Thursday, January 9, 2014

Same curriculum, different kids

I know I've realized this before (and probably wrote it before) but just because one curriculum works for one child doesn't mean it will work for the next child.  Or maybe it will work but not in the same way.  Maybe I liked one curriculum for one child because he was more independent and he would read through each lesson and then do the exercises and occasionally ask for help.  But when a different child uses that same curriculum, she has a different learning style and wants me to actually teach the lesson or go over it with her.  That's great but when I have to go through the curriculum, suddenly I don't like that curriculum as much.  It's not as teacher-friendly.  And then I'm searching on-line, asking friends, looking for something else that will both our styles better.

It's not that I get bored or am wanting to find the best one - it's that each year is different with different learning styles.  I'm even a different teacher, depending on the child.  Brendan prefers to figure things out on his own with little input from me - but he does need a schedule and he does need to know what I expect him to do every day because he won't do extra.

Tori learns best if someone explains it to her or if she can manipulate objects to see the answer.  She will quickly put up road blocks if she feels something is too difficult so I have to be patient and not get frustrated.  This is not a strong suit of mine but I am working on it.

Rachel and Owen are a whole new ball game.  They are more of a "class" and I have to make sure they're both learning things and not just copying each other.  They're also very competitive with each other and I have to be careful of that, too.  One will try to finish faster but then be sloppier or make a silly mistake.

Sometimes I feel like I'm just looking for the easy way out when I keep trying different curriculums.  It helps to realize there is a reason behind what I'm feeling and it's more than a whim.  I have to learn to trust my instincts more with my kids - that's one of the benefits of homeschooling.  Who knows these kids and how they learn better than me?  Another benefit - I can pray for wisdom.  I don't always think about it but I know God cares about our homeschooling and their education.  That should be the first thing I do before I open a curriculum catalog or attend a homeschool convention.  It's somewhat discouraging that Brendan is in 8th grade and I'm still figuring this out.

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