Hodgepodge Curriculum? Say What?!
Updated: Feb 8, 2021
When we pulled our son from public school, I had no idea what I was doing. What to teach? How much to teach? As though I had stumbled onto some secret site no one knew about, I scoured and printed alllllll of the science standards for our state. My son wouldn’t be one of “those” homeschoolers who did less than EVERYTHING. We would do them ALL.
Me (not me) scouring the standards.
I wasn’t sure of the medium to present so I was DEFINITELY going with a box curriculum. Except (insert name here -BJU, Abeka, CLE) weren’t doing Life Science in fifth grade. We were mid-way through fifth grade when we pulled our son. They were doing Life Science. The standards clearly read: “Fifth Grade: Life Science”. As I read through them all, I realized there was NO way there was time to get through all of those printed standards in a school year. It was little wonder teachers were exhausted- look at all they had to get through! And, with students in various stages of learning no less! With pen and paper, I visited and followed homeschool mommas around waiting for the right answers. Fifth grade, yes. Science, right…What do I do? They all gave me different answers. One of them then told me we could do whatever we wanted. Um, what?!
Zach always wanted to learn about marine biology? That’s fine. Okay, he is also into space and wants a telescope? Go for it. Well, I’m not sure what his learning style (whatever that meant) was for math. I can let him take a practice test for different ones and see where he lands?! Wait, what?!
BUT WHAT IF HE HATES IT ??
You hate the curriculum but it’s October? Toss it. Stop the madness.
As a pediatric specialist, the idea of teaching to the level of every child (really, most teachers’ impossible dream), I WAS IN!! I really want to tell you I put together amazing multi-sensory activities with crazy science experiments and field trips for reinforcement. That is where our co-op came in. Women and men much more skilled (and interested) in making things go boom (and cleaning up that mess) did and do most of those things. But, y’all:
Co-op of the Felicianas
Maybe a cartoon to teach American History to Littles? (And homeschool moms everywhere said…)
Don’t be zooming in one what we did- you gotta find your jam! Don’t forget- you can let it go!
Except this one. You gotta get this one.
Maybe your kiddo is interested in Anatomy. Mine was. How about an online game to learn all the bones in the body?!
Seriously. He learned all the bones in record time. It’s a speed game, too. Mind blown.
Now, if you know me, you KNOW I am all about reading. Can you imagine reading not for AR points (which has its place- another blog) or because the whole class is reading it but because they are interested in it? Here is a small sample of what’s been going on at the LeDoux house:
Please, please read these to your children. LOVE.
My idea of the three greatest gifts we can teach our children: To know God, To know they are loved unconditionally, To be read to from a young age.
Notice Jesus Calling & The Story For Kids…Classics like “Where the Red Fern Grows” and the series “Encyclopedia Brown”
Before the movie, “Wonder” (and “Heaven is For Real”), there were the novels…both highly recommended.
Those are just the ones I took pics of on hand. There are probably 200 more laying around. We read, “Where the Red Fern Grows” while snuggled up on the couch. After sobbing for the last 1/3, we watched the movie and cried some more.
How about pottery with a Great Aunt?!
Building the Wall of Jericho
Music (Piano and Guitar lessons during the day- no running around in the afternoons!)
There are endless directions you can go with homeschooling. I recommend reading every day. Your child should be reading daily something on level. As a quick guide, if they can read something to you with at least 80% accuracy on a page, that is going to be pretty close to level. Start with a quick search of books around their age and go from there. They should be reading a variety of genres and texts (poetry, fables, chapter books, articles, etc) I also recommend listening to someone else (audio book?) read something above their level. Find a math that works for you. Then, give it time. Almost every math we have used (Life of Fred, Math U See, Kahn, IXL) has needed some getting used to. If you’re all becoming frustrated and you’ve really utilized the program appropriately (read the informational in the front of the curriculum- especially for math. Some teach to mastery by topic, some spiral, some are “common core”, some utilize stories, some must begin at the first level, some offer placement quizzes), then move on. What works for your friends’ kiddo isn’t necessarily going to jive with yours. That is okay.
Recess: More than 15 minutes, multiple times a day.
Geography: Game Boards (We also have giant old school maps of Louisiana and the Earth hanging in our house. Super cool and educational).
You can utilize the standards as a general guideline (especially if planning on returning to school- some things are seasonal) but you really can (really, really) follow your heart. Also, for those of you who have had children in school, how many of their workbooks were completed at the end of the year? Yeah, mine either….In homeschooling, you have the option to keep going if you want. Even into the following school year (unless you are schooling year-round- yep, that’s a thing). But, please don’t try to shove all of that book, workbook, or list of standards, into a certain time frame. RE-CREATING PUBLIC SCHOOL AT HOME HAS NEVER WORKED FOR US. It likely won’t for you either. That is more than okay.
I love this boy. This is an old pic. But, we actually were out in a field late last night looking at Neowise.
I adore all things academic and need some direction (adult ADD is a real thing). I function best with a lesson plan. I utilize google docs for easy sharing as I teach other children as well. But, I can tell you, it’s in those moments of really following the child’s interest level and really zoning into where they are receptively, that the magic happens. My type A personality craves the box curriculum. But, my children have thrived when I piecemeal for THEM what they need or are interested in. And, if you are like me, not completing all of the box or all of the lessons will stress you out. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Because, no matter what you do pick, it isn’t the amount taught, but what was learned, that matters most. That includes what you learn from them as well. That’s homeschooling at its core. Those things aren’t always measurable on a standardized test. Thank God. You’ve got this. Let me know if I can help in anyway. Blessings, Lucie ☀️
P.S. If you’re still not convinced this method can be successful, please know it took me a good year to get out of the public school mindset. It’s hard. I get it. If it helps, they don’t use a box curriculum either. Also, my middle son, who was the guinea pig for much of this way of schooling, just finished his first (sophomore) year at the local public high school with honors. He did not take a single standardized test in the five years he was homeschooling. Not one. Ask God to lead you to the curriculum you should be using for this season. He never intended for us do to this life alone! Blessings, Lucie ☀️