Monday, February 28, 2011

Sticking With What Works

The more I become involved in homeschooling forums and conversations, the more options I see for homeschooling. And, I must confess, sometimes it leaves my mind reeling. I’ve mentioned before how all of the decision-making and planning can be overwhelming. It becomes even moreso when I allow myself to stop and wonder whether or not some other program would be better for my children. I mean, there are so many options out there, and other people are  so happy with what they use.

So, how do I determine whether I should stick with what we have or switch? By answering one question…

Does it work?

So, what do I mean by that question? Well, more than teaching a child information, a good curriculum should teach a child to love learning. When my children think of our curriculum, do they think of learning? And, when they think of learning, do they think of how much they love it? Maybe not every little detail of every school day, but the overall idea of learning?

Last week when a box arrived from Sonlight, that question was answered by the excitement on my girls’ faces.

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It doesn’t seem to matter that we are in the middle of the school year right now. Or that we never take more than a week or two off of school at a time. Or that we always roll right from one year to the next. If a Sonlight box shows up, they cannot wait to dig into it!

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I’ve talked to the girls about some other curriculum options and asked them whether or not they would like to try them. And, we have tried samples of other programs here and there. But, they are always chomping at the bits to get back to what they love.

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Not all of Sonlight works for us, I will admit. After fighting through the Language Arts program year after year, I finally gave up. It’s not us. We love some of the optional resources and still use them, but the girls’ responses to switching over to A Beka’s LA approach have been amazing. They almost immediately began to “get” it, and we are all much more relaxed about LA and learning to write – which is a pretty amazing feat considering how unrelaxed A Beka’s curriculum tends to be!

When my mom was teaching the five of us, she kept trying different programs until she found what worked. Once she found what worked, she stuck with it. Every time I begin to wonder if I should try something else, just to make sure, I stop to remember that Sonlight, for us, really works. So, although I am fully convinced that there are other great programs out there – and I am excited to be researching some of them so I can help other homeschoolers in their search for what works – we will be sticking with what works. That’s good enough for me.

3 comments:

Luke said...

Thanks for sharing this. It's very encouraging. And I'm so glad that Box Days are still exciting! May this year be the best yet [smile].

~Luke

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Makes good sense to me, Ann :D

And that's kind of funny, because we also use A Beka's language/grammar books, and I never thought I was their "type". But it works.

Sonlight sure has great books, yah?

Julie

Ann said...

Luke, glad to send some encouragement your way! :-) Getting excited about that new catalog...

Julie, I know just what you mean about not being the A Beka type. That's what Mom did with me fourth through eighth grades, and I do not have many fond memories of it. But, there's just something about their LA. And, yes, I LOVE Sonlight's books!