When mommy suffers from a chronic illness, following a strict homeschool curriculum can feel like a Salmon trying to swim upstream. It can be defeating when you are ruled by your curriculum – no matter what state of health you are in. But, for a mom with a chronic illness – it can feel hopeless, like personal failure.
I’m a list maker. I enjoy planning my homeschool days – and I enjoy making my list of things to do – and checking them off. Having a curriculum saves me a ton of time and energy! It has been a God-send for our family this past year to have a structured, organized curriculum to follow. With 3 boys at 3 separate stages of the game – I was running myself ragged trying to plan and organize for everyone.
Having a curriculum to follow has taken away the guess work for me. I know what we have to do and what we’ll need to get it done. The problem is that without flexibility – I could really stress myself out over it.
When I look at the full curriculum – I can be overwhelmed. It helps to know that at the front of my text book for Trail Guide to Learning – It reads “To be used as a guide- be sure to tweak it to meet your families individual needs” – OK, that’s not a direct quote. I like to paraphrase. That is what the paragraph at the beginning of my curriculum means.
It’s a novel concept and one I am ever so grateful God hit me over the head with. If something isn’t working – change it!
If the curriculum says to read pages 10 – 15 of “Wonderful Biography Such and Such” and your children learn better by hearing the full story, then discussing it – go ahead and read the whole book!
Do it your own way.
The only way I have survived homeschooling with Rheumatoid Arthritis over the last 5 years is by letting go of what I (or someone else) think our homeschool should look like – working within the parameters of what our homeschool actually looks like – and being O.K. with it.
Some days that means we curl up and read together in mommies bed. Other days it means we bring our clip boards outside to get fresh air and sunshine while we do a nature study or Bible time – or even math! You can actually do math outside – it is possible. You can even use acorns, shells, or rocks to do it. I promise.
I have dealt with daily pain and lack of energy – and three little boys. They are active little critters. Boys don’t like to sit still for long periods of time. I require them to have some semblance of discipline – but let’s get real people – I don’t want to fuss at them all day long about it. I have had to loosen up on many fronts. Once in a while (or every few days) we put down the books and count sea shells instead.
Play-dough is not a part of my curriculum. But, I have a little boy who cannot sit still without having something to do besides listening to me teach. Play-dough is a solution to that problem. If your children are particularly restless and you are able – drop the plans for the day and head off on a nature walk to find some inspiration. It may be that discovering and observing that tiny sweat bee on that little weed – is just what your child needed to get excited about reading. Make observations and then go home and look up what you saw.
You know your family better than anyone. You understand their needs more than anybody else on the planet. (Other than their Creator, of course) He has given you instinct and the ability to nurture – use it in your homeschool. The curriculum is not what is best for your children – you are what’s best for them. Learn to use it as your guide. It isn’t a road map you must strictly adhere to for fear of being lost. There are many paths that will bring you to the same end when it comes to teaching your children.
The only one who knows and loves your children more than you do – is Christ. He will lead you through the storm – if you only trust Him. If you begin and end with the Word of God – hand Him your failures – and listen for His voice – you will see His mighty hand on your homeschool and in your home life. I would not be capable of teaching my children without the guidance, wisdom, and grace of God. Where He leads me – I will follow
No matter what the curriculum says!
Remember WHO IS in charge
God bless you in your homeschool adventure,
Kelli Becton is a homeschool mother in an active family of 3 boys. She and husband Mark live along the Gulf Coast of Florida where they spend as much time as possible exploring the great outdoors. They seek to deepen their relationship with their Creator, and know Him better, by the close study of His handiwork. It is her goal to encourage homeschool families to grow and learn together with Christ at the center of their home and studies. Kelli is a published author who has had several magazine and newspaper columns. She currently writes as the Port Charlotte Outdoor Recreation Examiner at Examiner.com and blogs about their homeschool life at www.AdventurezinChildRearing.com
Enjoy All of the 10 Days of Ruling Your Curriculum series..
- Day 1: Rule Your Curriculum With a Plan
- Day 2: Keeping Curriculum As Servant
- Day 3: Individualize Your Curriculum
- Day 4: Who’s In Charge
- Day 5: Now, I’m In Charge! (Ruling Curriculum for children with Learning/Health Issues)
- Day 6: Rule Curriculum For Your Advanced Learner
- Day 7: Use Notebooking to Rule Your Curriculum
- Day 8: Rule Your Curriculum With Wise Counsel
- Day 9: How to Put a Bad Curriculum In Its Place
- Day 10: Let God Rule Your Curriculum