Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The curriculum wars

One of the questions that seem to stress homeschooling mums most is "What curriculum should I use?". As with many parenting questions this one can start arguments that can break hearts and rend relationships apart. People get so hot under the collar about this one! And the marketers and advocates of "approaches" or "methods" of home schooling are not afraid to use a little ovarian guilt to get their point across. Honestly, think about it. Just to teach my child to read, according to the experts/marketers/rabid followers of certain methods I should:

Use phonics and whole language (or "living books")but leave teaching them until they are at least 7 (or show signs of "reading readiness") because otherwise you will crush their individuality/give them artificially induced dyslexia/sap from their souls the will to learn and love reading but give them these fantastic literacy resources to use from the time they sit up also using these brilliant DVD's that can HELP YOUR CHILD GET A HEAD START and we all know that in the Human Race a head start IS important, you wouldn't want your child to be LEFT BEHIND would you? Because then you will get a big fat FAIL from God on your parenting report card and have to write "I am a bad mother" 10,000 on the cosmic blackboard and......



This is just teaching them to read, I haven't even got to algebra, geography, history, science, foreign languages, composition.....

At this point many people send their kids to school. And, quite frankly, I can see why.

So, WHAT do we do?

Whatever works for us.


By works, I mean meets our goal of having a loving, positive family home that equips our children with a love of the Lord and a love of learning. Adding anything else to this is completely superfluous in my opinion.


Here's how we manage to march to our own homeschool drum.

I realised that whatever I do someone will disagree with me and have good reasons for doing so. One of the positive things about having crunchy friends, traditionalist friends, activist friends, conservative friends, radical conservative friends etc. is I have access to so many diverse opinions and ways of thinking. The down side is whatever I do I am likely to have someone I love disagree, sometimes even be offended. This does mean, however, that when I do something, it is more often than not authentic Mama Bear, from the heart, honest to goodness, having a darn good go at it.

Which leads me to my next point.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear were chosen to raise these Baby Bears. At the end of the day we are accountable to each other, to God and to the Bear Cubs. Friends, neighbours and curriculum marketers don't even get a look in. Our interests, loves, knowledge and experience uniquely equips us to give our children their education.

And their education will be unique.

There will be gaps in their education and THAT'S OK! Do you know how I know? Because EVERYONE'S education has gaps when they graduate! That class you slept through, that year you had glandular fever, that semester when your heart was broken and you couldn't absorb anything... this all puts gaps in our education. The idea that we stop learning the day we graduate has somehow pervaded our society and made this into a big deal. The thing is, it isn't a big deal! My kids will be able to do some reading, find an expert to ask, take some classes. They can fill their own gaps.

We never stop learning, our methods simply change and evolve as we grow.

We may not stay doing the same thing forever.
What works for us now, may not work next year. Our needs change. I am a chronic curriculum tweaker. It's my hobby, I've been studying curriculum since before I went to Uni. But when there are a few more bear cubs hanging around the Cave I may need to order myself an "out-of-the-box" curriculum and just use it as is. AND THAT'S OK!!

Because it doesn't have to be perfect to be right. If I were to wait for it to be perfect, we would never do ANYTHING. There is always something better on the next website, in the next cataloge, in the next book. Do do nothing because it isn't perfect is far more damaging than to set out and not have it all right.

Because ultimately, there is no great big cosmic report card.

I was blessed with these children.

I will step forth in prayer and in Grace.

I will seek to encourage and uplift my fellow mothers as they take their own journey.

And perhaps one day, the Bear Cubs will rise up and call me blessed.

But it won't be because of my curriculum choice.

Check out what works for other people at

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jess, I L.O.V.E. this post!! I needed to read this today. I have made most of my curriculum choices for next year, and have been trying to tell myself to stop worrying what everyone else thinks, because I've made these choices in the ways you wrote about.

    I confess to being a curriculum junkie too. You are totally right about giving SOMETHING our best shot, rather than doing nothing whilst trying to find the PERFECT resources.

    BTW, I'm visiting after clicking your link on your AHS schoolroom post. Looking forward to having a good look around your site. Thanks for inviting us in!

    :) Vanessa