Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What If It Is Not Working?

You spent hours and hours pouring over catalogs and reading reviews.  You went to the convention and listened to the vendor talk forever about the merits of their program and you decided that yes this is perfect for your homeschool.  But now, you are 3 months into your school year and you just don't like it.  Or your child doesn't like it.  Or it is so much harder for you to implement then you thought.  Or he just doesn't understand the way they are trying to teach it.  Now what?

One of the greatest things about the expanding homeschool movement and the newest technological advances is that there are so many options for homeschool materials.  And it is growing everyday.  The hard thing about so many choices though, is that it can be hard to find the right curriculum for you and your child.  Searching through catalogs, reading reviews, and seeing the items in person can help you narrow down your choices, but honestly you won't know exactly how something will work for your family until you actually get a chance to use it for yourself.

The first thing that I would do if something is not working is to try to figure out why.  You do not have to use curriculum exactly the way it is intended, and it might be possible to "tweek" it a bit so it works better for you family.  For instance if you feel like you are spending too much time everyday, you can cut some things out. Really.  You do not have to "do it all."  You can use parts of a curriculum you really like and leave out parts that you don't.  Or if your child learns better by hearing rather than reading, you could start reading it aloud to him.

Children are not always going to be excited about their school work (shocking I know!)  If your child doesn't like it, you need to find out why as well.  They could very well have legitimate reasons that they don't like a particular curriculum that you can make a change on.  My oldest doesn't like Math.  Obviously not doing Math is not an option, but we were able to switch to a program that is taught by DVD that allowed her to work independently and understand the concepts.  She still doesn't love Math, but it is working much better for her.

After trying to see if you can make changes though and it still isn't working.  Don't feel like you have to keep beating your head against the wall.  The flexibility of homeschooling allows you to make changes and you are free to try something else.  You can stop where you are and try something new.  Most curricula is allowed to be sold (see my post on homeschooling and copyright laws here) so you can get at least a portion of what you spent back.  You can look for something new to try.  Think about what didn't work with the old curriculum and make sure you are not looking to buy something else that has those same qualities.

Just because something doesn't work, does NOT mean that you have failed!  I cannot tell you how many different reading programs I went though with my now 10 year before I found something that worked for him.  Or the different Math programs we have done.  Or the different History programs we went through before I found my absolute favorite.  There is a lot of trial and error in homeschooling and you have to try different things to figure it out.  Even then when you figure it out for one child, that same program may not work the same for the next child.  Don't be afraid to make changes!!

I just wanted to say one more thing about reading reviews.  Many of us rely a lot on other people's reviews, and I do encourage you to read reviews before purchasing things.  But, make sure you are reading not just that people like the product, but what they do/do not like about the product.  If someone says they like something because of the amount of reading that is involved and your child is a struggling reader, it may not work as well for you as it does for them.  Or if someone didn't like something because it involves so much hands on learning, but that is the type of thing you and your child love, it might be something you want to take a look at.

Happy Homeschooling!
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