Changes… sometimes less is more

I mentioned in the my top posts of August and in the weekly wrap up that I had changed things yet again. I’m in that mindset if something isn’t working for us, then we need to change it. We need to find something that works, and holds our interest to the point we are retaining information. By we I mean C.

I started this school year with a schedule of doing everything pretty much every day. C hated it, we would get language arts and math done but little to nothing else. I know that some people think this is good. For me it’s not. I want more than just math and language arts done everyday.  I want science and history and field trips and nature studies and rabbit holes to be followed. This schedule, I created, left no time for that. I was sucking the fun out of learning.  And sucking the fun out of learning was the LAST thing I want when it comes to the kids and their schooling. Something had to change.

I did some soul searching and first came up with the idea that I would do the two week block schedule. Remember my best laid plans post?  Well it worked fine the week we only did language arts and math, except for trying to cram two weeks of spelling into one. The week we did only history, science and geography, it went down hill. I was lost, completely lost.

At the same time my friend A, was doing some soul searching of her own. It seems she was having the same issues I was. She decided to go back to Oak Meadow. I took a look at Oak Meadow again, and I’ve looked at it over and over through the years. It kept drawing me back. It’s what I want in a curriculum, it’s creative and imaginative and full of nature. It’s perfect for us. But there is a slight problem. Oak Meadow is EXPENSIVE. I mean really really expensive and I just spent all this money on curriculum for the year. So there is no way my husband would be ok with me spending another $200+ that we just don’t have. So I had to improvise for the year. I’m following the 4th grade overview but using unit studies to teach the topics presented. And so far it’s working. It’s wonderful and I feel less stress.

This is our new schedule and for the last few days we’ve been finished by lunch time, and have had all afternoon to chase those rabbit holes or just be a kid and play. It’s wonderful.

Both science and social studies unit studies are based on topics from Oak Meadow’s 4th Grade Overview. I am also going to add in some of the new Passport Unit Studies from Amanda Bennett as they become available.

I also brought back our workboxes but I am not using a full set of 12, I am only using 6 boxes. This works for us. C hates having the extra boxes full of busy work (it may be fun stuff but to him it’s busy work). He would rather spend that time doing other things that interest him more and I agree with him.

So this is working, this new plan. We are doing less through out the day. We are finished school for the day in 2-3 hours. We are making time for more field trips and rabbit holes. And we are learning more than we were before. The goal for this year is to keep with what is working, and this is working. Next year, the plan is to go with Oak Meadow 5 for C and Oak Meadow Kindergarten for K. I just don’t have the time anymore to create my own lessons completely.

But this schedule, this relaxed way of doing school, this taking the less is more approach, it works. I just wish I would have figured it out,oh two years ago when we started this homeschooling  journey.

This post is linked up at the Not Back to School Blog Hop: Curriculum Week!

Comments

  1. Sounds like you have a great rhythm going with this plan. =) Yay for finding something that works. Sometimes this homeschooling thing feels like a big guessing game – will this work? will this work better? will they hate this? But finding a way to do where everyone is happy, kids are learning and no one is stressed? Beautiful! =)

    • It feels like a good rhythm, finally. Lord knows how long it has taken to get to this point. I know, there is always that second guessing.

  2. Good JOB Mom!! It’s such a wonderful thing when you are willing to adjust to your childs interests!! love it! thx for sharing;)

  3. I’m so with you here! I’m an organizer, and I live by routines and schedules. I like working out of a workbook, and looking through all my done pages with satisfaction. My daughter? Well, taking 45 minutes to do 4 lines of counting by 2′s (during which she stopped and asked how you kill zombies) obviously shows that workbooks aren’t. her. thing. So I’m letting go of the expectations, and of the “but this is how school has to be done” idea, and letting her lead. Isn’t homeschooling fantastic! That I can do this for her, where she would be stalled at a traditional school, is what I want for her.

    Oh, and I’m so going to try workboxes. Hopefully it will help keep her motivated to move forward on each assignment!

    • C is the same way. I may try something new in conjunction with the workboxes in the coming weeks. I’m still trying to think how I want to go about doing it, but it will put him more in charge of his schooling. We’ll see.