The Simple Joy of a Curriculum That Fits

I love curriculum.  Yes, LOVE it.  I wake up on the morning of a used-curriculum sale or homeschooling convention much like a child on Christmas day.  My mind is abuzz with the limitless possibilities and resources at my disposal and filled with a delicious curiosity for what I may stumble upon.

I should point out that we use curriculum- we don’t follow it; and by that I mean that curriculum is used as a tool for the benefit of my children and myself as teacher.  If something doesn’t work we move on.  Something that works for one child may not work well with another.  We don’t become a slave to published curricula but rather its master.  We use it as we like and when we like and if that happens to coincide with how the curriculum is written then so much the better.

And for us, that is how it’s been with our All About Spelling and Reading programs.  We follow it pretty much as it is laid out in the manuals, with an occasional breaking up of a lesson here and there.

The girls enjoy their lessons and love the additional games and activities interspersed throughout.  For example, Stella loves the simple sketched animal drawings used in AAR.

Here are the girls using their the AAR Capital Letter Alphabet poster. (If I wanted to be nit-picky I would say that the one thing I would change about AAR is the size of their posters.  I don’t have room to dedicate to hanging these up and wish they had an option to swap it out for a smaller laminated sheet.)  Since Stella recently started on the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading  we have incorporated the consonant song from there into our AAR lesson.  To begin our AAR lesson, we sing the OPGTR song while using the AAR poster.  You can see Mira off to the side singing along and practicing her sign language.

 

(Yes, we are in our pajamas.  It’s one of the perks to homeschooling.)  Being able to intermingle curricula really helps show the relationship between everything and also increases familiarity when starting new programs.  I am notorious for adding in our Leap Frog songs when Stella gets stuck on something.  Again, it’s all about building familiarity and helping instill a sense of confidence.

Occasionally when out in the homeschooling circles I  hear from some “dragon-throwing” mom who follows a less-structured approach that curriculum is detrimental to children and wholly unneeded.  And for them maybe it is; but for us it works (and if it ain’t broke. . .)  If my children were unhappy- or if I was unhappy- then we would make a change.

But when, on an unprompted whim, Mira decides to create an AAR inspired game for Stella to play, I can’t help but think we’re doing something right.

My girls like what they are doing and, best of all, they like doing it together.

They take pride in their work and feel a sense of accomplishment at completing it.

And to think- we get to travel this road together for the long haul. . .

. . .pajamas and all.

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3 Responses to The Simple Joy of a Curriculum That Fits

  1. Corie DeVries says:

    Love the “We USE, not follow.” That is us! I love the structure curriculum provides, but I also love having the freedom to make it work for our family. AAR and AAS keep popping up everywhere I go. Guess I’d better check them out!

  2. Julie says:

    We love AAS at our house. I don’t like switching what is not broke either, however, AAS is SO expensive and even used I haven’t found a great deal. We’re going to have to switch after Bear finishes 3 b/c we just can’t afford to keep using AAS (my husband has been having a hard time finding contracts). If she weren’t going through those books so quickly! She’s managed to go through 3 in one year. It’s a great program though, no complaints (except the price!)

  3. Debbie says:

    Sweet pictures, pajamas and all! And way to go, doing what works for your daughters!

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