The following is a post from contributing writer Amanda from The Pelsers.
I’m what you could call a Charlotte Mason, Classically-leaning, interest-led, eclectic homeschooler. That was a mouthful, wasn’t it? But, when I decided to leave my job and stay home to homeschool my son, I didn’t know where to start. So two years ago, I did what many veteran homeschoolers will tell you not to do: I bought a boxed curriculum. But here’s the real kicker: Jonathan was only three years old at the time.
You can pick up your jaw or stop laughing at me now. I know it sounds crazy to start homeschooling at three years old, but we were in a bit of a unique position:
- Jonathan had been in a structured daycare situation up until that point.
- Jonathan was showing early/advanced tendencies.
A friend had recommended that boxed curriculum because she was using it with her kids at the elementary level. I knew Jonathan loved books, so I thought this curriculum would be a good fit and help me get started homeschooling. Everything was great at first. But, then we came to fairy tales. It turned out that Jonathan hates fairy tales with a passion that I cannot even begin to describe to you. I tried and tried, but nothing was working. It was in the schedule, so I had to read the book to him. Right? I bought the book, so I had to use it. Right?
Wrong! Don’t get stuck in the box. You’re in charge. You have the freedom to adapt and modify your curriculum as needed. The curriculum maker does not know your child or your family. Don’t misunderstand me: boxed curriculum is not necessarily bad, but you can’t let it control you, your child, or your homeschool. You retain the freedom to pick and choose.
You are in control.
You are the teacher.
You are the parent.
I learned very quickly that I do have an early and advanced learner on my hands. I had to get creative. I had to get to know my son. After that first year with the boxed curriculum, I did choose to use the next level of the curriculum but with much more flexibility and confidence. I actually threw most of the schedule out the window and went at a pace that felt good and worked best for Jonathan and for me.
Don’t get stuck in the box. Think outside the box. It’s okay. I give you permission.
What has been your experience with all-inclusive boxed curriculum? Do you have a hard time not using a book or resource you’re scheduled to use?
Amanda juggles homeschooling her 5 year old, who is starting 1st grade, while running after her active toddler. She recently released an ebook in PDF, Kindle, and Nook titled Finding Joy in Depression to encourage women to stop hiding from depression, give tips for those trying to manage depression, and support those with a loved one suffering from depression. She blogs about life, motherhood, homeschooling, technology, books, faith, and more at ThePelsers.com.