first time ever

June 22, 2010 at 22:45 1 comment

i’ve never liked school, and i’ve certainly never looked forward to the start of a new year.  there was one time that i came close: the first day of highschool.  my older sister quashed my hopes and dreams before they could ever amount to much though (and left me crying in fear on the floor of our bedroom… yeah… it still hurts, berni!)

when i transitioned from student to teacher, i still didn’t look forward to the start of a new year.  each of the two years has started without me being prepared and i’ve scrambled to catch up and form a routine as i go.  not really the most confident way to begin a new role in your life, i assure you.
for the past two years i’ve been looking at sonlight curriculum but have written it off because it was too expensive, and surely i could find a cheaper alternative.  i learned the hard way that sometimes you just have to invest in something if it’s the right something for you.  i wasted so much money last year on curriculum that i hated, and a lot of the year feeling uncertain about “what” exactly, i was supposed to teach.
i really wanted to be prepared for this coming fall.  not only because a repeat of the last two years would make me feel like a total failure, but because it’s kind of the year that counts.  like junior and senior kindergarten were experimental, but grade one is the real deal and if i haven’t figured it out by now, i had better hurry up and enroll elliot in public school before i mess up his education, future, and life.

i armed myself with three essential tools for making my curriculum decision:

  1. prayer.
    i prayed.  every day, for i don’t even know how many years.  i really needed help with this homeschooling thing!
  2. the ontario curriculum standards guide.
    i want my kids to learn things around the same time that other kids their age learn them, and have an assurance that whatever curriculum i chose, at least kept up to the ontario standards.
    when i was studying these guides, i realized that elliot had almost finished grade one in his SK year, and reaffirmed my need to be prepared!
  3. Cathy Duffy’s 100 top picks for homeschooling curriculum.
    i have people ask me for homeschooling advice on a regular basis (which i think is somewhat of a joke, because as i stated earlier– i was floundering!) and one of the most common questions is “what curriculum do you use?”  so i recommend this book to everyone.  it’s not just a bunch of reviews.  the first half of the book helps you work through your teaching style, the learning style of your kids and your expectations for homeschooling.  using worksheets and charts, it matches you up to the curriculum style that best suits you, and then reviews several of those ones in the book (and more are on her website).  this book just confirmed for me that i had chosen completely the wrong curriculum (nothing wrong with the actual curriculum, it just didn’t match my style) and explained a lot of the problems that i’d been having.  it also confirmed what i already knew:  sonlight was for me.

so i discussed it with derek, checked out the value of the canadian dollar, and took the plunge.  just a week later the huge box of books and teaching instructions was at my door.   oh, and because i know some of you will want to know every detail— i chose math-u-see instead of the math program offered by sonlight.  i had used american stuff last year and already the difference was annoying (coins, bills, inches…).  math-u-see is another example of something i thought i wanted, but cheaped out, and then regretted.  and that was at my door in 3 days.

so my savings account took a huge hit, but my confidence for the new year shot up.  for the first time EVER– i’m looking forward to the start of school!  i feel so prepared, and so sure of the curriculum that i chose.  and after looking through the material for just a tiny bit of time this week, i’m even looking forward to re-learning some things as i teach the kids.

*side note: the curriculum that i had last year was the weaver, volume one.  let me know if anyone wants to scoop that up for a great price!  it could match YOUR teaching style perfectly!


Entry filed under: homeschool.

look at what i got! summer kick-off

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Karyne Whalen  |  June 30, 2010 at 22:48

    One of the things I LOVE about my job as an EA is re-learning the things we were taught in the younger grades…also I LOVE seeing how we were taught things like telling time, etc. It sounds simple but very cool part of my job! Also, now I care about history so I love sitting in on the history lessons to pick up what I missed in school. So I can relate to your enthusiasm…so glad you found a curriculum you like and can make good use of..and glad you are following the Ontario guidelines!! hehehe!


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