Mid Year Curriculum Changes

Question:

Help! It’s the middle of the school year and what I’m doing is NOT working! What do I do now? Should I wait until next year and make changes or stop and change now?

Answer:

I’m pretty sure that we have all experienced this at one time or another. The curriculum that looked so wonderful online isn’t so great after all. Or the highly touted texts seem to be a much better fit for those in your homeschool circles than for you. It happens.

In deciding what to do, I look at a few factors. Why isn’t it working? Is there any way that I can tweak it to make it work? Will it possibly work at a future date? How much money will I lose if I don’t make it work?

Scenario one:

The math curriculum I was using caused tears. The assignments were too long, and math was taking up the better part of the school day. But my child was learning from it, and generally liked the style in which it was written. To ditch it all together would have been a disservice to her and to my pocketbook. My answer? Break the lessons down into more manageable pieces, taking 1/3 longer to complete the curriculum than originally anticipated. I’m content that there is continuous progress shown, and she is happy that her least favorite subject does not account for most of her school time.

Scenario two:

A highly recommended science curriculum and its author did not fit our world view. The discerning eye found lots of propaganda and circular reasoning. We ditched it, immediately. Time is too precious to waste on anything that does not emanate truth. Being popular in the homeschool market makes for a quick resale. We cut our losses and moved on.

Scenario three:

My daughter found the living science books I chose for her to be “boring”. The subject matter didn’t interest her. The writing, she thought, talked down to her. And in spite of the fact that her older sibling devoured them with gusto, this child was not as enthralled. On this issue, we compromised. If she finished this book (there were only 3 or so chapters left), she could choose the next book assignment. We discussed how we are not likely to enjoy everything we need to do in life, and quitting because something is boring is not acceptable. But, on the other hand, if there are different and more enjoyable ways to get the same job done, then I’m willing to work with her.  As the books were obtained used and had already made the rounds through my other child, I didn’t find it a financial burden to pack up the books for future grandchildren.

Scenario four:

Everyone in my homeschool group spoke highly of this newfangled lesson system. I was unsure, but I succumbed to the pressure and spent lots of time and money to implement the system. For about a week, it seemed to work. We were determined to make it work, because we couldn’t possibly be the only family in the homeschool group that didn’t love it. But the fact is, we didn’t enjoy it one bit. We repurposed most of the components (our plastic boxes are much better suited for craft supplies!). I chalked up the money and time lost as a life lesson, and decided we were all much better off if I’d follow my gut in the future. I can’t think of once that I regretted not buying something!

Scenario five:

I really dislike the expensive history curriculum I chose. I find it dry and teacher intensive. It does seem like a solid curriculum and the children are learning without complaint. I can’t say there is anything really wrong with it, but teaching history is just not as exciting as it used to be. In order to be a good steward of my husband’s hard earned money, I suck it up and continue on. I do, however, add in some really good movies and living books to break up the monotony, and determine to go about my curriculum selections more prayerfully next time.

These above scenarios may or may not have been my own experiences. 😉

If you can’t persevere, tweak, sell, or save curriculum that isn’t working, just consider the loss a learning lesson. And this is a lesson all homeschoolers eventually learn. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Mid Year Curriculum Changes”

  1. EXCELLENT advice, Wende!!! I’m passing it on to all my homeschool friends and to our homeschool fb page!

    Heidi (formally Heidi in IN on the FIAR chatboards)

  2. I like this! It is good to consider the sunk costs. The money is spent. There isn’t necessarily any value at all in sticking with something that isn’t working. It’s better to sell it and move on! Kind of like the sunk costs with a clothing purchase. If a pair of shoes don’t fit right and don’t match my wardrobe anymore, they’ve gotta go — no matter what I paid! 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing Wende, even though this is only our officially third year I’ve come across all scenarios and knowing that I’m soo not the only one makes it. Much easier on the mind 🙂 may Allah/ God make it easy for all of us to choose what is best for our family!

  4. I really love this site! I teach in a small Christian school in South America, but since I have so few students (eight), it’s a lot like homeschooling.
    I’m having the same problem right now with my curriculum. Basically I decided: Keep on with the curriculum, but use pieces of older curriculum to suppliment it as much as possible.

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