Homeschooling Outside the [Curriculum] Box

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Happy Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop Friday #3! Today’s theme is “Homeschooling Outside the [Curriculum] Box.” I am such an “in-the-box” thinker that a curriculum is a must for me! But, even I push those boundaries a little bit.

First, let’s announce our calendar winner from two weeks ago! And the winner is…

Congratulations, Maria! Email your address to ann [at] thehibbardfamily [dot] com to claim your calendar!

Now back to this week’s topic. Like I said, I am a curriculum person to the core. I tried to just put it all together myself one time. I lasted about three months and was stressed to the max the whole time. Even after beginning to use a curriculum, I tried to organize certain subjects on my own. Nope. Still miserable. I finally gave in and accepted the truth: I need my curriculum guide.

So, what does homeschooling outside the box mean for me? It means making sure that the curriculum works for me rather than me being a slave to the curriculum. I accomplish this in several ways.
  • I rarely make a week of the curriculum guide fit into a week of school. We typically spread four days of school work out over five days of the week.
  • We don’t do every subject every day. The curriculum guide might have every subject listed every day, but that doesn’t stop us from really getting into history on Monday and completing two or three curriculum days at once! We can always do the same with science on Wednesday, if need be.
  • I don’t do everything! Gasp! It’s true! I used to think I had to complete every task and check off every box. But, sometimes we just skip things! Or we come up with something else we’d rather do instead. It took me a long time to convince myself that this was okay. Now I absolutely love that it is okay!
  • I listen to the kids play. My all-time favorite memory is of getting the girls a Frosty treat one day. They sat in the back seat of the van and pretended that the small, melted portion of their Frosty was little bitty Greece and the more prevalent thick portion was Persia. We had just learned how Greece, though outnumbered, defended themselves valiantly against the massive Persian army, and they were acting it with their Frosties. There is nothing I like more than when my children play what they are learning.
The biggest way I break out of the box, though, is by just living. We go on field trips and learn in everyday life, but I rarely plan for any of that to be educational. That is a huge step for me, because I like to plan. But we learn so much more when the pressure is not there. That means we aren’t always quite as intentional about our field trips or extracurricular activities as other families might be. We still learn, though. We enjoy the activities. We learn from them, even when we might not realize we are learning. And we reserve the planning structure for the ever-necessary curriculum itself.
If you homeschool, how do you break out of the curriculum box? Or do you even need one in the first place?

Whether you homeschool or not, leave a comment for an entry to win this week’s giveaway: an On-the-Go Planner!
And don’t forget to click the blog hop button at the top to visit my review team friends!

Remember: due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entrants only. This giveaway is not tied to any social media site. All prizes must be claimed within eight weeks.


Ann Moore said…
Thinking outside the box to me, is trying to do things for free or nearly free off the internet. I have no extra $$ to spend after 2 major car repairs, and 3 wisdom teeth removal (at 37!!). We went to a used book sale, and bought pieces here and there... Literally didn't get a box to even think outside of here :D
Loretta said…
Would love this planner! Thanks for sharing.
Gina of Hope said…
I'm still trying to figure out my homeschool *style*... thanx for sharing some of your ideas, they are helpful. I love the Frosty story! Blessed be!
Angie said…
Am still trying to get myself to the point of not doing all the homework. Working on making myself be ok with skipping things and expanding on what interests my son.
Anonymous said…
Love this planner! Thanx for your ideas!
Shelly said…
Would love the planner! Thanks for sharing!
Unknown said…
I would love to try this planner!
Michelle G. said…
Relieved to hear outside the box doesn't always mean throwing away everything in the box.
Choate Family said…
Friend, you know that the two of us think like two peas in a pod. But you are so good at putting our thoughts into words! Don't include me in the drawing, just wanted to encourage you and say thanks for your fun & informative posts :-)
I'm with you, Ann - I like having a guideline/curriculum, but have the freedom to add/subtract/substitute what works for us :D

And I'm with you about not analyzing the field trips to death. We just call it life. Took a three week road trip last year and all we did (semi-intentional-education) was to keep journals. The boys learned a TON and none of it was painful ;D

Ann Moore - people like you are my heroes. When I try to do it without a box, I fall apart! Fortunately, my mom used the same box and the things that have updated have been cost-effective for us. :-)

Gina & Angie - praying for you as you grow through this adventure! Come by and chat anytime - much encouragement comes from the friends I know in the blog world, especially the two ladies who commented right before me. They are my homeschool heroes!

Joanna & Julie - It's true. I wouldn't be where I am in homeschooling without the two of you! Thanks for your inspiration, encouragement, wisdom, and friendship. One of these days we'll have that grand Choate-Grasshopper-Hibbard get-together!

Lisa C. said…
Thanks for the post! I would love the planner!

Lisa C.
Deana said…
Thanks for the encouragement and the chance to win this planner.
Thanks for sharing your "outside the box" ideas! I think our homeschool is a continual work in progress, and to me that's outside the box of what I expected to do, which was be super organized and follow my plans to a tee. Not realistic, it turned out!

My sisters and I are all "nextgen" homeschoolers - previously homeschooled as students and now homeschooling our kids. We all do things differently, and I think in most ways, we're all pretty outside the box, which I love. Look forward to following your blog! We're at

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