I thought we had the perfect curriculum. A blend of three styles of teaching that would of course come together perfectly to create the perfect homeschool experience for my children. But halfway through kindergarten, we realized two things.
1) Leah is not ready for kindergarten. We need to hold her back.
2) This curriculum is not right for us.
Deciding to hold Leah back was not as much of a decision as it would seem. Please don’t misunderstand, Leah is a very bright young girl with loads of imagination and intelligence. But she’s not quite ready to focus on school. We’re working on it, and she will get there, but school was becoming a serious problem for us, usually ending in tears (sometimes hers, sometimes mine, sometimes both). And since we had actually started her early, we weren’t really holding her back–we were just waiting until the time she would have normally entered kindergarten, had she been in public school. I wrestled with it for a while, but I talked things over with some friends from church (who were all teachers), and they confirmed my suspicions that she wasn’t quite ready yet, and we needed to wait another year, and slowly build up to it in the mean time. So that’s what we decided to do.
On the second issue–curriculum–I’m going to try very hard to be neutral about this. Different curricula fit different families, in different seasons. Unfortunately, the only way to know for certain if a curriculum fits or not, is to try it out. You know… spend hundreds of dollars, not to mention precious time and energy, all to determine that yes, this is a good match, or no, it’s not a good match and you just wasted a bunch of money. It’s really the only way to know for sure. So the first few years of homeschooling, for some families, looks like something completely different every year. “We’re going to do unit studies… Scratch that, we’re going Classical… Well, that didn’t work; how about Traditional?… No? Fine. We’re unschooling.”
Also unfortunately for us, we had purchased first grade from this particular curriculum company, which means that not only did we discover, halfway through the year, that we’ll be a) pushing kinder out another year, and b) switching curricula, but we also spent $250 on curriculum that will not be used. So now I’m trying to sell my never-used curriculum at a discounted price–at a total loss to us, that is–in the hopes that I will salvage some of what we spent on it. Talk about buyer’s remorse!
And it’s not a “bad” curriculum. I’d still recommend it for some people. But it doesn’t work for us. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say, it wasn’t a good fit, and now I’m glad we’ve given that a try. It was a nice practice run, and it helped me to narrow down was does work for our family, and what Leah needs from me in order to learn. But, yes–unfortunately we did waste money, and we’re stuck with it for now. If we can’t sell it, we’ll try to make some use of it, because that’s just the kind of thrift-minded people we are.
It was time for change, and we changed, despite all the reasons not to. Those reasons were financial (let’s just use what we’ve already paid for), emotional (I don’t want Leah to feel bad about being held back), for the sake of convenience (we already started kindergarten; we might as well finish), and from pride (I don’t want to admit we were mistaken). These reasons were outweighed by the overwhelming sense of RIGHT. It was right to hold her back, even though it was hard and inconvenient. It was right to change curriculum, even though we had already started the other one, even though we had paid for the next year, and despite my pride not wanting to admit I was mistaken.
I’ve also had two friends change their curriculum or homeschool plans in the past few months. They cited similar reasons:
The format of the curriculum either wasn’t a good fit for their child’s learning style, or didn’t suit their family’s needs.
They were pushing too hard in one direction that they thought was right, but it wasn’t right for their child.
They wanted to actually enjoy school and not be burdened by the demands of a curriculum that was modeled too closely to traditional school.
And things may change again in the future. But the important part is being willing to change. To be flexible and pliable; able to move and adjust as needed. The only thing that is constant is change. We have to learn how to change willingly and gracefully. Changing begrudgingly, bitterly, grumblingly–that causes more pain and anguish, and makes the change so much harder. To accept the change with faith, joy, and humility–eases the growing pains and makes the change more bearable. In fact, I’m now excited for the change. I had my misgivings in the beginning, but now I see what a relief it will be, and I look forward to the change. We will continue to do little things here and there to keep her mind active and retain what she’s already learned, but the coming days will be so much easier and therefore, will produce more learning, as there will not be the distraction of frustration and discouragement.
Change is good. We’re looking forward to it.
So what changes have YOU made lately? What are you looking forward to in the near future? What kinds of struggles or challenges have you met in that process of change? Do you now see the benefit in change?
Curious about which curriculum I’ve chosen in place of the old one? You can follow this link to find out more!