When Your Kid Hates Your New Curriculum

 

When Your Kid Hates Your New Curriculum

My head might explode right now.

$400 and she hates it.

I’m having to resist the urge to tell her that the problem is that she is being lazy.

I wouldn’t dare say that out loud. She’s my baby girl. Not the youngest, but still my baby. Even in the 5th grade.

The curriculum is not hard, or over her head. It just requires effort. A different kind of effort than she is used to putting forth, yes, but not something she isn’t capable of doing.

We’re both in tears and now she thinks I’m mad at her.

I’m not. I tell her I’m not. I tell her to go take a break so Momma can think.

There has to be a way to make this work.

**********

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever found yourself two weeks into the school year with a curriculum that just isn’t working for your child?

I don’t have all the answers, but I can share with you what I plan to do for my daughter.

Finding Middle Ground

Step One: Listen – Take a deep breath and try to really hear what she is saying. Ask questions about what she doesn’t like, or what she is having trouble with and try (this is the hard part for me) to listen to her answers objectively.

Step Two: Consider what worked last year – I know, if it worked last year I wouldn’t have switched things up right? I’m wondering if the things I changed were the wrong things. Maybe I was wrong in my assumptions about exactly what didn’t work last year, and tried “fixing” the things that were working.

Step Three: Consider what really didn’t work last year – Here is where I need to think about what she said she didn’t like last year, and be open to the possibility that her maturity level has moved up, and what didn’t work then might work now. I also need to get to the bottom of why it didn’t work. Too much reading? Trouble with comprehension? Not enough hands on time? Did my new choice in curriculum eliminate those obstacles? Is it even an obstacle that needs eliminating, or is it something she really needs to just work through?

Step Four: Meet in the Middle – I listened, and what I heard was she wanted me to teach her like I did last year. Last year was more one on one, sitting on the couch, less computerized. Our new curriculum is completely on the computer. I considered last year, what worked and what didn’t and realized, with a heavy heart, that my decision to switch was mostly based on her older sister’s needs, not hers. Dad wanted more grades (or at least a more obvious method of determining retention of material), because their annual evaluations haven’t gone well. The new curriculum fixed that as it records their progress and assignments making it easier for me to show him how we are progressing. But my girl wants more one on one learning and less computer. So, I’m negotiating for a bit.

I printed out her lesson text and the chapter reviews. Tomorrow, we will sit on our couch, and read the lesson together. She can do the review questions with pen and paper, the way she is accustomed to doing them, and then she can key her answers into the software. If after two more weeks, she still just doesn’t like it, I’ll break out our other books (I’m not the only one that hoards homeschooling stuff, am I?) and let her go back to the way it used to be.

It’s a kick in the tail to have to stop, two weeks in, and accept that you may have made the wrong decision. This, however, is one of the blessings I find in homeschooling. I can change. I can adjust her lessons. I can adapt the style to better fit my baby girl. While I do not enjoy wasting money, I have two others that will eventually enter the fifth grade, so if we end up dropping the curriculum it won’t be a total loss.

Do you ever find yourself having to change it up before it even gets going? What did you do to adapt?

What was the biggest learning obstacle for your children?

 

Lisa Baldwin (61 Posts)

Disciple of Christ, Wife, Mother of Four, Homeschooler, Crafter, Designer (Graphics and CSS/HTML), Blogger. I share too much, laugh at the wrong things, and fall on my backside regularly. Thank goodness Jesus ignores all of that and loves me anyway.


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Three Truths Every New Homeschool Mom Should Know

This year is my sixth full year of homeschooling my children. Throughout these years, I’ve learned and grown so much. Here are three truths that, had I really known them at the time, would have helped me tremendously when I first started homeschooling:

Three encouraging truths that all homeschool moms need to know! I love the thoughts on # 3!

1) It’s possible to homeschool frugally.

The first year involves a lot of learning about what works for your family, including your teaching style and your children’s learning styles.

So, no matter how excited you are about the books you’re buying and the lessons you’re planning, whatever you’re using now probably will not be what you end up sticking with for the long-haul. And that’s okay!

There are so many free resources, like All In One Homeschool,” which is a complete, free online Christian homeschool curriculum. You can also browse the internet and visit your library for a plethora of information about every subject!

For visual learners (or on days when you just need a little extra ease), Youtube videos are great for science and Netflix can be utilized for educational purposes as well.

Or maybe, for your own peace of mind, you want to go with a relatively inexpensive box curriculum like a basic set from “My Father’s World.” That’s perfectly fine as well – just remember there’s no need to spend an exuberant amount of money homeschooling.

A great bonus to keeping costs down is that if something really isn’t working for your family, you can pitch it, guilt-free.

2) There is time to relax.

I used to think that I was too busy to relax, but the reality is that I have too much going on not to take time to refresh my spirit.

Give your kids a quiet activity each afternoon, set the timer, and take 30-60 minutes to refresh and relax. You could read a few chapters in a great book, take a warm bath, paint your nails, try a new hairstyle, take a catnap, or work on a hobby or fulfilling a dream (for me, that means writing as often as possible!).

