To curriculum or not to curriculum? Not even a choice!

It has taken me YEARS to decide on curriculum. No lie.

The decision to homeschool was discussed while my hubbie and I were still dating, it was something we were both very passionate about, and the hidden teacher in me loved the prospect of gentling guiding our children along the path of learning. Then, after marriage and having our first child, we knew that me staying at home and homeschooling was just the natural next step of life. From the birth of our first son, I taught him the names of everything around him, body parts, and sign language. I used Letter of the Week for awhile, and started using a conglomeration of many free resources, thinking that I would never have to purchase a curriculum. Why do that with so many free resources available?

While pregnant with Froggy, I discoverd Montessori started researching everything I could on it. I fell in love with everything about it- except the costly materials. Montessori at Home was a life saver, Montessori can be effectively and cheaply done at home.

However, Montessori didn't fit Monkey as well as I had hoped. While he did enjoy a lot of the work, he would go weeks without touching the same materials. I began scouring thrift stores for as many educational resources as possible, and to my surprise, found a sizable sum of games and expensive materials for dirt cheap. This was a major blessing and a great encouragement for me.

Around the time Froggy was born, Monkey and I became completely enamored with Usborne books, and reading their non fiction easy readers as a regular part of our day along with dozens of other books Monkey would choose to read. Adjusting to being a mom of two was difficult. How quickly we forget how much a baby takes it out of you! A lot of days we would just cuddle up together on the bed and read 20+ books a day (all Monkey's choosing) and I would read the book, ask questions, ask Monkey to count objects or find things on the pages. This was how did school for the first few months of Froggy's life.

When Froggy started becoming more mobile, Monkey started wanting school time back. I began getting things together and turned his unused bedroom (he sleeps on a mattress in our bedroom) into a classroom. The process took a very long time and is something I'm still working on today, although right now is the most organized and usable it has been yet. Having a classroom helped so much!

Until Froggy started walking. Froggy was getting into everything and causing chaos wherever he went (and still does!). School time can be difficult with a tornado of distraction going around crying and trying to do everything Monkey is doing. Things had to change! We started doing calendar time and our daily board before everything else. Any kind of workbox or game we started playing when Froggy was either in the playpen (which doesn't work for long, he wants out after ten minutes) or just on the kitchen table. At this point, I was still using free resources from the internet, and it was working all right, but I could tell Monkey was getting behind in certain areas. I've been told by many people that this happens when a new baby comes, but it got under my skin and I blamed myself.

The older Monkey got, he started getting ahead of me and wanting more. Planning each day out became a routine of me staying up late every night to get things ready for the next day. I began seriously looking into curriculum. The prices were frustrating for my very limited budget. I grew frustrated, until a member of our homeschool group sent out an email for two free homeschool conferences this year. My plan was to narrow choices down and thumb through them there and make final decisions. Going to the GHEA conference was AMAZING! Aside from the fact that, for once, hubbie and I didn't feel weird or out of place (other people were wearing their babies, no one glared at us for our loud teething baby, no one looked at us weird for talking to our baby). The best part was being able to look through everything I had been researching online, how much easier it is to make a decision when something is in your hands! I made plans for what to use for the next several years, committing to not buying new, but to scour the internet for ridiculously cheap used copies to keep our homeschooling costs down.

 My first purchases were placed yesterday and I couldn't be happier with the choices I have made. For kindergarten, I have purchased Weaver Interlock for $40 and Before Five in a Row for $11. This has been such an exciting step, a step I know to be in the right direction, I look forward to not having to spend HOURS daily on planning. Yes, I do still expect to plan, but only to add things here and there since Monkey enjoys arts and crafts as much as I do. There are two curriculums that I would like to utilize certain aspects of, but cost is keeping me from doing so. The first is My Father's World Kindergarten. I like the character traits and alphabet activities, what worries me is that it is too workbook based, I wouldn't purchase the workbook since I've created so many similar hands on activities that could go along with it, but I don't know. Once I get Interlock, I may not even want to use MFWK. We will just have to see. The other one is KONOS volume 1, I found one for $40 that I am seriously considering purchasing next month. I could use KONOS from kindergarten to eighth grade, and I have read some people use KONOS and Weaver along with some My Father's World materials to make a nice well rounded fit.

I am so excited to share with you all our next journey into homeschooling-using a curriculum!

The following is a tentative list of what I have chosen for the next few years. Ultimately, all of this depends on Monkey and what works for him. And being able to afford the materials.


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