Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The lure of the shiny curriculum

Last week we spent a couple of hours at the home of another homeschooling family. They have a very different learning style to us, but we still get on well. We're eclectic, with quite a large dose of natural learning / unschooling, and they are following a classical curriculum and are a lot more formal (ie sit down from 9am until 11am or whatever and do 'schoolwork').

I have to tell you though, I was getting 'curriculum envy' looking at what they were doing. "Hey wouldn't it be really fun to read Herodotus in the original Greek??!" "Look at all of those lovely folders of work that they are producing, we don't have much other than photos and the odd worksheet to show"..

And so it went, round and round in my head for the next night & day. I was probably also swayed by remarks made by yet another family member that Billy should be in school.. "I'll show them, we'll produce so much work that they'll think differently". My head wasn't a happy place to be :)

My heart finally won through though - maybe that works for them, but at this stage, it wouldn't work for us. Give Billy something hands-on to do and he loves it, but not pages and pages of writing. I'd have to spend all day, every day haranguing Billy to do his schoolwork, and that wouldn't be fun for either of us. My aim in homeschooling is not to produce the very best educated child that I can, but to produce a person that is well-rounded, functions well in society, loves learning and most importantly is happy.

I'm still not quite over the internal argument, and I'll more than likely throw a few extra worksheets his way in the next couple of months before I settle down again, but for the most part I'm content with the path we're on - for now.


Jayne said...

We do a bit of everything - workbooks based on Victorian curriculum, worksheets on what Feral Beast is interested in (history,archaeology,etc) but we change it round, some days he just watches stacks of science programs on TV or draws or reads books.
If you're happy with the status quo, don't fix what aint broken ;)

libby said...

Hi Kerrie,

This is Billy's kindy year isn't it? If so they don't do much formal work even at school. Christy is in year one and they do more sheet work but not pages of writing and such.


Anonymous said...

Kez, you can teach a child to repeat anything, but the real gift you can give anyone is the love to learn, if you have done that then you are one of the best teachers around.

I am with Jayne, if it works,thats all that matters!

The Tin House said...

I'm with Jayne too: if it ain't broke!
Thomas' kinder year produced a LOT of coloured in photocopied worksheets. What did he really learn? He loved the craft and learnt some letter sounds and how to reproduce endless rote learnt verses to help remember those word sounds....

let him keep the wonder in learning.

Lisa x

Kez said...

Thanks for the encouragement everyone! Normally I'm happy with our direction but I go through the 'omg what am I doing?! Am I doing the right thing?!' guilts on a regular basis :)

EC said...

I suffer through that, too and then within a couple of days something happens that makes me say, "man, it is all going to be fine! Look at him (fill-in-blank)."

The lure of curriculum can be so powerful. I used to love to play school when I was little and used to dream of having a real teachers manual. I still want one. LOL