Boy howdy have the past few years been a homeschool ride. I’ve been working hard at shutting out all the noise and popular curricula, trying to find out rhythm and grove. I think one of my biggest lessons is that it’s more about rhythm than curricula.
I know this may seem utterly crazy, but over the past few years I have found some amazing programs – some of my all time favorites from Foundations by Logic of English to Exploring Countries and Cultures by My Father’s World. Yet, we aren’t actively using any of these right now. (Well technically we are still using ECC, just not at all as intended.)
I’m learning that for our family we need both consistency and spontaneity. I know. It totally seems contradictory and is why I’ve struggled for so long. For us, this looks a couple of ways. Our core subjects are one-on-one Bible Reading (the kids love that part), Math, and Language Arts/Reading. I have one hour with each of the kids daily. We focus on the same general tasks but sometimes I switch things up with a game or story book that teaches the same lesson for the day. Then, when we finish what we need to, if there is still time I do something special with each of the kids. Right now it’s reading Chronicles of Narnia with my oldest. My first-grader usually has plenty of ideas of how he wants to use that time so I roll with his requests.
I’ve found that no matter what program we use for science, history, geography, etc or how amazing it is, we just burn out and get bored after a few weeks. Because of that I’m back to loop scheduling. We do science for a few weeks, then history, then geography, then science, etc. This keeps things fresh and new, while keeping them predictable at the same time.
Another thing that’s really important for our family is time. Some of these robust curricula are amazing, but they bog us down. We do well with things that are fairly minimal and then we let wonderful read alouds and the kids’ imaginations take over from there. We don’t want to stop to answer comprehension questions, fill out a worksheet or do some hands on activity. It’s just the beauty of natural conversation and converting themes, characters, and ideas into play and experimentation. It’s a beautiful to watch.
I’ve finally found curricula that supports these rhythms beautifully for our family and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve also learned that what works for us now may not work later. It’s about finding what we need now and letting things evolve naturally without having to go all in with anything. The rhythms are the conductor and various curricula the instruments that make up the beautiful melodies of our homeschool.
It’s a wonderful thing.