Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves
Of the many gifts that come with homeschooling, the one I am truly loving right now is the freedom to make changes as needed. Doesn’t it seem rather impossible to sit down over the summer and plan an entire school year, sight unseen, knowing how the whole thing will unfold?
Despite careful research and planning, the science curriculum we chose was all wrong for our daughter.
And it wasn’t for lack of trying. Several approaches, on our part and hers were put forth in an effort to find a workable place with this text. We very carefully considered the idea of switching before doing so. Sure, we invested good money in the book; but more importantly, we value commitment and dedication, and do our best to instill those same values in our daughter. We didn’t want to send the wrong message.
You can’t walk away from everything in life that isn’t super fun.
I don’t expect her to feel warm and fuzzy about every single part of our school day. As humans we need to grow and stretch ourselves in new directions. It’s okay to be bored sometimes, to persevere at other times, be diligent, work hard. As a family, we value all of that.
However, it is also important to know when your child isn’t persevering, they’re enduring. There is a difference.
The writing on the wall says it’s time to make a change.
How did we know it was time to move on?
The subject was not self initiated.
- Yes, I believe a little struggle builds character, but having a bad day or a bad chapter in a subject is not the same as almost never having a good day.
There was no lingering.
- We look for the lingering moments as homeschoolers, don’t we? The lesson provokes an idea that leads to research and ten books checked out of the library. The concept is applied to all sorts of play long after ‘school’ is over.
She used to love this subject.
- Years prior, in school and in play, science was always thought of as cool, fun, interesting! Now the spark was totally gone and there was only one variable in the equation.
It was over the holidays that we made the exciting decision to switch - because we can, we’re homeschoolers! We are free to redirect ourselves as needed, and it felt incredibly good to put that freedom into action.
How are things now?
I am not kidding when I tell you that all is not only good in our science world, things are excellent and there is even talk about it being a “favorite” subject.
- There are twice weekly experiments.
- A “lab journal” that is added to with each experiment.
- The textbook layout aligns with my daughter’s learning style (orderly).
- Assignments are well organized.
- Critical names, dates, definitions are nice and bold, italicized, featured.
- Lessons flow with a familiar sequence.
- A companion DVD contains supplemental videos and demonstrations.
The reason we let go of one curriculum (Oak Meadow – Physical Science) and made a new choice mid-year (Apologia – General Science) has little to do with one being better than the other. They are designed very differently–and that has made all the difference for the style of learner my daughter is.
My daughter likes the systematic flow that Apologia offers. Modules are well organized with key words and phrases clearly emphasized. There are plenty of experiments that work well and are presented in a clear step-by-step approach with a useful list of supplies for each one. There is a pre-test and and a final test with each Module, giving a sense of completion and accomplishment (for kids that seek that type of experience). These are all methods that work for her as opposed to the slightly more organic approach of Oak Meadow. Assignments and experiments are more blended into the lessons, sometimes catching us by surprise from paragraph to paragraph.
For us, it was about finding the correct style with which to deliver the content.
It is so easy as a parent to wonder – am I doing this right, was that the best choice, do I show enough grace and patience? We can be pretty hard on ourselves. So indulge me as I get a little mileage out of this (not so minor) success…
We didn’t love science, and now we do love science. All because we read the writing on the wall and decided not to worry about the financial investment of the first curriculum, but rather focus on the overall investment of the human experience. I think we got this one right.
Have you had a recent highlight in your homeschool? Big or small, tell us about it.