When you hear the word “curriculum” it usually conjures up images of a child sitting hunched over a desk, wading through pages and pages in a textbook and then painstakingly writing problems on paper, right? It did to me too. When I first started on my homeschooling journey I thought I had to purchase a big “curriculum package” and basically emulate the public school system right down to every last detail. I even tried it the first year, and found out two things: 1) I’m not good at that method of teaching, and 2) The reason I chose to homeschool was to get away from that type of learning, not simply duplicate it at home.
The following year I tried shaking things up, which was an ambitious undertaking considering I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to accomplish my goals. All I really knew was that I wanted to give my child an enriching experience that was more out-of-the-box than a public school education, yet still made sure she reached her educational goals in a timely fashion. So I went on the internet and did some research.
Let’s face it; the internet has as many opinions of homeschool learning styles as there are homeschoolers. It can be hard to figure out the best course. I spent days taking tests to determine my child’s “learning style” which left me more confused than before. Finally I realized I was neglecting the one most important part of this equation: my child’s personality, and how she responds best. Those little online tests are useful, I’m sure, to some people, but to be honest finding out if my daughter was an auditory vs. visual learner did absolutely nothing for us. What did help was sitting down with her and seeing what she enjoyed.
Enjoyment … it’s that simple. Not all schoolwork can be fun and roses, but there are ways to make the school day go by with a few more smiles and a lot less grumbling. So I talked with my little girl and she told me the things she liked best about her school day, and the things she could do without. Then I found ways to incorporate learning opportunities into the things she loved.
Fifth grade is a time of transitions. Middle school is next year, and I’m already thinking ahead to when she’s in high school and thinking about college. It’s sometimes hard to balance variety with my worries about the future. Finding Time4Learning has been a great addition to our homeschool; I feel as though it helps me stay on track as to what she needs to learn, and she truly enjoys it.
On the days when I’d like her to do some “book school” as she calls it, we use workbooks or download printable worksheets for her to work on. Time4Learning has worksheets to download, and I also have a few sites with excellent pintables. We also spend time cooking and baking, collecting plants and leaves, and just exploring the world.
My motto for homeschooling is simple: don’t get locked into a curriculum box, and you’ll find a world of learning.