"Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems. Do not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, to choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication. Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love! Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm."
"Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey."
~ Papa Benedict XVI

Wednesday, January 12

Eclectic Homeschooling

I gave myself a good laugh yesterday while looking back at what all we have done for school.  People always ask "what curriculum do you use?" and i have always replied "well, we're a bit eclectic." ....."OOOOOh....."
But now, what does that mean really?  I think this year is really an eclectic year which is what caused me to laugh.  We usually use a jumping off curriculum of sorts (at least we have many of our homeschooling years) and then i change things and adjust things and voila! Eclectic.  But these past two years have been very different in that my husband was laid off in Dec of 2008 and we just had no money for the 2009-2010 school year.  That year i basically scoured my parents bookshelves (they homeschool too) and was rewarded with all that my mom has kept on hand.  Even though the youngest is now 15 she still has something from just about every grade.  Most was religion and art but there were other gems in there as well. Then i started borrowing...from her friends and from my friends, it was quite a year.  Very eclectic.  But then we hit this year.

2010 found us with some savings to purchase books and actually enroll our 9th grader in OLV (Our Lady of Victory homeschool) - which by the way, for high school, we love!  We started off using a lot of their curriculum for the younger ones  but as the year has progressed things have changed. 

The 6th grader is using some OLV, some Kolbe, some other. 

The 4th grader is using some OLV, some Kolbe, some CHC, some other. 

The Kindergartner is now using what i have found works best for that grade and age - it just never changes does it?   Why do we continually wonder if there is something better?  He is using - in a workbox style - Little Angel Readers, Math -U-See (which is our newest "everyone in our house uses it" program,) Montessori, and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, plus some small science and history books. 

And then there is the 2 year old....my "Why?" girl.  She has (due to space and limited budget) a few Montessori trays. 
This year everyone is doing something different.  There is no real base curriculum - you might say OLV but really its not, then there is no 'the same' in how things are taught.... We are eclectic within our eclecticness - kinda goofy.

But that is one of the great things about homeschooling.  You can cater to the child ...and yes, each child is different.  There are some things that one kids can use and another cannot.  But there are exceptions... Little Angel Readers has taught all three older kids to read - we love this program.  Bear is using it now and he is the first one i have thought to add some outside influence to (the Montessori movable alphabet)

Little Angel Readers and workbooks by themselves are great, but if you need more hands on activities the teacher's manual is full of activities and ideas.  Some people feel you have to do it all, i am here to tell you no you don't! It can be very overwhelming if you think you need to do all that is in the teacher's manual, use just what you need! 

Our other 'everyone uses' program is Math -U-See.  We have tried numerous math programs (as we had with reading programs!) and we have finally found a winner.  Bear uses the number blocks, but the older kids do not.  They just watch the lesson video (a minute or so) and then do a lesson a week which includes practice pages, systematic reviews, and test. The kids all love it!  We range from the Primer (which Bear has basically finished!) to Geometry.  They all now love doing math!

I'm sure you have heard these things before from me but i felt like saying it again!  : )

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