It’s that time again. Homeschool conventions, curriculum fairs, and planning. Lots of planning. I remember worrying as a young homeschool mom that I wasn’t doing the right thing, or enough (or too much?), or that I didn’t have everything I needed in order to truly teach my children the things that would best serve them for their future. Now I watch as my daughters and friends do the same thing. When I began our homeschooling journey in 1991, there were few resources available. Scraping curriculum together took time and hunting. Fast forward 24 years. There are so many options available now, it is enough to make your head spin! Two thoughts I have had in the last few weeks as I watch this dance happening around me:
First-There is no such thing as a perfect curriculum. Often we think we have failed, when the failure is in the book…or box…or file. There are very few prepackaged kits that I would regard as safe bets for just about anyone, and often those will still need tweaking a bit depending on the child. Stop looking for perfection; consistency is what can make the difference!
As plans are made for the upcoming year, take time to DO things. Math often makes more sense with manipulative use. Grammar seems plainer with diagramming if you have a visual learner. Science is more easily remembered, and more enjoyable, if you get out there and experience it rather than expecting facts to be absorbed by simply reading a book. Go to the zoo. Dig for rocks. Lie on the ground and observe the night sky. Experiment in the kitchen. Go on field trips to make your studies come alive. Take regular breaks and get the whole gang moving. Run up and down the stairs as you drill math facts. Take a walk and practice observational skills. OUr children need to learn to cook and do laundry as well as diving into academic studies. Jump on a mini-tramp between subjects for a quick brain break. Role-play or act out history lessons. Duck walk as you review spelling lists or phonics rules. Doing wakes up the brain, increases retention, and the ensuing giggles aren’t bad either.
As you spend time exploring the world and all its wonders, remember to keep active verbs in the mix. Do. Try. Experiment. Observe. Move. Fail. Laugh. Create things: messes, meals, and memories for a lifetime. And cut yourself some slack. It’s not up to you to find the perfect books, or be the perfect parent, or have the perfect family. The only perfection we will ever attain will not come from us. It comes from He who wants us to succeed. Lean on Him, and go DO something!