What to do when the curriculum / teaching method you’ve chosen isn’t working.
My early years of homeschooling were admittedly tough on our budget. I went ‘all in’ – buying pricey boxed curriculum; generally workbook style and even investing in expensive Answer Keys… for KINDERGARTEN.
What I didn’t take into account was my kids were much more ‘hands-on’ learners. Traditional textbook/workbooks bored my oldest two. Since we had so much invested, I continued to insist we use e-v-e-r-y page. The kids grumbled, dragged their feet (or was it hands?) and were bored. Frankly, so was I.
It took several failed attempts before finally settling on a variety of methods and curriculum resources to fit. As my younger kids aged, I was certain I had it figured out.
Lesson learned: One size does NOT fit all. Kid #3 THRIVED on the very textbooks we had left behind at our last duty station. Then, what worked for a child last year suddenly lost its appeal. Terrific – NOT!!
What can you do when the curriculum or teaching method you’ve chosen isn’t working?
First – what NOT to do!
Don’t keep pushing through without taking a break to re-evaluate. Too many failing school systems do this to kids. We don’t need to copy the same!
How can you tell if a curriculum or teaching method isn’t a good fit for your child?
⎫ Poor or failing grades
⎫ Child is constantly whining / complaining or disinterested
⎫ Curriculum seems too easy or too difficult
We do give any new curriculum a fair shot. Within 4 – 6 weeks we generally can tell if something is going to work for us.
Take time to review the level of engagement your kid(s) has with your current curriculum. This isn’t a matter of simply a kid griping about doing school… but instead trying to discern whether they may have a legitimate complaint.
If you find what you’re using truly is not a good fit you have a few options to choose from:
1) Take a break!
Maybe it is just the daily grind getting to them. Take a day off (or a few!) to evaluate the + / -‘s of what you’re using and actually listen to your kid’s feedback. Their insight may give you a clue what to try next!
2) Change course
figuratively and literally! Maybe, (like my example), your child needs a different learning approach. Is there a learning disability which could be contributing to difficulties with reading or processing information? Seek out an alternative which better suits your kid’s learning style preference.
3) Mix it up!
For our family, I’ve discovered a mixed (a.k.a. somewhat jumbled) approach works best. We use an online curriculum which appeals across the board to my tech savvy kids and I can custom-fit by subject to their need. From time to time, however, we switch gears – doing a unit study on space or immersing in a living history or cultural experience based upon where we’re stationed.
Obviously you can do your best to choose curriculum options which (you think!) will best suit your kids. Before diving in with your wallet, start small. Use demos for online options. Buy small amounts of used curriculum to test drive.
Above all – remain flexible! While much of military life is centered on rigid guidelines, educational choices remain within your control. Know you can change course and find the best path for your homeschool journey!
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