Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tough Decisions (edited)

Corey and I attended the Southeast Homeschool Expo at Cobb Galleria yesterday. I went with a huge to-do list:

1. Find curriulum for our school year.

In previous years, we have always bought our curriculum early on in the year, because I've decided what we want to do, and we are all done before it's even time for the expo.  But this past year, with all the changes going on, I didn't get it ordered.  Then, Corey and I have been discussing the idea of a hybrid school option for the 2014/15 school year.  I have just acknowledged the fact that it is very difficult to school Katie and Noah with a toddler around. And they are getting into more difficult subject matter that I just really want them to be sure to get a good survey of and it not depend on the day we are having if I can spend the time to do it.  And as they get older, we are just entertaining the idea of a hybrid school because of all the other things it would offer like clubs, honor societies, sports, music, and an accredited diploma at the end.

With this prospect on the horizon I knew that I wanted to get something that would get them more prepared for a classroom type situation.  I've always been very eclectic in choosing what we do, read aloud history from Sonlight, a separate math program, language, etc.  So this year, I was going to look at everything.

I got the sales pitch from all the big companies, looked at the ones I had also used in the past, and after considering the time that each type would take (I really loved Sonlight, but I had to realize that we just don't have the time for all the reading aloud), I made an extremely unlike me and difficult decision.

We went with a DVD based curriculum.

*GASP*  I really think I was in shock the rest of the day.  Truly.

I watched the sampler dvd they had playing for the specific grades and subjects that we were going to be getting, and also looked through the accompanying textbooks and workbooks.
They looked thorough and on target with the content I wanted to be sure to cover with them this year.
The dvds, honestly, are a bit dated, but they are tremendously better than the past experience I've had with a similar program.

The true test would be what Katie and Noah think.  So before bed last night we went through the sampler dvd with them with the subjects we would be using.  And they like it! Noah said, "It looks pretty good!" ha ha.  Perhaps it will do them some good to hear from varying voices and personalities for different subjects.  And honestly, it's neat for them to be able to watch many science experiments every day and learn things that way, because if it were left to us and our crazy schedule we probably would only get one done every other week at best.

We decided on Reading, History, Math, and Science.  They are filmed to be directed directly toward one child at home, and not just a video of a classroom.  And they are interesting, with plenty of interjected skits, animations, charts, real life photos, interviews, and virtual field trips.

My goal with homeschooling is to have school be just part of life, and for the education they receive to be customized for them, and for them to receive a quality (Christian) education without the restraints and influences of the public school system. This will still allow me to accomplish those goals.  In actuality, I am really enjoying thinking about perhaps having time to plan AND EXECUTE some more creative ideas now that I won't be the sole instructor for the basics.  If it isn't taking me an hour to read a 15 minute history selection, with interruptions every five minutes, perhaps I can actually gather resources to do some extra activities and projects. And get around to the "electives" like art and music more often.  Also, we still have our writing curriculum that I will be doing with them (they have lessons on DVD but it's one every week or two), and also I will be doing First Language Lessons with them as well.  So, it won't ALL be video based.

As I've had time to think about this over the last 24 hours or so, I think I've put my finger on the *issue* that I've had with this decision.  I've unfortunately always seen dvd homeschooling as something that would be chosen by someone who did not think they could do it on their own, who thought that the parent was not suited to teach their own children, or qualified, or for some people, (not all by any means), for those who didn't want to spend all that time with their children.

I thought that by making this choice I was putting those labels on myself, or thinking that is what others would think of me.

I absolutely do not believe that I am unqualified to teach my children.  And I completely believe that I *could* do it.  And I 1000% want to spend the time with my children.  So I have proven my assumption to be completely false. Because if no one else is an exception to those assumptions, I definitely believe that I am one myself.

I know my limitations.  I know that time management is a struggle for me right now with all the changes to our life and the space, time, and scheduling conflicts this presents.  I do not want an entire year of schooling for my children to fall victim to the fact that I struggle with maintaining a routine at this point in our lives.  And I acknowledge that using this system is a perfectly sound, potentially very fun, and one that provides a great deal of assurance for success for them this year, in being exposed to all the history, math, science, social studies, and reading material that might not all "get done" otherwise.  I know that it doesn't really matter what they get exposed to or how much isn't a life or death issue, but there is such a thing in this world as high school coming and college for their future if they choose it, and I don't want it to be more difficult for them than it would have to be for my lack of consistency and putting the material in front of them.  They are at a prime age for soaking up facts and knowledge.  I want to give them as much as possible.  So, some dvds with 180 days of learning included sounds like a good way to make sure we do it! ha ha!

I firmly believe that I have always done that for them in all these years so far.  But, the end of our last year for getting anything done with all the unnamed (ahem) little distractions made it VERY difficult.  And it definitely hindered relationships and patience for everyone involved.  I am hoping that this will provide more time for fun and creativity from mom, and less time being distracted and reeling everyone back in afterward.

I have lots of plans in place for how to keep the little one entertained, and there will be plenty of time to use those techniques during our writing, spelling, and language instruction.  But there's so much more that needs to be done including two different math lessons for two different grades, exposure to reading comprehension and vocabulary, science and social studies.  There is content to be learned and not just over the screams of the toddler or between trips to the potty.  And they aren't quite to the age of being able to completely school themselves (which will come the older they get).

And what of the toddler who actually needs to be played with and interacted with as well? I just feel there aren't enough hours in the day ha ha!

 This is just where we are right now, and I think (hope) that it will be a good fit.

Of course there's the 30 day money back guarantee if it turns out it isn't, ha ha.


Andy's Bethy said...

I can't wait to talk to you and hear more about the expo. I'm excited about this upcoming school year. Glad you found something that makes you excited too.

Jackie P said...

I don't think using the DVD's equates to you not being able to teach what your children need at all. Your reasons are valid.

My daughter started high school last year and we kinda muddled through. It was o.k.,but it could have been better. In the past we used Time4Learning and supplemented with whatever she was interested in learning more about, but their program ends after 8th grade. Well, guess what!!! They just announced they are now offering high school courses. I am thrilled. Lots of the courses are video lessons which work great for my visual learner.

Guess we both found something that works.

Here's the link incase anybody else is interested.