hunt a book to explain these phenomena but mostly we enjoy learning together.
Learning is a whole day long experience for one’s entire life. It doesn’t stop when the clock strikes 3. And, at least at our house, it truly gets going once the textbooks are resting in bookbags.
We cook together. Shop together. Serve together.
For many years we led Sunday School as a family, we babysat, and cleaned grandma’s house. Some of our best educational experiences unfolded naturally in these situations.
One kiddo, too old for the nearby AWANA program, surrenders one night a week to serve as a teen leader for the group. This has been their choice for over 3 years. There my kiddo learns leadership, patience, compassion, public speaking, and mentoring skills. Just by participating in something they’re passionate about.
Lessons like these are what our family homeschool is all about. Not worksheets and test scores. But skills that grow gifts of the spirit and bring our hearts closer to Gods.
And since God cannot be contained by a one size fits all box, neither does our pursuit of Him.
May God continue to bless your individual homeschool journey and the individuals you’re leading.
Sarah- the Late Night Coffee Mom