View Full Version : Weekly Poll: Are you making curriculum changes for the New Year?
12-28-2011, 10:04 PM
Looking back, I know that our biggest curriculum switch-ups have usually been either during the summer or over winter break. It just somehow seemed the appropriate time to make necessary changes in things that simply weren't working. And one time, we were all so stressed out with our curriculum that we suddenly decided to unschool right in the middle of the school year.
So I wondered if any of you are making curriculum changes right now. I'd love for you to share what has been/hasn't been working for you lately. I'm sure our newbie homeschoolers would also appreciate some insights into things you've learned "the hard way".
12-28-2011, 10:49 PM
Smooth sailing so far, so we're carrying on with the same materials. I'd like my husband to use something different to teach our son Latin, but he's being stubborn (my husband, that is). :)
12-29-2011, 10:24 AM
Thinking back I am pretty sure that I make changes after every winter break. It helps to motivate us for the rest of the school year and keeps things fresh and interesting. Our overall method usually stays the same, but we add things that we have grown interested in and take away things that are boring us. This year I finally found a science curriculum that interests the kids and yet requires almost no scientific knowledge from me. Science is the only subject I struggle to teach them so this new curriculum has brought me a great amount of relief! We did a couple lessons before the winter break and I know its going to become a part of our daily routine. I also plan to work even harder to find other secular homeschoolers in our area. The main thing we lack is face-to-face interaction with other homeschoolers and I am done wasting my time with religious homeschool groups that make us feel like outsiders....sounds like a New Year's resolution coming on...
12-29-2011, 11:00 AM
We are changing grammar from haphazard missmash to Analytical Grammar and reading for the youngs from 100 EZ Lessons to Progressive Phonics.
That's about it though.
12-29-2011, 11:35 AM
I'm not specifically changing any subjects or curric, but I AM changing to something more laid-back.
I'm trying to convince myself that child-learned content (for instance, my dd's learning about chemistry through her own experimentation or through her own reading/docu watching) 'counts' every bit as much. I'm trying to listen to the voice in my head that scoffs at ps principle of written work... and release myself from the mental slavery of ps. It's a hard road for me (I LOVED ps in elementary... loved the worksheets, loved it all), but I'm tired of caring about 180 frickin' days of useless written work. The LEARNING is the thing, not the seatwork.
I'm going to investigate unschooling more- not because I want to unschool, but for balance. I think I spent too much time on another forum (what?? you aren't doing 3 math curric, 2 foreign languages, a separate curric for every bit of LA, 2 musical instruments, and in their free-time your kids don't make rockets (life sized) out of legos???), and I'm still feeling like my kids don't do ENOUGH.. when in my heart I think I probably expect too much.
Constant quest for my own balance. My kids are awesome little people all on their own, and the learning doesn't stop when their worksheets are all filled out or we've had the last lecture-question-answer session for the day.
It's probably selfishness on my part- my kids' brains are like a new toy, and I am constantly excited to see what else I can teach them.
12-29-2011, 12:07 PM
This year I finally found a science curriculum that interests the kids and yet requires almost no scientific knowledge from me. Science is the only subject I struggle to teach them so this new curriculum has brought me a great amount of relief! We did a couple lessons before the winter break and I know its going to become a part of our daily routine.
What is the name of the science curriculum? Inquiring minds want to know... ;)
I chose "No, we're sticking with it" but probably should have chosen "We don't use a formal curriculum". We shift things in and out all the time, take breaks from something for a while then go back to it later..
However, for stuff where we do have a set curriculum plan, I can't see us changing this year.
12-29-2011, 01:16 PM
I am changing a few subjects (dropping Saxon, Shurley English and Writing with Ease) and changing our method to be closer to a Charlotte Mason approach. I will have the kids practice writing from our literature choices. I bought Ray's Arithmetic and will use this along with math games. I am a bit anxious, but think it is all worth a try. My kids are still young and we want them to continue to love learning.
