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Monday, September 19, 2011

My School Monday: Lifeguard!

Do you ever feel like you are drowning when it comes to teaching your children? Whether it's homeschooling per se, or training them up, do you ever feel in over your head, or question whether you've accidentally drifted into a rip tide?

Yeah, that'd be me.

Sometimes I feel like I'm swirling down the drain and I'm not sure whether I should paddle against the current or empty the tub and draw a new bath.

My carefully-chosen curriculum isn't working well for us.

Our Language Arts is frustrating and built upon a system the educators begin in kindergarten which we aren't familiar with. (Mainly, sentence diagramming.) We're both frustrated and there is a lot of red ink on every worksheet. I bought the year's worth of workbooks. Do I swim against the current and push through, or let it (and the money I spent) run down the drain and try something else? I think I'm going to try something else (Progeny Press). This isn't too difficult to do because I didn't spend too much money on CLE. But I feel like I've wasted our time the last 6 weeks.

History. One of the MOST important subjects I want to teach. The Abeka is fine, but for added depth I purchased two TruthQuest guides at $25 a pop. I love, love, loved the idea of them, the approach, the worldview, everything. But it isn't fitting in with our schedule. I haven't used them much at all. I tried, but it just ain't happening. That's $50 I wasted and I'm loathe to admit it.

I also find myself missing the My Father's World curriculum we did last year. I'd felt it moved too slowly but that was a cheap price for all the wonderful things we did together. Daily Bible reading as our main history text, Jewish feasts, memory verses we did together.

But do you know how much I'd have to spend to buy the next volume?  A lot. Especially when adding in the wasted $$ on TruthQuest and CLE. So do I ignore the ache in my heart and press on with the dry and purely independent Abeka alone? This is the biggest burden on me right now.

Math. I failed her with math last year. She did alright in Algebra 1 as we went along, but didn't learn with full understanding. She wasn't ready for Geometry this year and I feel bad. So we ordered Math U See Algebra 1. I didn't pay for this at least. But it still hasn't arrived. So I feel like a slacker, lol.

Bible with SoS. She's doing just "okay" with it. It's NOT as good as the daily Bible reading and studying we did together last year. Even if it is tracked and graded and all "officialish", I don't think it's as heart-penetrating. She still remembers the very first memory verse from last year, but is struggling with her official Bible curriculum this year. Again, another indicator that MFW was a better fit.

But the money! Oh, the money! And the time, the wasted time! I feel like I'd be resetting the clock on 8th grade. We'd be living in an alternate reality where it's still labor day for us when the rest of the country is gearing up for pumpkins and scarecrows!

What would you do? Should I drain the tub?
I kinda think so, but I'm afraid of admitting the waste and afraid of making more mistakes.

It's all kind of poopy, really. I could use some been-there-done-that stories for sure. Here's to seeking wisdom, and making it a great week despite it all!


Donna said...

Great post, Michelle. Although I don't have children, I can certainly relate to your very true one-liner: "Sometimes I feel like I'm swirling down the drain and I'm not sure whether I should paddle against the current or empty the tub and draw a new bath." Woo Hoo!!

Michelle Massaro said...

Thanks, Donna--I think we all have felt like that before in one way or another. Indecision is a fault of mine. I desperately wish for fleeces to put out and give me clear-cut answers. =)

Susan said...

DRAIN IT! God's tugging on your heart for a reason, listen to Him. You haven't failed her. You're teaching her how to listen to God, even when common sense tells you the other way is right - learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. That little nudging in our hearts that we know we need to follow, even when it doesn't line up with the spreadsheets, timeline or our own agenda. What a lesson that will be in her life...worth all the time it took and absolutely priceless.

Michelle Massaro said...

Thank you, Susan! It's still not easy because of the finances. I feel so guilty, that I tossed money at things all willy-nilly and now might not use them. Mostly this is the TruthQuest guides I'm referring to. $50 on top of the Abeka curric I bought. I'm going to have to pray for provision. My friend has a saying: If it's God's will, it's God's bill! lol (there's a more dignified version: Where God guides, He provides.)

Pray with me, would you? Thank you! =)

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh dear! I have no clue. I will say that my pre-k son had CLE and his learning of the alphabet has been amazing (I, of course, did not teach him.) My hat is off to you for homeschooling! I know I would do horribly. I think you guys will find a right fit though. :-) There are probably many online things. Also, you could contact a few local homeschool groups or even the library to see what curriculum they might have extra, or something. I don't know. eeek! Best wishes to you!

Marji Laine - Unravel the Mystery said...

I've been there and I have some ideas for you. But first, come to grips that no time you've spent teaching your child is wasted unless your teaching them errors. And you're not, 'nuf said.

As to the other specifics, if you want to teach the special history lessons, then do them. No one says you have to use Abeka or even give tests. Just teach them to love it.

As for Algebra 1, I highly recommend Keys to Algebra. You don't even have to buy it all at once because they are separate booklets for each section of of the subject. I found them at Amazon. My son (now at Univ of Dallas on full scholarship - yes homeschooling works) had trouble with A1 as well. We used the Keys during a 2nd trip through the course and he loves math now - especially Calculus (his dad's son!)

As far as LA is concerned, I'm familiar with the curriculum you're talking about. If it's becoming too much of a burden, then offset it with something traditional like BJUP. Maybe alternate days or have a diagramming day at the end of the week. That way, if the method does end up clicking, you can go for it next year.

Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up. We've all been there - frustrated and blaming ourselves. Don't let the evil one steal the joy you have in spending your days with your kids!

I'm rooting for you!

Sheri Salatin said...

Throw it all out. If you don't like the curriculum and the kids don't like it, don't waste any more time and money and go back to what works. I've done this before too and yes, my son is a little behind academically in some subjects. In the big view of things though, think of all the lessons that they are learning from you that aren't academic. Responsibility, Honesty, Kindness, and the fruits of the Spirit.

Sometimes the most important things in life can't be learned from a book. I was homeschooled from 1st grade through high school. I failed high school math - terribly.

However, when I went to college, I made all A's in math - Statistics, College Algebra, pharmacology. The only conclusion that I could come to was that my brain wasn't ready for the upper level math yet and once it was, I found it simple to fly through!

My husband didn't read until he was almost 10 years old. He was homeschooled and "hated" school. His mom did everything she could to try to interest him in reading...and failed. However, once he hit 5th grade, he put his mind to it and went from barely reading to his own grade level in a two week period - without the gnashing of teeth. lol.

Hang in there! You're doing great! :)

Michelle Massaro said...

Sherri, Marji, and Jessica... thank you for your tips, suggestions, and listening ears! I'm truly very touched at each of the lengthy responses left here for me. Who says people you only know online aren't "real friends"? You all are awesome friends. I'm taking in all your advice and mainly trying to open my ears to what the Lord has to say through each of you. Thanks! =)