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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***ART CLASS curriculum: 10% off + 10% off on all other products in order + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code : HSP Offer expires August 31st. www.seethelightshine.com***

Lesson Planning Made Easy with Lessontrek {review}


Are you like me and write things on scraps of paper, only to lose them later when you need them? How about keeping several separate notebooks, binders, and even computer files so that all your thoughts and plans are scattered and stored in different places? I’ll confess to being guilty of that one, too.

I wanted to try something that could keep things organized and in one place with a system that I could use consistently. Lessontrek is a new online record-keeping software designed to make homeschool lesson planning and grading so much easier for parents.




How It Works

Lessontrek offers monthly ($6) and yearly ($60) subscriptions.  The interface is straightforward and easy to use.  Setting up students is a quick process.  This is a screenshot of the student profile setup:


Lessontrek Student Profile screenshot

  • Lesson tracker
  • Grade recording
  • Drag and drop lessons to another weekday
  • Copy/paste lessons across weeks
  • Copy/paste an entire week of lessons
  • Print weekly lesson plans
  • Secure information storage
  • Customer support
  • Ongoing improvements based on your feedback

As a new product, Lessontrek is being improved all the time.  New features are in the works, including transcripts, attendance tracking, gradebooks, and more.

Lessontrek also offers a free 14-day no risk trial so you can see how it works before committing to a subscription.

How I Used It

My girls are 12, 7, and 5.  We are relaxed homeschoolers, though our state is highly regulated.  We tend toward delight-directed, almost unschooling, literature-rich studies.  Record-keeping and lesson planning are necessities, but they aren’t easy for us.

Even though we don’t fit neatly into a homeschool method category, Lessontrek worked for us because it is so flexible.  You can plan ahead and create assignments for your kids, as well as assign grades for those lessons. This works well for my oldest daughter who is starting middle school studies this year.  I’m beginning to consider things like credit hours and transcripts for the future.  *gulp*

Or, you can use the system as a way to keep records of what you have actually completed rather than what you plan to complete.  I often write things down after the fact because my two youngest girls are still little and we don’t do everything in a formal way.  I still need to keep track of it for the school district and Lessontrek works well for this.

Like any tracking and grading system, whether paper or digital, consistency is the key. No system will work unless you make it work for you as part of your routine.  That’s where I’ve fallen apart in the past.  I like pen and paper systems, but I often end up spilling tea on them or accidentally tearing pages.  The storage issue is a problem, too.  I want to make digital work for me because it really is practical in the long run.

Some of the features I like best include copy/paste and drag and drop.  These are big time savers and make things a lot easier for me since I tend to move things around when our studies change due to delight-directed detours.

I used Lessontrek on my desktop PC running Windows 7 and a Firefox browser with no issues.  It also works with Chrome, Safari, and Internet 10+.

Save 50% off a yearly subscription

Lessontrek would like to offer ALL of our readers 50% off a 1 year subscription. This makes it very affordable for even tight budgets. Families can get a full year access to Lessontrek for just $30.  Just click the $60 yearly subscription choice and enter the code 2IOL50 in the Payment Info section.  Your credit card will be charged $30 for a full year and then renew for $60 each year thereafter.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use digital homeschool lesson planning and tracking system that can be accessed from anywhere with any of your computers or devices, you should consider Lessontrek.



Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Lessontrek.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.


Sara (25 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART CLASS curriculum: 10% off + 10% off on all other products in order + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code : HSP Offer expires August 31st. www.seethelightshine.com***

Rethinking Achievement Testing



As you were growing up and receiving an education, you were taught in certain ways, using systems and procedures that you eventually assumed to be the “correct way” to teach and evaluate students. Public schools teach using the curriculum of the state; that is, subjects that can be evaluated through national achievement testing. As a child, you might have been allowed to pray in school, but Bible or spiritual training was not a part of the state’s curriculum.

This “measurable academics only” approach is based on Greek philosophy. Today’s parents generally believe that achievement testing is the only or the best way to assess a child’s development and educational advancement.

An old story illustrates how easy it is to be conditioned into a wrong thinking pattern. A husband asked his wife why she always cut off the end of the rump roast before roasting it. She replied, “I’m not sure why. I’ve never thought about it. My mother always cut off the end of the rump roast, so there must be a reason.”

A few weeks later Mother visited the family. The man asked his wife’s mother, “We were wondering, why do you always cut off the end of the rump roast before you roast it?” She replied, “I don’t know. I have never thought about it. My mother always cut off the end of the rump roast, so there must be a reason.” This made them all curious.

