Curriculum Wars-- Is There a Perfect Curriculum?

I'm not really sure what it is about new curriculum, but I feel like I'm always fighting the urge to buy more.

Maybe it's the shiny covers with the cute pictures and the bright colors.  Maybe it's the excitement of something new.

Maybe it's just the hope that this curriculum will be the perfect one I'm looking for; you know, the one that makes all my kids beg to do more.

Mostly though, I think this obsessive need to purchase new and exciting materials is a way to drown out those fearful thoughts in my head that I'm screwing this all up.  When I see one of my kids struggling with writing I start looking for a new writing  program or book.

When I notice our math book is heavy on multiplication and division and lacking in fractions and measurements, I go looking for new math curriculum.  Luckily, over the past few years of homeschooling, if I've learned one thing it's that we're not great at sticking to any curriculum. 

I can't justify spending money on anything new when we don't seem to use that much of the old.  I came close yesterday.  I had a whole new math series in my cart and my finger was holding the mouse over the "checkout" button, but I took a deep breath and shut down the window.

I thought I was doing pretty good fighting the urge to buy more.  Then I opened my e-mail this morning and had a whole list of suggested curriculum books from Amazon all about writing with kids.

I have been stressing over the fact that we barely write and it didn't help that my husband was working with Ian the other night and has been commenting that Ian writes really slowly and needs to improve.  Ian was doing some copy work as part of his science fair project and it was taking forever.  He's always been a perfectionist and he does write very slowly, making sure that everything is neat, making sure every letter is perfectly formed, and all his spaces just so.

My husband was encouraging me to work on writing with him and speed him up.  Of course, I'm totally mystified on how to do that and while I know my husband didn't mean to panic me even more, he did.  I find most of my homeschooling fears reside with Ian, mainly I think because he's my oldest and by the time I figure out if we've done enough, if we've taught him everything, if we did this "right" it will be to late to go back and try out anything else.

It's a scary thing to just trust in yourself.  Very, very scary!
When I really step back and look out at the world there's just so much to learn about.  Never mind the myriad subjects we could cover, but within each subject there seems to be an infinite amount of subjects to study-- what if I cover the wrong ones?

One thing that sometimes helps me keep all these fears in perspective  is listening to veteran homeschoolers and reading their blogs.  Today, in particular, this blog really helped me.  Sue Patterson, of Lifelong Learning, was writing about all her dusty books that she felt compelled to buy over the course of her homeschooling and her realization that it all distracted her from what really mattered-- her kids.

So I'm focusing on my kids, once again, and continuing on this journey together.  I'm reminding myself of the fact that my two youngest boys spent the entire day locked up in Evan's room playing together-- ALL day, laughing, making memories, becoming friends, and forging bonds.

I'm reminding myself that Ian, at only 10 years old, spent most of his weekend running equipment and helping to clear a house lot!

I'm reminding myself that Evan listens to books on CD that are meant for much older kids and not only understands them but really enjoys them.  I'm reminding myself that Alec devours books and has such a wide range of skills that he often baffles me.

I'm reminding myself that all of my boys have strengths and weaknesses-- we all do.  I'm reminding myself that a lot of what I learned in school never applied at all to my daily life and therefor wasn't necessarily something I had to learn-- therefor they probably don't need to learn it either.

I'm reminding myself that the future is never clear and, while I can worry about it, I can't let it take me out of today.  The present is right here, right now, and I need to focus on this gift I've been given.  I'll never have this day back with my boys so we'll make the most of it!  Tomorrow will come and somehow it always takes care of itself.  Besides, how can all this be wrong?


  1. So glad to hear my own Curriculum Wars blogpost helped you. I was at a camping retreat for unschoolers and wrote another post about why I think we do this - how we have been conditioned to doubt ourselves and told we need experts to help us.
    Check out The Curriculum Crutch

    BUT!! I want to tell you about my son. He hated the mechanics of writing, so instead we focused on the art of storytelling. ;) We didn't do any writing at all, because I couldn't stand the idea of making him hate writing! He ended up a Journalism major in college - go figure!

    Here's a link to this Boys & Writing: Our Journey

    Here's to many more fun adventures!! :)

  2. I did read the curriculum crutch too but I think it was a day or two after I posted this. Thanks for telling me about your son. I often hear stories like this form veteran moms and it does help so much. I guess as a newbie I'm just never sure when it is time to worry about certain skills.... so I just worry about them most of the time. :)


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