Because here is the thing, there are SOOOO many different curriculums out there, and then you can always buy subjects separately, and there is tons of free stuff online(YAY!), and lets add into that the fact that there is about a dozen different styles of homeschooling(Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Classic, Eclectic,etc). And depending on what style fits best with you and your children will totally effect what you use to teach them.
Now choices are GREAT! But if you don't have a vision of what you are wanting your children to get out of homeschooling, you can get overwhelmed very easily...and confused.
I find myself constantly thinking that some other curriculum is better or another homeschool mom has "the answer". Meaning that she totally has it figured out.
This is what most of our school has been based on this year:
The curriculum is called The Weaver. It is a Bible based unit studies. It includes everything except math and phonics. It even includes art, field trips, and health. It is more of a one room school house feel. This goes from grades K-12th, though once past 6th grade you just cycle through again in more detail. Here is the site for those who want to look into it more.
It can also be used repeatedly which is a big value with 5 children!
We have tweaked it through out the year and made it work for us-which is what you should do with any curriculum. Never bend the child to suit the curriculum, instead bend the curriculum to suit the child.
But I still see other homeschool blogs and what they are doing and think,"Wow! That is a great idea!" and then I can read another blog and they are doing something totally different but I still think,"Wow! That is great."
So now I am forced to stop and think what do I/WE want out of OUR homeschooling??
WHAT is important to US?
Is it to stay up with state guidelines for public school and what should be learned when? Is to love God? Is it to please outside family members? To prove to others how smart out kids are and how much they are learning? Is it to keep up with the family down the street? Is it just teaching them the core subjects?
What are OUR goals? What is ENOUGH for us?
I think these are our goals in homeschooling:
1. To incorporate and teach our children to have a personal relationship with God and Jesus and to create a strong foundation.
2.To work with them individually on their current skill level and not rush them forward just because it's the standard or hold them back either.'
3.To spend time together as a family who has a very wacky schedule.
4. To help them identify, realize and hone their God given talents.
5.To prepare them for college and/or the real world with appropriate life and self-learning skills.
6. To create in them a love and thirst for learning and knowledge.
Those are the top things that pop in my head. I notice I did not put: teach them 12 different languages and have them play the lyre.
I don't think there is anything wrong with teaching a foreign language or an instrument of course. The kids wanted to learn piano from the Hubby and Sissy wanted to learn Spanish. So they do that. But if the goal was simply to impress others with those things then it wouldn't be right for us.
Armed with my above list, now every time I come across a fabulous curriculum or blog that just has the "perfect" homeschool schedule, I will compare it to our personal goals for our children and family.
If I use that curriculum, will my children have time to discover and explore their God given talents? Will it help affirm their love and understanding of God? If we follow that other homeschool family's day will we still be able to spend time together and will it help the kiddos gain necessary life skills for the future?
What works for one family does not always work for the next. I will do well to remember that. God has created each of us uniquely.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them
I have also left out a very important aspect of this. That is to ask the Holy Spirit to dictate your school year, months and days! What is HE wanting you to do? If the Holy Spirit moves one day and the kids want you to read the bible all day, then praise God! Maybe you have a certain plan but the kids are wanting to learn about something else, go with it! Learning is learning, and not always what we have carefully crafted. We should let God shape us and our days, not what society or any family or friends say. Heck, even what WE say!
"We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps."
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
What does this mean for our homeschool year and days?? I have no idea!! I will have to look closely at our goals and figure out if what we are doing now is moving us towards those things or not. And then I have to a whole lot of praying! I will let you know what the Lord tells me and where he leads us!
I will leave you with this Prayer for the Homeschool Mom.