For part 1, click here: Solving the CURRICULUM CONUNDRUM part 1; the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly!
For part 2, click here: Solving the CURRICULUM CONUNDRUM part 2: which to BUY? Or DIY?
As promised, today I am sharing with you our curriculum choice for this year, how we plan to use it, and a link for 4 WEEKS’ FREE SAMPLE PDFs for K-8th grade in case you and your kids want to try it, too!
Introducing . . . the real creator of ~Our Holistic Homeschool~
When our son was born, I skipped the baby books and went right to work on the education section. After my experiences teaching (which weren’t altogether so great), I was determined to find out as much as I could about how to best facilitate a joy and love for learning for our baby as he grew. I read as many books as I could get my hands on about the Montessori Method, Waldorf education, Literature-Based-Learning, Unschooling, Creative Homeschooling, and Project-Based-Learning.
It’s been five years and I’m still reading . . . although I think I’m starting to get toward the bottom of the education book-barrel. I have found this reading and research truly life-changing. And I am deeply grateful to the authors of these books and creators of these methods as they have truly helped me and my husband cultivate a love of learning for our wonderful boy.
All this reading, however, led me to some pretty strong conclusions early on in our parenting journey. While our son was still in diapers, I declared that:
He would never have a standard education.
He would never be expected to sit at a desk.
He would not have worksheets.
He would not do homework.
He would not be quizzed, tested, or graded.
But as it turns out . . . Great Grandma was right.
NEVER SAY NEVER.
Ironically enough, even though I have probably read about a dozen books by and about Maria Montessori, I failed to follow the first cornerstone of the Montessori Method when I began schooling our son: FOLLOW THE CHILD. It took me two years Homeschooling him for it to finally dawn on me: every child is unique. And our son is not the majority!
About a year and a half ago, he began asking for more and more “desk work” or paper-based learning. I never saw this coming! As it turns out . . . he loves workbooks! He loves worksheets! He loves sitting at his “Charlotte’s Web Desk” as he calls it—named for it’s resemblance to Fern’s school desk—and writing for hours! He is self-motivated. He enjoys a set schedule. He is enchanted by things that are old-fashioned. He loves tradition! (Yes, I realize how easy we have it!)
Of course, our son also loves the Montessori materials, the Waldorf play-based learning, our literature-based units, and our project-based learning activities. What it really comes down to is that our son truly LOVES TO LEARN, and he loves it in any form! His drive to learn and the joy on his face while engaged in learning are both truly inspiring to me.
Perhaps he is this way BECAUSE we began with the methods of Montessori, Waldorf, and Unschooling. Perhaps these teaching methods facilitated this deep love of learning which allows him not to discriminate against any education style. Or perhaps it is just a part of his lovely spirit. I suppose we will never know. But for whatever reason, I think our son could basically thrive in any academic style or method. At least for now.
And so, about a year ago we gradually began to infuse more and more “classical” or “traditional” learning methods into our “unconventional” and “creative” ones as we learned to see our son as separate from an education model or standard—the genesis of Our Holistic Homeschool. Our methods and mindset are continuing to grow and weave about as we learn to truly follow the child in our Homeschool journey together. Truth be told, our son is the real creator of Our Holistic Homeschool.
I encourage you as I remind myself each day: let’s educate each of our children according to his or her unique needs, unique timeline, unique interests, and unique spirit. One size fits . . . ONE. Let’s serve the whole child and follow him wherever he goes.
~Our CURRICULUM COMPROMISE for Fall 2020~
It became apparent to me a few months ago that our Homeschool journey could really benefit from a compromise. Up until this year, I have never purchased an actual teaching curriculum for our son. The first few years of his education have almost entirely consisted of tray materials/manipulatives, lots of play, lots of art, and an incredible pile of books. But this year, we have decided to make a small change. We are purchasing a curriculum that will “supplement” what we already do. In addition to simply “knowing our child” as told in the introduction, we have several additional reasons for this decision.
You may recall from yesterday’s post (part 2) my short lists of curriculum considerations for “To BUY? Or DIY?”:
You may want to purchase teaching curriculum if . . .
- You have no idea where to start in teaching your kid(s)
- You are stressed or get easily overwhelmed or just have too much going on
- You are working (from home or otherwise)
- You feel you need daily step-by-step guidance
- Your child enjoys traditional learning methods
- You lack confidence in teaching your child(ren) one or more contents/subjects
You may want to forego purchasing a teaching curriculum and go fully DIY if . . .
- You plan on Homeschooling in one of the following methods/styles: Montessori, Waldorf, or Unschooling/Project-Based Learning
- Your child hates traditional learning methods (such as worksheets, homework, etc.)
- You love creative projects and going grass-roots
- You think you can do a better job than a standardized teaching curriculum (by the way . . . you probably can)
- You want your child(ren) to have a unique, hands-on learning environment
The reason why I was able to come up with both sides of the above considerations is that our family definitely splits this list. I love creative projects and going grass-roots. However, I do get stressed and overwhelmed and often take on too many things. I do think I can do a better job than most standard curriculum, but I’m also working part time from home and I could use more support. Our son loves traditional learning methods but I also desire a unique, hands-on learning environment for him.
And so, we have decided to join our unconventional, creative, Holistic Homeschooling with a truly beautiful, paper-based curriculum we were recently introduced to, and both my son and I could not be happier about it!
~The Conditions to our Beautiful Compromise~
Our content will remain manipulative-forward (Montessori/tray materials will accompany curriculum)
We will look for ways to incorporate additional hands-on materials into our lessons
Curriculum will be supplemental and always negotiable
We will remain in charge of curriculum and schedule/acceleration
Introducing . . . our supplemental curriculum choice for Fall 2020:
The Good & the Beautiful
I had never heard of this curriculum until recently, and I only looked it up for one reason: it’s name. I read those words “GOOD” and “BEAUTFIUL” and to be honest, I just didn’t believe it.
A little bit about this curriculum:
- It is non-denominationally Christian-based (emphasizes God)
- It is founded by a Homeschool mom
- It is written by a team of professional teachers and Homeschool parents
- It is classical-literature forward
- It is strong values and character forward
- It is American Heritage forward
- It features beautiful illustrations and artwork
- It combines classical & unconventional/creative learning methods (particularly for math)
- It does not utilize computers or technology
- It includes a surprising amount of hands-on manipulatives for a paper-based program
- It is incredibly affordable (and free for 4 weeks until October!)
- It is truly good. It is truly beautiful.
Try 4 weeks of this curriculum FREE (K-8th)!
For ideas for supplementing your curriculum with hands-on materials and manipulatives, stay tuned for my upcoming post: Our Favorite Montessori Materials & Manipulatives and what in the world to do with them!
Thanks for reading! And may your “Suddenly-Homeschooling” Journey be an unexpected blessing!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~