Wednesday, July 11, 2012
So, What Will it Be?
The last time I wrote about homeschool curriculum, I had no idea what I would be choosing for this upcoming school year. I had just begun reading about classical education because I was interested in knowing the philosophy behind it and how it is implemented in the homeschool setting.
As it turns out, just like pretty much every educational philosophy I've studied, classical education has aspects that appeal to me and seem sound, and others that I feel leery of. So, once again, I wish to implement what I consider to be the better-for-us ideas and leave behind what I can't bring myself to agree with. I've always had an eclectic view of education, and apparently that hasn't changed. :)
One of the best things I like about classical education is the emphasis on learning from "whole books" instead of textbooks. Textbooks typically give a limited picture of a subject, where as whole books usually include so many more details and a more complete look at a subject. Now, this is not to say that textbooks are evil and should not be used! Little Mister has been educated thus far using lots of textbooks, and I think that method was just what he needed for those years.
So please don't be offended if your child uses mainly textbooks, thinking that I'm saying those are inferior. My point in blogging about homeschool is never to compare myself and my ways to anyone else and their ways. It's simply to record and remember OUR journey, what works for US! If that happens to help or encourage anyone along the way, so much the better. But I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.
I also like the idea of Little Mister doing more hands-on projects and writing and thinking through things--learning to THINK for himself. I don't like the idea of doing away with testing altogether, but of trying other ways of examining what he has learned in addition to occasional traditional testing.
At some point after I wrote the aforementioned post, something clicked in my mind. I found myself thinking about a curriculum my sister has been using for a few years. It's very different, and, though I had always enjoyed hearing about it and what my niece and nephews were doing in school, I never felt ready for such a change. But now I couldn't get it out of my mind, so I finally called my sister, Julie, and picked her brain about it for quite awhile. She was an angel to answer all my crazy questions and very patient when I had to go back to review what we had just talked about. lol
Suddenly, this curriculum sounded like JUST what I was looking for! As I mentioned in the other post, Little Mister had begun to dread school, and I have been feeling very unchallenged as a teacher. I knew it was time for a new approach, at least for a year, and I was so excited to try this new-to-me curriculum.
Then Julie offered to lend me the volumes that she would not need for this coming year, and with the price of this stuff being what it is, her offer was a gift from heaven! Not only that, but the volumes I did need to buy were available for a song at my favorite home education used book store. The very ones I needed were the only ones the store owner had at that time! My hubby agreed that it seemed almost like a confirmation from the Lord that we were headed down the right path.
So, what is this curriculum we've chosen to challenge ourselves with for the next year? It's called The Weaver. I don't think it's one of the better-known ones, though Alpha Omega now publishes and sells it. I had never heard of it before Julie started using it. I think it's what you could call unit studies, as all the subjects center around a theme for a scheduled period of time, before going on to another theme. All the subjects (even health!) are included, except math.
I love the central focus of The Weaver--the Bible! I love, love, love that! And one majorly lovely feature for families of two or more children, which doesn't apply to me, is that you can use the same curriculum and teach the same basic themes to all the kids at once. Their activities will differ based on grade levels, but all the kids can learn together. To me, that is very cool . . . even though it doesn't apply to me. lol
I will be challenged as a teacher. I must research and prepare and teach more instead of relying so heavily on textbooks and workbooks. It will take so much more of my time. Right now I can't think of a better way to spend it, though. Lots of things vying for that time--I'm going to have to be very careful to say "yes" and "no" at the right times!
For math I will continue to use Christian Light. Little Mister loves it and I'm 100% satisfied with their spiral learning method--LM is enthusiastic about Math and seems to remember what he's learned so much better since we switched to CL 2 years ago. When it comes to math, I'm gonna go with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality! :)
So, that's it! We've made our decision, and we're stickin' with it! For this year, at least. I always take it a year at a time anyway--whether or not we'll continue to homeschool, what curriculum we will use, what other activities we will be involved with, etc.
We'll see how it goes . . . :)
Note: If you're new to this blog and are interested in home education or our specific home school, check out my series on home education, starting here! :)