12-29-2011, 02:05 PM
We're going with a more relaxed approach with Tornado to avoid (hopefully) the fights over some of his weaker subjects. He's technically only supposed to be in kindy but because his birthday is so close to the cutoff for the the next grade, we've been doing some 1st grade material wth him. Probably going to slow down our expectations of how much he can focus on and accomplish in one day. Hurricane is status quo for now.
12-29-2011, 02:16 PM
We won't change much. Since we gave up on MBtP and completed a grammar program, we are going to add in a little formal writing using some Evan Moore workbooks. We'll also be adding guitar back in now that we've found a good place to take lessons, and maybe Spanish if we can find the time. But mostly we've been happy with our curriculum choices and rhythm this year.
12-29-2011, 02:50 PM
I voted other because we are sticking with our current curriculum but we don't really do a school year. We school year round and just move up to the next level when we get there. So, we are a little scattered around - 1st grade for some things, 2nd grade for others - since we don't move up in everything at the same time. For right now, everything is working very well so we aren't changing anything we use but we may add Logic, Spanish, Art and Music and I'm hoping to get more structured with science and history. Probably not right after the new year but hopefully by February.
12-29-2011, 03:29 PM
I chose other because we're not doing any major changes right now. We are adding in a few extra activities to go with some of the things that Santa brought for Christmas. The major change that has taken place though is I'm not working on putting together a new curriculum to start after we finish this one. We're going to finish out the year with what we have, because despite my complaints we can make it work.
12-29-2011, 06:10 PM
I always change things up in January. It's like a tradition or something. This year, we were away for August & September, so even when we got started with "seatwork" in mid-October, I've essentially just been "winging it." I've purchased Grammar Town and a few other things from MCT, so that will give us some more structured work to do. I'm planning to take a break from our regular math curriculum and try Life of Fred. I expect I'll keep on winging it for the rest.
We are going to speed up the tempo here and get into more organized learning. We are finishing up the one unit of MBtP I had, and are switching gears to intelligo, RSO, and more formal grammar, writing, spelling. I guess we are changing the game entirely. We were bored with MBtP, so it feels good to be BUSY and intrested.
12-29-2011, 10:52 PM
I'm adding KISS grammar because the grammar books I got were too basic.
12-30-2011, 01:50 AM
Small changes only. :) I'm mostly just basking in break right now.
Nope, for the first year we are still good to go. None of us feels the need to change (just put in more effort). We're happy where we are and I've never said that before. :)
12-30-2011, 07:01 PM
Yep. We school year-round and 320 to 350 days/year (lots of 1-2 hr light days in there). I tweak frequently, but my 6yo is ready for more formal reinforcing phonics/grammar/spelling programs, plus more formal phonics for my 3yo (he taught himself all his letters/sounds before his 2nd b'day, so just when I thought I had teaching reading down, my 3rd is an early reader and I have to rediscover everything -- go figure).
Last month I started upping my science/history/art which had flagged since beginning Nov. Looking forward, I'm thinking about adding some Intellego unit studies, maybe Feb if no one is sick. Hmmm....I guess I tend to re-evaluate and incrementally adapt our lessons monthly. :) I tend to just change one or two things at a time.
12-30-2011, 07:58 PM
The only change I plan to make is to incorporate more writing for both boys. I ordered 4 square writing workbooks so that's what we're going to try and see how it goes.
12-30-2011, 08:45 PM
The only thing I've kept that we will continue for the rest of the year is MUS, AAS, and Zaner Bloser. The rest has got to go. It seems both of my girls love routine, very short lessons. If it's going to take more than 15 minutes, it had better be hands on. So, to shorten things up a bit, we are switching our grammar to Growing with Grammar social studies to Intellego, and science to Mr. Q's Life Science. I'm adding Winning with Writing because they are showing interest (surprised the hell out of me!) and Music Theory because Julia wants to learn piano at some point and Sarah got a guitar for Christmas. I'm dropping art because they are enrolled at the Neighborhood Art House 2 evenings a week. I'm also dropping Health for the remainder of the year because we are doing a family oriented KidShape program to learn about nutrition, fitness, and self awareness. Yep, that just about does it. Bring on Monday! I'm as ready as I'm getting!
