Monday, April 11, 2011

You Got To Know When To Hold 'Em...

Remember way back when I posted about our curriculum choices for the year?

...know when to fold 'em...

Remember how I started out talking about the beauty of homeschooling and punting one thing in favor of another to accommodate the needs of your students?

Well, though I would have never guessed it, I punted the one curriculum that I love and adore and had never even considered would be an ill fit for our family.

It is a curriculum I grew up using in the public school systems. It's straight forward and incremental and all of that wonderful stuff that lends itself to making for a strong choice.

And though the kids were absolutely getting the foundation they needed in order to build on this all-important subject, it just didn't fit into our family's schooling lifestyle.

...know when to walk away...

Taking into account that I am currently working with only two of my eventual five students, I began to recognize that the amount of time I spent on this subject (per the requirements of the set up of the curriculum) was simply not scalable. An hour or more just presenting the material and fiddling with the manipulative set with both Thomas and Sarah Grace wasn't horrid. However, knowing that it is so teacher intensive for the first several years and that I would soon be adding first Elizabeth - and soon after, Anna - I knew that we couldn't continue spending that kind of time on just one little subject per day.

I began to weigh the options.

...and know when to run!

In November, I shed not a tear as I laid aside Saxon Math and picked up Math-U-See.

Despite the fact that Thomas and Sarah Grace were half-way through their second year of Saxon (we had used it in Kindergarten, too), we started off with the Primer in Math-U-See. The concepts are presented a little differently and the manipulative sets are worlds apart.

For the first two weeks or so, we just did one lesson a week. This was just a chance to acclimate to the changes in approach. Soon, though, we started doing two lessons a week. Although they could handle more and are zipping along with nary a hiccup, the two lessons a week put us on track to finish 'on time'.

And the amount of time we spend daily? Puh. They watch the video instruction on Monday morning and then work on their papers at their own speed through out the week. It is rare that they call on me for any kind of help.

We love this math system. The kids enjoy working through the worksheets and building the numbers to get a visual of whatever concept is at hand. I adore that I am not strapped to the table with them and use the time to read to the younger two or do something in the kitchen.

Technically, this switch will put us 'a year behind'. I suspect we will work pretty quickly through the Alpha book, but not quickly enough to do two years within the boundaries of the next 'school year' even though we essentially school year round. We may eventually catch up, but what's more important is the Big Picture: I have more time to spend with children as needed on potential problem areas.

And this is a good thing, considering my classroom isn't getting any smaller!

1 comment:

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

It takes a big person to admit when they're wrong. ;-) I'm so glad it's working for you!