PrimeRibRoast5They decided to call the wife’s mother’s mother—the grandmother—to ask her. Grandmother answered the phone. The husband asked her, “Your daughter, granddaughter and I were wondering, why do you always cut off the end of the rump roast before you roast it?” Grandmother replied, “Oh, my roasting pan was too small. I had to cut it off it for it to fit in the pan!”

Many of us have been conditioned to believe that “the state” has all the answers and that a staff of very educated people created the state standards. These educated people, chosen by the state, surely know more than parents know concerning what children need to prepare for life.

There are many good home-school books, support groups and workshops available to help re-condition (un-brainwash) parents who realize that the state system does not work. It does not do a good job of educating our children or evaluating our children— there are better ways. It is possible to train and educate our children while maintaining God-honoring perspectives.

Why do I think there are so many misled parents? For many years, I have presented a monthly workshop for parents interested in home education. Each session included a question-and-answer period. Even though the majority of the parents were considering home-education for religious reasons, the questions asked made it easy to determine that most parents have been indoctrinated with a “public school mentality.”

faqThe most frequently asked questions pertaining to teaching and evaluating home-schooled students are:

  1. How do I find out if my child is required to take the achievement test?
  2. How do I know if I am meeting state standards?
  3. How do I know if the curriculum I am using includes everything on the Achievement Tests?
  4. Shouldn’t I use textbooks, such as the schools use?
  5. What about college?
  6. What about algebra, higher math, and lab sciences?
  7. How will Goals 2000, Outcome-Based Education (OBE), or the new national standards affect the achievement tests?
  8. How do I know that the material I am using will prepare my child for life?
  9. How do I motivate my child to learn?
  10. What about grades?
  11. How do I really know if I am doing enough?

It seems that the state has conditioned many parents to fear teaching their own children. Even the parents looking into teaching kindergarten or first grade at home fear they are not qualified to teach simple things such as the alphabet and basic addition.

Of course, we all want our children to do the best they can do in all areas. But, what is the most important thing you can do to prepare your children for life? Teach him algebra, computer skills, writing skills? In all the workshops I have given I have heard the previous questions over and over. But never once has anyone asked:

  1. How can I find out what God’s will is for my child?
  2. How do I determine my child’s God-given gifts?
  3. How will I know if my child is saved?
  4. What does the Bible say we should teach to our children?
  5. How did godly men and women teach their children in Bible times?

Many people tend to view life as quartered: partly religious, partly educational, partly professional, and partly leisure-oriented. Yet, everything we do, regardless of occupation—home-maker, businessman, ditch digger, dentist—we should do unto our King. We should be praising and acknowledging Him in learning, work, recreation, and worship—in all things. In the same way, our children need to see their lives revolving around our King—their writing, reading, daily routine, studies, experiments, and friendships. We need to renew our minds—consider God’s ways first!

Before planning the school year, reflect and pray. The Bible says that no one builds a tower unless they first consider what is necessary (Luke 14:28).

The primary purpose of education should be to train the whole person for lifelong, obedient service, just as it was in Bible times (home was the center for education then). God never changes. He still has the same desire for us to know Him.

Our first goal must be to teach our children God’s ways and His paths. We home schoolers cannot be so worried about fractions or spelling that we skip the one needful thing: sitting at the feet learning from our Master, through Bible study and prayer. We can prepare our children for whatever direction their gifts and talents lie; however, God may take your child in another direction.

A Christian who is striving to find God’s Will for his life will be equipped in the important traits, prepared for anything in life.

Knowing the facts and scoring high on achievement tests is not a formula for success. The education required by the state is not true education. Christians’ questions should not be, “What score did she get on the achievement test?” or “What job or college is he prepared for?” The questions should be, “Is my child prepared to use the gifts and talents God has given her to carry out His Will in her life? Is this child seriously directed toward holiness, right relationships, and fruitfulness?”


In our achievement-oriented society, significance or importance is equated with intellectualism. Even Christians tend to evaluate worth on the basis of achievement scores instead of who we are in Christ. Is it right to put our children on a performance scale to measure their worth and significance?

We’ve got to give up cookie cutter academic achievement goals and seek God’s standards. We must view each child as a unique individual (with different gifts and talents). God gave us these precious blessings with an instruction Manual —the Bible. The more familiar we are with the Manual, the more effective we will become in our teaching.

God promises to show us the way when we obey Him. F. B. Meyer writes about Abraham’s obedience, “There is nothing that God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the mist; who then finds rock beneath him as he puts his foot down.”


This post is an excerpt from What Your Child Needs to Know When: According to the Bible/According to the State



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***ART CLASS curriculum: 10% off + 10% off on all other products in order + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code : HSP Offer expires August 31st. www.seethelightshine.com***