Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Change Up

A Glimpse of Normal, change, unit studies, homeschool,

Every year we look back at our school year and see what worked, what didn’t work, and make decisions for the next school year.  This past year was a good year.  I survived teaching 2 different grades, helped to homeschool the little girl I babysit for, participated in homeschool group, and I had the opportunity to become a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  So what does all this have to do with the change up?  Let me tell you, but first let me tell you that I have struggled to write this post.  Why?  Because what I am going to tell you feels like I am speaking out against a certain curriculum and I am very scared that this is how that post will be received, but that is not my intention at all.  I still really love the curriculum that we have used in the past, I stand behind it 100%, but it is time for some change.

Honestly I have been stuck in a curriculum rut.  I found something that worked for us me and I just stuck with it.  We have been using Sonlight for both of our kids for the past several years.  It is a great curriculum and being an avid reader, I really love it because it is highly reading based.  While I love the ease of opening the planning book and having everything already planned out for me, it just hasn’t been working for Buddy.  He was learning a lot from all the reading, but over the last 2 years he has started to really dread school.  It started in 6th grade that he began to dread school and got even worse in 7th grade.  Buddy is a typical boy and will tell you that he doesn’t like school if you ask him, but deep down I know that he enjoys learning.  What I stubbornly realized after this year is that it was the curriculum we were using that was causing him to dread school.  Buddy really enjoyed many of the books we read this year, he has even talked about reading some of them again because he liked them so much.  What he didn’t enjoy was the amount of time we spent reading our curriculum each day.  Between reading for history, reading for part of language arts, reading for science, and reading for Bible, he was up to reading over 4 hours a day which is A LOT for a 7th grader.  I really had to dig deep and ask myself what I would have liked at his age and even though I have always loved reading, I can’t tell you I would have loved reading those subjects for 4 hours a day.  Now reading for fun, I could totally do that for over 4 hours, but curriculum stuff, not so much.  After chatting with some other homeschool mom friends recently, thinking over the past school year, and praying, I  knew that we had to do something different with our curriculum or we would continue to just make school a dreaded thing for Buddy.

It was funny to me that I had been thinking about this a lot and I felt that God was trying to get me to open my mind about our school curriculum again.  I really think that He has been trying to show me this for awhile, but I had closed that door – we had our curriculum, it worked okay, why change it?  I know that it was God that helped me find the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  It has been through the Crew that we have been trying different products for reviews and finding some awesome resources that have helped me see that I don’t have to just stick to one thing.  I know that God helped me get my spot on the Crew and I am so thankful for it.  I am thankful they picked this little blog to be a part of the Crew, that they let me wipe the dust off of this blog, and have encouraged me to be a regular blogger again.  I have found a creative outlet again that I do enjoy.  I know that God put the right homeschool moms in the right place at the right time for just the right conversation that confirmed my thoughts.  I am thankful that my hubby listens and makes suggestions and when we chatted about changing things up for Buddy, he was completely on board.  We sat down as a family and had a conversation with Buddy about if he wanted to change up our curriculum, what kinds of things he thought he would like to take out and add in (for the record he made suggestions, hubby and I have the final say), and we told him what we were thinking.  Buddy was on board and definitely willing to go in a new direction. 

So what are we changing?  We will not be doing Sonlight with Buddy this year.  We will however continue on with Sonlight for Little Miss, her reading doesn’t take near as long since she is at a lower grade.  I still feel that Sonlight works for her and she is loving all the reading.  For Buddy we have chosen to go in the direction of Unit Studies.  We will be doing in-depth studies of topics.  We are still working on picking the topics and I am doing the research to find materials for the unit studies.  He will still have language arts, math, and science textbooks, but then we are trying to work some of the history into the unit studies.  We will work some of the other subjects into the unit studies as well.  I don’t really have more details on what all the Unit Studies will include yet as we have really just decided to go this route in the last few weeks and I am still in the research phase.  Buddy has picked some great topics for some of his unit studies and I will share those with you in a later post when I have more put together.  We will also be doing reading for our unit studies as I know that every topic we will pick has books that will go with it.  I am really excited to make this change for him and I am excited to see his love of learning come back.  I hope that he doesn’t dread school so much this fall.  I am also blessed that we have found so many great products through the Crew that I can use to fill in and also enhance our studies for both kids.  I do admit that I am a little nervous to tackle lesson planning again, but I know that I can do it. 

Let’s chat!  I would love to hear your feedback.  How do you decide what to do for curriculum in your homeschool?  Have you ever used unit studies? 

6 comments:

  1. I love that you're intuitive enough to notice and humble enough to acknowledge when something isn't working. Kudos to you! Your Buddy will benefit tremendously.

    We have to shake things up here now and then, too. It's more work, but in the end, it's a good thing. I might follow your lead and switch to unit studies, at least for the summer.

    I'd be interested to hear how your next year goes. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I am sure I will be posting a lot more about how it all works for us.

      Delete
  2. I love unit studies! There are so many options! There are many out there,so don't feel like you have to do it all yourself. God bless you!

    Cyndi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cyndi - it was our conversation while we were camping that really inspired me to go in this direction. So I am sure I will be asking you all kinds of questions. You don't know what you have gotten yourself into. :)

      Delete
  3. One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can be flexible. My oldest daughter loves My Father's World for high school. It's very literature rich. But my son didn't want that all because reading is a struggle for him. He uses more of a textbook approach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it funny that the different kids in our house are different. My daughter cried thinking I wasn't keeping her on Sonlight because she loves the program so much and then cheered when I said I was sticking with it for her.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment, it means the world to me!