When To Change Curriculum

It seems like it's been awhile since I've written a good, meaty, homeschooling post filled with ideas and suggestions... but things have been carrying on in our homeschool so well that I've been able to focus on so many other areas of our life.

But it's not always smooth sailing and lately I have found myself questioning some of our curriculum choices and wondering if we should change things up.

It's not always so easy to know why a particular book or set of books is not working for us.  And until I can figure out why something isn't working I don't like to change it.

Typically we change curriculum when:

  • One of the boys is frustrated and in tears for days at a time over the same subject/book.
  • We start to find the work so boring that we dread covering that subject at all.
  • When they start failing the assignments.
  • When we need to change up our homeschooling schedule and routine.
  • When someone needs extra help in a particular subject.

Evan has been having great difficulty with his spelling work all of a sudden and I found myself wondering if he needed a different/ new program.

He went two or three weeks where he was failing each of his spelling tests.  

He had been getting them all right and I wasn't sure what was going on.

Just as I was thinking we needed to find a different spelling program that would work better for him he started getting them all right again and ended up skipping a week of words entirely!

I knew that he did not need to change his curriculum then.

Alec was struggling with his math workbook.

He has always had a pretty easy time with math and I have allowed him to jump around and pick random pages from his math book for years (mainly because we never had a book that worked in true liner fashion anyway).

Lately I've noticed that even though he's getting most of the work right he's plagued with questions and uncertainty.  I have to sit right beside him and go over most everything on the page.

After days and days of tears and frustration we decided to stop and think about WHY the book was not working.

We realized that he did not have a good grasp of math terms like median, mean, mode, range, area, perimeter... etc.  Once I looked up these terms with him (or gave him a quick explanation) he could do the work just fine but when he came across those same terms days later he could not remember them again.

While we're researching other math books that he could use he's doing a lot of review work on Khan Academy and he's back to enjoying math again.

Ian had finished up his Key to Math series books and needed something new for math.  I had bought him a 7th grade math book and the very first day we pulled it off the shelf he was upset and frustrated with it.  

We ended up just adding another book to Ian's math curriculum and instead of doing two pages a day in his new 7th grade book he just works on one page.  He is much less frustrated and willing to work hard on that one page and the second book deals with reviewing older/ easier concepts so he's still getting in plenty of math practice.


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