When I chat with other homeschooling moms, many of them have same disjointed feeling in their first few years of homeschooling (and often beyond). Maybe its because they use a curriculum they like...almost. Maybe its because they use a curriculum they have pieced together from so many places they feel like its rolling down the hill in front of them and they are trying to catch up. Maybe it's because they have never found a curriculum that worked for ALL of their children. Maybe they just don't feel confident for the long haul or for some specific skill/subject that scares them.
The past few weeks as I weeded through my materials in hopes of better organizing my school room to meet our needs, I realized that I know more and have accomplished more than I usually realize. I am currently watching as my third student learns to read. That's THREE KIDS who learned to read primarily from our instruction at home.
What comes with that confidence boost is the realization that I have what it takes to chart my own course here. If I have language materials we have simply never used...or maybe used once every three years....it's ok if I put them away (or better yet give them away). I don't need the six or seven different phonics readers, reading series, card works, etc. I am now realizing what materials and presentations fit in with our style of homeschooling. While each child has not used the same materials for the same amount of time, they have gravitated to the same sets/types of materials on their learning to read journeys.
I don't need to use every lesson in those 4 inch binders in order to teach my children. In the same way, just because another mom purchases a complete curriculum she doesn't need to teach it exactly like it is laid out in the instruction manual.
AND THAT'S OK!!!!!!!
I always felt like I was cheating my kids when we were short in some subject areas or nonexistent in others (hello, Geometry). If it was in the manual I felt like I had to do that lesson because Montessori said so...even when I didn't really think it was all that wonderful (I will not list these lessons/materials I don't care for, just acknowledge that they are there). If I purchased a curriculum component I felt like I HAD to use it or else I was wasting money. If I saw a free card work then I would probably print it off and put it out, just "in case" someone found it interesting.
Now that's not saying we shouldn't try new things or that there is anything wrong with following someone else's path through the materials and manuals (or any curriculum for that matter), but I am formally giving myself permission not to.
With no regrets or feelings of guilt trickling down from that decision.
No assurances to myself or my blog readers that its "only temporary".
So what if it's not? This is our family's
As I continue to weed through the materials we have accumulated I am aiming to do a series post for each subject area as we have developed to teach it. Kind of my *philosophy* of each subject area. I'm working on language right now and I am excited to share our language journey with you! While I enjoy reading all sorts of homeschooling posts, I especially enjoy philosophy and curriculum posts because I learn so much from other moms. If you plan to post about your philosophy or curriculum choices be sure to let me know so I can check it out!