What we are using

03 January 2009

Changing Just to Change?

Let's all pretend that the upcoming school trimester is what I am really thinking about - no, I am NOT thinking about the plane taking BB to Tokyo in less than 36 hours. I was working really hard to convince myself that I needed new math programs for both girls (who is going to teach them math when BB is gone?), Latin and French for CC, two more writing programs for CC, a reading program for LB, Artistic Pursuits at two levels (one for each girl) and a bunch of other things. When my shopping cart on Amazon, Rainbow Resources, and Sonlight each exceeded $200, I realized that maybe I was doing more than getting the stuff I needed for the next trimester.

I started thinking about why we change things in our home schools. I have changed things because they weren't right for the child. I have changed them because I could not teach them. I have changed things because I naively expected a product to do the teaching work for me. I have even changed because I was unwilling to put in the work to teach something although I had a much better sounding reason at the time. A couple of times, I changed things just to change them.

I am getting better about changing things. I think it comes with experience. My sister-in-law is working hard on her Ph.D in secondary education. Her thesis has something complex to do with how teachers learn to teach. I think that often homeschoolers undervalue experience in teaching. We naively equate teaching our kids to walk and use a potty with learning to read and do calculus. Teaching is hard, but that is a different soap-box. This one is about change.

Change is good. I am changing some things this trimester. We will do formal grammar. We will do more geography. I am replacing Writing With Ease with IEW Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales. We will do Artistic Pursuits. I know why I am changing. I had planned to do more writing because CC is learning faster than I had imagined. I am doing more art because she is very artistic, and it is her passion so I am using it to tie our other studies together and give them life. I am adding more geography with a special emphasis on Japan and Asia hoping that learning more about it will help to shrink the distance to BB who is soon leaving us for Tokyo.

Change can be good. I did close all of my shopping carts without hitting "Buy," but I do relly need to order that IEW.


Lorna said...

Yes, I was worried early on in out home school experience by an article by a young woman who was home-educated. Her most abiding memory was her mother always coming up with new methods and new curriculum and, of course, renewed zeal.
It is good to step back from time to time and recognise what is working and what is not - after all that is one of the great advantages of home education. But I wonder sometimes about the temptation to 'throw the baby out with the bath-water'. Continuity is essential to making most curriculums work. Education is cumulative, and slow.
What a huge landmark in all your lives. You should be very proud for raising such an adventurous and independent young man. One of our best friends teaches English in Japan. He is very, very happy there. I am sure your son will continue to grow and grow, equipped with all that he has learned so far.

Mama Peep said...

Here! Here! Change is good but too much can be daunting on the little ones. Good for you for not hitting BUY. It is so tempting!

Patricia in WA

PS. I think one level of AP would suffice your children. I am using one level with the 12, the 10 and the 7 year old.....so far so good!