Excuse Me, But…

Unless you have a child who loves to do bookish schoolwork from dawn to dusk (Yes, I know there are a few.) or are only using everything really piecemeal, then pardon me if I’m dubious that you’re really using those three full history programs, four full grammar programs, five math programs, a health program, a geography program, and, of course, three logic programs “for fun” that you have listed on your blog/Facebook/forum thread.

I’m guilty of multiple programs sometimes. Mushroom uses Miquon, but I throw in a little Math Mammoth or MEP sometimes and use the Right Start games pretty regularly as well as some iPad drill and practice programs.

However, if I was to try and do First Language Lessons, Writing with Ease, Michael Clay Thomas Language Arts, Growing with Grammar, Institute for Excellence in Writing and Bravewriter (Yes, I’ve seen people list that they’re going to do them all!) then there’s no way my children would love school or writing. And if we tried to do Story of the World and Story of US at the same time, then there’s no way we’d ever get truly focused on any flow with history.

I guess that’s just it. While I’m often tempted to buy and try several things, I’m learning that it’s much better to do one thing thoroughly than five things (no matter how great they all are) in bits. One of the important things I really took from Handwriting Without Tears (Who knew a handwriting program could have education philosophy applicable to so much!) is that less is more. Make children do less, but demand more each time. Slow it down, do it right. Don’t try to rush or cram everything in and work with more purpose.

Sometimes, you can assemble your own program with different parts of things, of course.  I use different resources to create our science program, for example.  And everyone has to do what works for them and their children. However, if you’ve just listed that you’ll be doing six math programs and broadcast it to the internets, then pardon me if I’m quietly rolling my eyes.

6 thoughts on “Excuse Me, But…

  1. We haven’t started any curriculum yet but I have seen some of the posts like the ones you mention. I’ve been busy researching what curriculum(s) might work for us and every time I think I find something I see a thread that says that it’s good, but if you use that alone there will be holes and that is generally followed by recommending a multitude of supplements. It has me overwhelmed. I needed to read this post today – thank you.

    1. I’d be dubious about programs really having “holes.” Different programs teach things in different ways and some are stronger with different things than others, but most respected programs don’t really have holes. Math and grammar programs may have different sequences so kids don’t get to some things until later. History, science, logic, etc. programs are just making choices. No one can learn it all, after all. Sometimes it is nice to have different resources for things that are genuinely supplemental, but one or two things – not five or six – and it’s not usually a must.

  2. I always wonder about that, too. I currently have two math programs going, but that’s one for each kid and their different learning styles, not supplements and ‘extra’ stuff. Heck, *I* don’t even want to deal with all that, and I know the kids don’t want to! I figure my job is to encourage them to like to learn, not torment them with indecision regarding curriculum choices.

  3. I’m considering homeschooling my soon to be kindergartener. Your blog is such a source of inspiration and information.

    Our public school has 8 kindergarten classes, each with 28 children. Since my child just turned 5 he’s really socially and emotionally behind the other children, not to mention diagnosed with ADHD. I feel like he really needs a year more.

    Thank you for putting the info out that you do, I appreciate the time you spend blogging!

  4. Hee. I wonder if we’re thinking of the same examples. I think some people are just curriculum crazy. They love to buy new curricula and handle them and plan them out and take pictures of them for their blogs, but I seriously question how much they ever finish.

  5. This made me laugh. When I look back on our Kindergarten year I admit that I was totally guilty of that. I am a chronic overplanner so I had originally planned for almost every minute of awake time. I even scheduled our play. But then after a month, I learned to let go and just take it minute by minute. My daughter and I both work better with a plan but it has to be flexible. I have also learned to use a MAIN resource and then have backups just in case they don’t got over too well. Anyway, you are right. There is no way to use EVERYTHING in it’s entirety while reaping the benefits of them all.

    Sidenote- my daughter HATED Handwriting Without Tears…. It’s was so funny because I thought she would love it but she was so much more interested in copywork.

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