When we started Home Educating half-time in Gr.4, I received my first piles of curriculum. I had been warned that the stacks could be very large, and so I didn’t let it get to me. I put them away and just got a new book or two when we needed it. For the most part, there was some transition but our entry into the home schooling thing was fairly calm and steady. We noticed, right away, that J-man was calmer and happier. His anxiety levels evened out and (after a minor crisis in the typical month of November) we carried on with the given curriculum almost to a “T”.
There were moments where I thought the amount of work in the curriculum was excessive and the projects, ridiculous, but overall we accomplished much.
This year, we figured that we would do a blended program. Since the Social Studies aspect was heavy on the workload and the projects were massive we would go Parent Directed with it. Grade Five has been all about Canadian history and geography. I love that stuff so I thought I’d be good at getting that done at our own pace. With Science, we stuck with the Teacher Directed program. Although I pretty much loathe Electricity (sorry Dad) and don’t care much about how it works, we stumbled through it but made it anyways. We finished it all in APRIL!! Woo hoo!
When we pulled J-man out of school completely in March, I knew that LA and Math were going to fall on my small shoulders and with dread I straightened them out to face it head on.
The curriculum for Grade 5 arrived. I wasn’t worried about the stacks, seeing as though the teacher (who directs our online program) was going to communicate with J-man’s former teacher as to where to start. I knew we could start about 2/3’s of the way through…and I was wrong.
The teacher, knowingly, suggested we start at the beginning and see what he had mastered. These are the two subjects he hates. These are the two subjects I am not comfortable teaching. You can imagine how it went when I took the 5 different texts/books out that I needed for each lesson. Not well. We cried and tried for a while, but decided that this just wasn’t working for us.
The problem was that we had assumed that Math and LA would be manageable but the way the curriculum was set up just did not do J-man and I any favors. It was complicated and confusing.
I am so thankful for a teacher (she works with a real classroom and with online/home-based students) who is willing to talk options. She was so encouraging and helpful. She told me that she thought it would be best if I went Parent Directed. I could pick how fast he went through, I could pick the curriculum that worked and I could go to her if I needed help. This was the relief I needed. She had basically summed up all I had thought and affirmed me in the direction we needed to go.
I have made do with work sheets that I’m finding online. I wanted to check what J-man had done this year and firm up the basics. He has struggled with his basic skills in both Math and LA.
I found a Math program, online, that I have ordered. I can’t wait to see it.
For LA, I am going to use the curriculum given to me by the School Board. I am just going to go at it from a different angle. Next year, I will be searching for something doable for us and that fits us better.
I am not a huge proponent either way for Home Education or Public Schooling. I think that each parent needs to do what is best for each child. For us, it means that I teach one child at home and send the other three to school (for now). I am so great with this, you have no idea!
Finding what works for your family is really the trick, though, isn’t it?