Last August, I called almost every school within a 30 minute radius of our house. How much is tuition? What do you teach? How do you handle x-y-z? What’s your philosophy of education? Etc., etc. The schools either seemed too conventional, too far, or too expensive to me. (Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist!)
I was worried how my homeschooled kid would adjust to life in the classroom– not for social reasons so much as the fact that his entire routine would shift dramatically. I also didn’t want to turn his childhood into primarily a classroom experience. Not yet, anyway. I still have an idyllic vision of a beautiful childhood filled with natural play and learning seamlessly woven together. (Don’t laugh too hard.)
I scoured homeschool curricula, unsatisfied with much of it. Montessouri, public cyber school, My Father’s World, Christopherus… there’s a lot of good in so many of the options out there. I just hadn’t felt like I found a good fit for us.
In reality, I think I was having homeschool panic–though since I’m so new at it I can’t say for sure. I was indecisive and worried about almost any choice I might make.
Finally, I stumbled across Oak Meadow, and as I perused their curriculum samples, I looked up at my husband and told him I think I found our answer for this year. Their curricula was Waldorf-inspired, nature-filled, literature-based, inclusive of music and art, and well-rounded. It was a perfect fit for my little bookworm who loves to play in the dirt. (We are also adding in a home Bible time.)
It’s funny, because a while back we felt we discovered that J does so much better with “real life” learning than he does workbooks and conventional curricula. But for some reason, I forgot that last year and tried to build a Kindergarten year on workbooks. Some of it went well, but most of it was contrived, boring, and frustrating enough to spark a figurative headbutting contest.
I still worry some– is our choice too distanced from traditional teaching methods? Are we spending too much money on it? Do we really need a full curriculum for first grade? (Sometimes I wish I had never gotten an education degree. I think I’d worry less without it.) However, we’ve spent a lot of time praying and hashing out the answers to these questions. For now, our school decisions feel right to us, and we think we’ve found a good fit.
So this year, despite my regular doubts and indecision, I’m choosing to dig in wholeheartedly with the curriculum we chose. So far, it’s been little short of a miracle in the way it’s helping my son to come out of himself and try new things. I’ve been consistently surprised by the connections he’s making and how much he’s been able to do. Besides that, I really feel like we are exploring material together, and that’s been really lovely.
Will I always use this curriculum? I have no idea. Will I always homeschool? Maybe, maybe not. But this year, I’m not going to worry so much about every little thing. We are going to just keep moving ahead, and be okay with changing the way we do school as our family needs change.