A note of caution: If you’re new to quiet times, keep a pleasant attitude when you lay your children back down for the 15th time in 20 minutes. Eventually they’ll catch on and it’ll be worth your initial effort!

Relax

3) It’s okay to be imperfect!

As a recovering perfectionist, this was probably the hardest and most important lesson I’ve had to learn during my homeschool journey.

My job isn’t to be a perfect mom, to have perfect kids, or even to teach my children everything they need to know – my job is to love my children fully, to show them Jesus, and to help them to enjoy learning so they’ll willingly teach themselves anything they need to know as they grow older.

So while we should strive to do our best, we also need to be okay with the fact that our best isn’t perfect.

“And He said to me, ’My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV)

I’m going to share three more truths next week, but for now feel free to chime in the comments and let us know:

Seasoned homeschoolers: What would you add to this list of encouraging truths that every new homeschool mom should know?

New homeschool moms: What areas do you feel that you need extra encouragement?

Davonne (6 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at DavonneParks.com. Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”


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Socialization Starts at Home

Every once in a while that old question about socialization comes up:  How will your kids learn how to get along with others if they don’t go to school?

Because we all know that siblings come from the womb full of love and eternal patience for one another.  They never argue.  Never glare at one another.  Never annoy each other in any way.  We’re all just one happy family who are never challenged by each other.

{wink}Socialization Starts at Home @The Homeschool Post

From dictionary.com:

so·cial·i·za·tion

noun

  1. a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
  2. the act or process of making socialistic: the socialization of industry.

I think when most people talk about socialization, they are referring to the 1st definition.

Learning how to get along with other people is a part of being human.   It’s a part of learning to be a productive member of society, allowing  us to work, live, play, and have a fulfilling life.

Now, when I was in school, I did have to learn how to deal with other people.  Sometimes it was a matter of self-preservation.  It would have been impossible to avoid the society of others in a building with hundreds of other people.

But my children are also continually learning how to get along with other people.

It happens when the 14-year-old decides to avert his eyes while the 5-year-old attacks her PB&J in her preferred manner (from the top-down and inside-out) instead of sneering at her.

It happens when she decides to eat it the way that’s been modeled for her by her family.

It happens when the 10-year-old gently directs her younger siblings to knock on the door before bursting into her room when she’s changing, instead of screaming bloody murder.

It happens when the next time they actually do knock on the door.

Kids who live together, play together, and learn together also have daily practice in:

  • respecting the differences of others
  • respecting the privacy and personal space of others
  • conflict resolution
  • the consequences of conflict escalation (ahem)
  • compromise
  • repentance and asking for forgiveness.

I’m not saying that children who attend school don’t have the same opportunities, as they surely do.

But the stakes are higher at home.

Your family is a part of you.  Those knuckleheads at the local school may have a lasting impact on your child’s development, but I’ll tell you something—I’m in contact with exactly one person I went to elementary school with and a couple of people I knew in high school  and college (and only in the form of occasional FB comments).  I can choose not to deal with those people if I want.

But family relationships that don’t work out can leave a gaping wound in a person.  It may seem like you can get away right now, but eventually you may want to come back.

Family life is hard.

Extending grace to those who haven’t caught up to you developmentally stretches you.  In a way, homeschooled kids can be naive if they haven’t had to deal with some of the social ugliness that can happen at school…but in other ways, they can be more mature in their ability to accept other kids of different ages.

I won’t lie to you—sometimes they don’t get along at home.

It’s been a bit hairy at our house lately with the teenaged hormones flying around.  The heat and other stressors also come into play.  But in the real world, people sometimes have difficulty getting along.  This is another opportunity to learn.  As difficult as it is to see my kids fighting with each other, I know that we’re on the right track whenever I see them interacting with other people.

The other night we visited with some friends.  Six kids altogether and only four adults.  Yes, we were outnumbered.

But all the kids (ages 5 to 14) played together without incident for over 2 hours while the adults hung out and talked.  This wasn’t a case of the bigs watching the littles, but people being actively engaged with one another and enjoying one another’s company.  The only tiff happened at the very end when everyone was tired and we were getting ready to leave (and it was between two of my kids).

I see daily evidence of my children finding their place in the world.

I see it when they interact with other kids at the pool or park.

When they talk to the lady at the post office.

When they ask the librarian for help locating a book.

I see it when my oldest child leads his fellow Boy Scouts.

My kids are growing up in a safe home environment, not sheltered from dealing with the rest of the world, but supported in their growth.

How do you respond to questions about socialization?

 

Susan Anadale (6 Posts)

Susan is a wife, a mother, a Catholic, a teacher, a writer, a philosopher, a seamstress, a maker of things, an imaginer of worlds...I blog about our lifelong journey through learning at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds (my brain on the web).


A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART PROJECTS curriculum –ages 10+ -fulfills high school fine arts credit 10% off + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code: STL Offer expires September 30th http://www.seethelightshine.com***