Curriculum paralysis

Hey everybody,

We’re taking the summer off, and I’m taking time to reevaluate some of what we did or did not like this year. We used Flashkids this year for many of our core subjects. While it worked ok, it got a little dull after a while. That, and one of my kids was really “phoning it in” when it came to answering comprehension questions (as in, just writing “I don’t know” instead of trying to  find the answer in the text). I’m looking at other options and feeling paralyzed by choice.

I’m thinking of maybe trying time4learning as an all in one solution, but that would require us to have more (cheap!) laptops at home so that the kids aren’t all waiting to get on the computer.  I’ve also been looking at CK-12 and potentially getting certification over the summer. I want what we do to be a little more interactive and meaningful than the workbooks (although they have their place in our home as well),  but I also don’t want to be up all night before preparing elaborate demonstrations. I don’t want to buy homeschool kits that cost $800 per kid either.

Maybe I’m either too fussy or asking for the impossible, but suggestions or encouragement would be appreciated. 

I’m not sure if your only wanting advice on online curriculum only or not.   They have great options out there for homeschool moms that are not using online.  I am very eclectic and always have been,  My first few years I spent  a ton of research on all curriculums, but now I kind of know what is going to to work for my family.  My first suggestion is figure out learning styles and go from there.  I do not teach history and science in the same semester or year, but that may depend on your state.  This year we used Trail Guide (Geo Matters)  For our base and filled in or supplemented when needed.  Its pretty much open and go for moms.  My oldest can really even do most of it on her own after we tackled the first section together.   This also allows you to teach a lot of ages at the same time.  The curriculum is set up to age range through about 3-4 grade levels.  The older the grade the more complicated and thought provoking the tasks are.  Trial Guide includes history, geography,  science,  language arts, and art.  Like I said, if you  feel a few of the areas are weak in content you can supplement and make the science stronger with something else.  One year we did a year of Magic School Bus kits.   That was  of fun!   Don’t limit yourself to online only,  if you can try to venture out and use some other curriculums go for it.

on June 12, 2019.
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I hear what you’re saying. We’ve done Time4Learning in the past and we loved it, but it did require the boys to share one computer so it meant staggering their homeschool times.

Honestly if it came down to buying new inexpensive laptops or spending money on a homeschool kit, I’d buy the laptops for sure.

That way you can use a variety of online resources for schooling if you ever decide to do it that way again.

If I was looking to steer clear of prepping elaborate demos, I’d likely look to YouTube or other sources to help.

Answered on June 6, 2019.
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I would keep working with what you have, just modify it. Where it says to write in your answer, use that as discussion points instead without the writing. Where it has them read a long history passage or it’s covering a topic that seems to disengage – find a YouTube video or Netflix (if you have that) documentary on it to do instead. Use what you have as a guide to continue forward rather than changing gears entirely.

This ultimately what we’ve ended up doing. I started out using LifePac workbooks, got bored with it (kids and me), and changed to several different ideas over the years including online programs. Online programs are not more engaging or valuable than engaging directly with you. Several months ago, we went back to “boring” LifePac workbooks to keep tracking progress forward and I modify things as needed.

Last note: We took advantage of “Black Friday” online sales to get computers on the cheap for each of the 3 kids. This has been so wonderful! I’ve been teaching them how to do their own research (as guided by their curriculum or interest) and they don’t have to take turns. I also introduced them to Google Drive (or you could use DropBox Paper if you’re anti-Google) to compose their papers and engage in document sharing, collaborative editing, and how to print (the subtleties of nice printing vs. draft printing, etc to save money on ink). These are true life-skills in today’s age!

Good luck with whatever direction you decide.

Answered on June 11, 2019.
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I have heard about something called Power of an Hour that covers all core subjects plus some at I do stuff that imitates it because it’s really cool. Maybe that would help you out. It’s pretty engaging and interesting.

Answered on June 17, 2019.
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