12-31-2011, 04:15 AM
No changes in material choices here, but minor changes in other areas.
Dea is taking almost complete control of her education for the year 2012, as a trial. Jay has been stressing about the fact that our school year has terms with end dates, and that our school year has an end date (even though the dates don't actually matter when it comes to the work). So, we're getting rid of terms. I was going to choose a day to be the 'official' start day, for future years & not bother him with that info, since it seems to be stressing. I've changed my mind, though. I'm going to talk to him, explain that the 'start date' will not impact his work, explain that he still will be able to work at his own pace, spend as long as he wants on topics, & go as in-depth as he chooses, that the start date will just be a way that we can mark time & he'll still have an answer when people ask what grade he's in. Then, we'll choose a date together. The only reason he's stressing out anyway, is that he wants to spend more time on his Science & History topics and thinks that having set dates for the year (& terms within the year) will cause problems with that, even though I've never made him stop studying anything before he was ready to be done with it.
12-31-2011, 10:48 PM
I responded Other due to us just moving to the next level although we are adding more complexity to science and history as we now have a highschooler. Highschool here is year 7 (approx 11-13 years of age) to year 12(approx 16 -18 years of age)
And January here is the start of the school year. Although we are just moving on nothing new really to report.
01-01-2012, 11:07 AM
Big changes here! I am going to ease up on FIAR. We will do maybe one row a month, as both kids do enjoy it, but I think dd almost-7 is ready for a more sequential curriculum. So I bought the second and third concepts of MBTP 6-8, which we will start in a couple of weeks. In the meantime dd is working through an Intellego animal unit and independent study on dolphins and birds, and a "Mr. Popper's Penguins" unit. I bought more Intellego units during the December sale, and discovered that most of them are way better than the Animal Kingdom one we were using. We now have Evolution, Folk Tales, Dolphins, Astronomy, and some ancient history ones.
So basically I am swimming in a ton of curriculum here, but I'm excited to figure it all out for the new year. Can anybody tell me where to order about four more hours per day?
01-01-2012, 11:25 PM
Everything has been working great for us so far this year so we are sticking with it!
01-02-2012, 08:01 AM
Last fall was crazy nutty in so many ways, that I had to change to mostly curriculum that he could do on his own. Looking back, I realize that we hardly did any field trips, which he loves, so will be making a concerted effort to get out on more field trips this year! We are also starting the "accountable kids" program to get back to some semblance of structure.
01-02-2012, 08:13 AM
We are not changing anything for Anthony but I am totally switching everything but the co op classes, animal biology for Alex!! First half of the year either his ADHD or my ADD would have him going fine on everything for the first couple of months then it would just fall apart:)
01-12-2012, 12:32 PM
Unfortunately, I had chosen a curriculum in the fall that just didn't suit my youngest son at all at this time...so we have switched around now! That is the GREAT thing about homeschooling...we find what works FOR THEM...individually!!
01-12-2012, 06:26 PM
We are making changes here for both kids. We are shelving MBtP. Since I have all of the books though, we will read them but without the constraints of the curriculum. Today ds did a fantastic job just reading A History of US without the added MBtP activities and questions. He wrote a wonderful summary of his reading. :) We are also switching from TT to Math in Focus for dd. I finally realized that a mastery program may suit her much better than a spiral non-conceptual program. I'm sad to say that dd is bored with AAS and all of those tiles! She really wants a workbook for spelling. I have searched and searched for a spelling curriculum that we both would like. I'm still looking, but How to Teach Spelling looks promising. For both we are also adding in Check the Deck for writing. I hope this all works out- especially the math. If it doesn't, I'm at a loss for what to do about math for dd.
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