There is a time for everything: a time to think. It would help if you stopped learning, as I explained in my previous Thoughtful Thursday post.
The man who came up with that phrase was René Descartes, a French mathematician and philosopher. This phrase became a cornerstone of Western philosophy.
In the context of homeschooling, how do you stop learning and start thinking? Well, how about not following the textbook to the teeth? How about using our minds to assess if our children are too bored or too intimidated by a particular curriculum? Thinking, in this case, is scary. What if you have to change curriculum mid-semester? Was that a waste of your money?
No, it wasn’t. Now you know what does not work for this particular child. Keep it for your next child or for the next used curriculum sale at your local homeschool group.
What if the next curriculum does not work? Well, chances are you will choose something that works. It’s simple. Identify what this curriculum is missing and look for that element in your next choice.
As to following the curriculum to the teeth, I will give you one example. I got my daughter the Horizons Preschool Set. If I had to follow all the suggestions in the Teacher’s Manual, I would not have time for anything else in my day. OK, so maybe I would have time for our meals, but nothing else. It’s an incredibly rich resource. I refuse to be a slave to this manual.
My daughter is in Pre-Kindergarten. She worked through this curriculum last year, when she was in Preschool. It’s really the same thing, we just call it two different names because it makes her feel more grown-up. Besides, we gave her a diploma that she graduated from Preschool last year, so it’s special for her.
All this to say, I let her do her own thing with that manual. Most of the pages are self-explanatory. On some, I have to read the instructions to her. She goes to town on it and stays busy while I do school with my first grader. It’s that simple.
In all honesty, it’s not easy. I am rather thorough in my approach to anything in life and I like to finish everything in the book, cross every t and dot every i. Well, this curriculum taught me a very important lesson: think about what your student is doing. Is she learning? Yes. Then move on. You don’t have to sit there and go crazy over every single lesson plan in the Teacher’s Manual. It’s Preschool anyway.
I even told the salesperson about it. She laughed and said I was right. The curriculum writers wanted to make sure they give everybody different exercises to pick and choose from according to their needs. Phew! It helps to start thinking.
So next time a curriculum drives you and your student crazy, just stop learning, start thinking and analyze what does not work. Is it your parenting? His attitude? Lack of skills? Then make some decisions.