Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves
Deciding to use a formal curriculum isn’t always a popular choice.
Admittedly, I felt like I was cheating a little bit. But I’m going to be honest and tell you, I’ve added hours to my day by handing over the task of coordinating learning materials for my middle school daughter to somebody else.
Dare I say… to the experts.
I’m inspired by the homeschool parents who plan dreamy, fresh, quality experiences day after day for their children, all in the name of learning. A part of me wishes I could do the same, but my daughter actually prefers a more predictable approach.
As homeschoolers, fostering individual learning styles is what we strive for. It’s one of our greatest opportunities. For us, curriculum it is!
The simplicity has grown on me.
There was a time when I created most of our plans and lessons. We homeschooled once before, during her fourth grade year. At the time, I purchased math curriculum only. The remainder of our learning was created by me, my girl, or the world before us.
It worked for us then, but it was fourth grade.
Middle school gets down to business.
I am not a physics, history, civics, math, or English teacher. If my child were to go to a middle school or high school, none of her teachers would be all of those things either.
Why would I assume I should be?
As children get older, their studies increase in depth and meaning with each passing year. The introduction or exposure to a concept that felt complete during the younger years, suddenly feels watered down to a preteen that is developing their analytical mind.
If I created the quality of lessons and activities my daughter is currently exposed to daily, I would be up late each night planning them, missing precious family and personal time. I’d also be left too exhausted the next day to enjoy the process of learning at home.
In a perfect world, I could do it all. Well, we all know perfection is unattainable, and trust me when I say, the process of me designing curriculum would be a slow one.
Curriculum is an efficient use of time.
Though incredible opportunities for learning happen at any given hour of the day, we hold a window of time daily for our formal studies. My daughter craves the rhythm of this routine. She knows each morning there will be a fresh daily schedule waiting for her in the school room, somewhat different from the day before, while still feeling familiar and somewhat predictable.
Throughout our work time, I find pockets here and there to go over her work from the day before, and prepare lessons from her texts and my teacher’s manuals for the following day.
Around 3:00 each afternoon, I close my planner and my school day is done. I can go about my evening confident I’ll pick things up with ease in the morning.
Endless opportunities are available to us.
Homeschooled, unschooled, or public schooled families who supplement at home – we’re all in this together. The choices for academic materials available today, in any price range, are as vast and diverse as you would ever need them to be.
It’s an amazing time to be teaching our children at home.
Personally, I have found educating a middle school child to be a rewarding full time job. As much as I love this choice we’ve made, heading into overtime each night to reinvent the wheel would be a perfect recipe for this mama to quickly burnout. And you can imagine, that would not be a simple thing for anyone in the family.
What is your best tip for keeping the teacher’s job simple? Has curriculum simplified or complicated your homeschool experience?