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Switching Things Up: My perspective and curriculum.

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I’m lucky to be able to say that I’ve taught in the public school system. It solidified my decision to not have my children go there, for sure, but it also gave me a huge advantage when it came to teaching my own children. I know, for the most part, exactly what I need to do and when I need to do it. I know what to look for in curriculum, how to adjust my style of teaching across a group of students with different learning styles, how to change things up at a moment’s notice if I need to, and how to research.

Even with all that, though, I still struggle. I still struggle with patience. I struggle with being quick to anger. I struggle with my expectations.

I struggle. It has taken me a looooong time to come to a realization that has been life changing for me when it comes to homeschool: I am SUPPOSED to struggle. Of course this isn’t easy! You know how you pray to be more patient, more kind, more organized, more…everything? If you want the fast track to the Refiner’s Fire…then homeschool. I can honestly say that there has never been a period of greater growth for me when it comes to those areas than since I’ve began the responsibility of teaching my children. Can everyone do this? YES. YES, YES, YES. I am not special…I am just learning. I am putting myself last and them first…and there is never a day where that is easy. Except today, since we went to the pool, lol! πŸ˜‰

So, part of this whole journey is trying to figure out what works for us. I am lucky. When you teach in the public schools, you don’t get to choose your curriculum. If the school chooses Saxon math, you do Saxon math, even ifΒ  you or your students don’t understand it. You don’t like a certain literature book? Too bad, you are doing it. Science curriculum too dry? Too bad. So, its extremely nice being able to use something and stop it halfway through and say, “This isn’t working, lets try something else.”

I got to this point with our Sonlight Language Arts program and our Sonlight Science program. I love Sonlight, I do. But this is why these two parts didn’t work for us. Here is a picture of the “sample” piece of writing that Jackson was supposed to do this week:

from my iPhone, sorry for the quality, lol!

Really? Raise your hand if you have a second grader who can write a story like that. *crickets* Now, I understand that they aren’t expecting this EXACT paragraph, but this is the only sample they give, so its hard to know exactly what they are expecting of a student. It would be much better if they would show the work of other second graders, or give realistic samples!

Also, another issue is that the Language Arts program is tied to the level of Readers (what they can read aloud to you) is. You don’t get a choice. So, if you have a student like mine, whose reading level is FAR above his language arts ability, you have a huge problem. We ended up stopping halfway through and went with a different LA program, which we love. We will still order all our literature (both Read Alouds and Readers) through Sonlight, but we won’t use the LA program.

As for Science, I can’t WAIT to show you pictures of what we are doing! We stopped using Sonlight’s a few weeks ago. This is why: you would spend all week learning about a particular sub-unit, like the animals of the rainforest or something like that. Then, you’d do an experiment on the fourth day that was a completely different lesson that had nothing to do with what you are learning about. So, we’d do rainforest animals all week, and then do an experiment on magnets. That doesn’t even make sense, and it would make it so much harder for me because I’d have to teach an entirely new lesson! So, we now use Apologia and it is phenomenal! I was lucky enough to attend a few workshops led by the author at a homeschooling convention I attended about a month ago, and I cannot speak highly enough of her or this program. Awesome stuff!

We are finishing up our first lesson in Apologia: Human Anatomy and Physiology (one lesson takes two weeks) and I’ll post pictures that show what we are doing. You will LOVE it! πŸ™‚

Side note: For those of you who send your kids to school…make sure to take some time to truly thank your child’s teachers. Most of them spend their own money outfitting their classrooms and buying supplemental stuff. They make, on average, about $33-35,ooo a year (in Arizona, at least) for about 50 hours a week of work, if not more. They are up late every night preparing and grading, researching and printing, cutting and pasting. So, as this school year approaches its end, perhaps bless them! Popular things they love are restaurant gift cards, movie tickets, Starbucks cards, gift cards to your local learning stores (like Lakeshore Learning), etc. A lot of teachers use a site called Teachers Pay Teachers, where they can buy pre-made unit studies, so a gift card/online code would be fantastic as well! I promise you, you will make their day! πŸ™‚

I’m off to make an edible cell with Jackson! Enjoy your day! πŸ™‚


4 responses »

  1. ok, seriously, you should do blog posts from what you’ve learn as a teacher…sort of like classes for us homeschool moms! seriously, Really like the “Refiner’s track…then homeschool” comment. I am really glad you told me to do First Language Lessons! It’s going really well.

  2. What are you using for LA? We are using Sonlight, and ALL of us hate LA, but that doesn’t make sense because my kids and I love to read and write. There has to be something that will work better for us, but I’m overwhelmed with all the choices.

    • Hi Trisha! We used to use Language Arts through Sonlight, but didn’t enjoy it either. We now use First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease published by The Well Trained Mind/Peace Hill Publishing. We love it; it doesn’t just throw young children into writing, but rather takes the time to make sure they know the foundation of language. Hope that helps!


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