Rule Curriculum For Your Advanced Learner

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I feel like an accidental homeschooler. Years and years ago while we were dating, my husband suggested homeschooling as an option for our future children. I laughed him off and thought nothing would ever come of it. God had other plans for me and He brought me around to homeschooling.But, once I was in, I was all in. You could call me a Charlotte Mason, Classically-leaning, interest-led, eclectic homeschooler. I had no idea where to start so I did something that most veteran homeschoolers will tell you not to do: I bought a boxed curriculum. Jonathan was only three years old at the time and a friend recommended this curriculum because she was using it with her kids at the elementary level. I knew Jonathan loved books, so I thought this curriculum would be a good fit.Everything was great until we came to fairy tales. Jonathan hates fairy tales with a passion I cannot even begin to describe to you. I tried and tried, but nothing was working. It was in the schedule, so I had to read the book to him. I bought the book, so I had to use it.Wrong!Don’t misunderstand me: boxed curriculum is not necessarily bad, but you can’t let it rule you. The curriculum maker does not know your child. I learned very quickly that I have an early learner and an advanced learner. I had to get creative. I had to get to know my son.
Know Your Child

At three and a half, Jonathan expressed interest in learning to read. I didn’t expect to be teaching him to read this early and I had no idea what I was doing, but I followed his lead. Within one month, he was reading at an early 1st grade level. He liked writing in a workbook that went with his reader and he liked to do it at 10pm. He would sit at Starbucks with me and read a book. We ran into some plateaus where I had to help Jonathan stretch and grow before he could take off again, but for the most part, I’m running trying to keep up with him.

We started Astronomy at 4 years old. Sounds crazy, right? Not for Jonathan. Lucky for us, Jeannie Fulbright and Apologia have an excellent elementary science book on Astronomy. We dive in once a week or so and cover however much Jonathan wants to do that day. There’s no expectation of finishing the book in the “school year” and that’s ok. If it take 18 months, fine. Two years? Not a problem. We don’t do all the experiments and sometimes we skip pages in the notebooking journal. We discovered in this process that he enjoys lapbooking. He even made a little video about why you shouldn’t stare at the sun. But the point is not to memorize everything there is to know about Astronomy by age 5. He’s learning to explore and love the world that God created.

Would you teach a 4 year old how to write in cursive? I didn’t think so, but Jonathan asked to learn, so I gave him some examples and he practiced. Then he started doing some of his memory verse copywork in cursive.

Do Not Compare Your Child

The most important part of our day is Bible. Even if we don’t do anything else in a day, we read the Bible or work on memory verses. We use the Charlotte Mason memory box method (free printable) to help us keep previous verses fresh. The best day ever in homeschooling was the day that Jonathan became a Christ-follower while reading one of his school books. Jonathan loves the What’s in the Bible? DVD series and I’m a terrible mother: I allow him to watch them over and over again, sometimes for hours. The result? He can tell you more facts about the Bible and theology than the average adult.

You need to get to know your child. Don’t worry about what another family is doing. Find your child’s strengths, interests, and pace. Speed up or slow down as needed. Push as need. Linger as needed. It’s ok to drop a book that doesn’t fit your child or your family. It’s ok to take a day off or do school at 10pm at night. Most importantly: You and your child are in charge of the learning, not your curriculum. Don’t let your curriculum rule you.!

 

ThePelsers.com Amanda Pelser has been married to her high school sweetheart, Josh, for almost nine years.  They have two young boys, Jonathan and Jacob.  She has a BA in Bible from Anderson University and a MA in Old Testament Studies from Talbot School of Theology.  She is a former church communications director turned stay-at-home-mom.  She spends her days running after and homeschooling her boys.  Amanda opens her home as an inspiring and encouraging shelter for the heart of women through her writings of faith, motherhood, and homeschooling at ThePelsers.com and through her ebook Finding Joy in Depression.  She loves to read, so any time she can, she hides away with a book, her fuzzy blanket, and a homemade chai or vanilla latte in her favorite mug.

 

Enjoy All of the 10 Days of Ruling Your Curriculum series..

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing, Amanda! Rebecca – I’m really enjoying the series. It’s opening my eyes to the possibilities. Happy Monday, friend! :)

  2. This is SO us… I needed this encouragement as I look forward to next year. It’s difficult finding that right balance and feeling like a slacker/slave driver depending on the day/week. Thank you!!

  3. What a wonderful post! Every child is a unique and precious gift, and I think all of us, especially those with more than one child, need this reminder! I am going to try your Scripture memorization system. How did you choose which passages you wanted them to memorize? Thank you for the wonderful idea! Many blessings, Lisa