Posted in Spirited Blessings

DeSchooling

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You know, like detox? In the school sense of the word?

Yeah, I know it’s early in the year. We only made it through one and a half weeks of “school” before I realized I no longer need to be doing Complete Curriculum: Grade 1 ( Flashkids Harcourt Family Learning). 

Don’t get me wrong, the curriculum is great and for some children, it may be just fine, but it is not for my son.

Each day was a battle of wills and outright defiance on Blueberry Ball’s part. He has decided this year that he “doesn’t like school” and truthfully, it was breaking my heart. At the beginning of a new schedule, he always struggles a little to get into the new swing of things, but this was different. He spent hours of no tv, no toys, and no fun, just to not do schoolwork. I tried mixing it up, I tried walking him through it, I even tried letting Daddy be the “teacher”. Nothing worked.

The frustration and anger was immense on all sides.

Let me explain something to you. I was “homeschooled” and in a lot of ways, it was a great blessing. Not having the distraction of outside influences allowed me to build better relationships with my family and fostered a true sense of creativity. I don’t think I would be who I am today if I were not home schooled. However, within the first year of home school, I began to test my parents (as all children do) and they caved pretty quickly. By the next year, we were doing whatever we wanted to do for school. I caught up, got my GED at sixteen and even attended some college, but that is no thanks to my parents who gave up on our educations.

I obviously do not want this for my children. I want them to have a great start at a good work ethic, and a love for learning. Which is why we are at a stand-still right now.

At first, I had no idea where to turn for a different option on curriculum. When my mother in law saw our struggle first hand last Tuesday, she started describing the experiences she had with A Beka curriculum. My husband and some of his siblings all used A Beka for their early educations. I looked it over and thought it looked amazing.

I really dislike the way their website is set up. There is almost no help for first time buyers. There’s no start-up packages, no clear outline of what you need, nothing! Furthermore, I couldn’t even find a blog or forum anywhere of any first-hand experiences to be able to see the curriculum in action.

Also, while I think you may get what you pay for when it comes to curriculum, A Beka is expensive and this On A Dime Mom was a little nervous to take the leap-especially after seeing one curriculum fail so miserably already this year.

For both these reasons I am so grateful to my mother in law. She spent about an hour and a half on the phone with A Beka’s Customer service department and she ended up ordering over a thousand dollars worth of Kindergarten curriculum, workbooks, teacher’s manuals and more. She even purchased an extra copy of all the expendable items so Raspberry Bug can use it when it’s time as well! It was a complete surprise to us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you MIL!

Pros and Cons Foreseeable In The Near Future:

PROS-

  • It is a complete curriculum. Schedules, lesson outlines, teaching guides, ideas- it’s all right there! I love the idea of being this well-organized. I’ve been piecing our curriculum together since we started and crossing my fingers that I don’t miss anything. This is fine for Pre-K (I think that Blue learned more with this method of teaching for starters), but I do need to have an outline of clear goal and subject requirements as he gets into grade levels. It will give me a peace of mind to know that I’m not failing him in any one area.
  • This is a very Bible-based curriculum. I love the idea of integrating Bible into every subject of learning and I can’t wait to see how his relationship with God grows throughout this year.
  • I think it will be the right kind of challenges. This year, he will learn phonics, arithmetic, cursive, lots of Bible (did I mention that already?), and whatever extras we decide fits his learning styles this year. It has all the basics, plus the MIL ordered plenty of other subjects should we decide to use them.
  • If it doesn’t work for Blue, Red can still benefit from it.

Cons-

  • I feel a bit obligated to make this work considering she spent so much time and money making it happen. If Blue still doesn’t take well to it, do I push him to continue anyway, or was it all a waste?
  • I’ve read a lot of reviews from people saying that it is a lot of repetitive and sit down work. Blue is generally not that kind of a learner. Is it going to be difficult to maintain his interests?
  • As I mentioned above, I can’t really find an online example of what A Beka looks like in action. I’ve always loved looking for new ideas and methods, and examples of how things work. That’s one of the reasons I became a blogger myself. I’m a visual learner, and it seems this year more than ever, I will be learning how to teach. The flip side is that you will be able to read our successes and fails in A Beka this year 🙂
  • Keeping Red Occupied. I’m going to absolutely jump for joy if she can follow along with Blue doing Kindergarten work. But I am not going to expect it out of my two year old. We will more than likely have to do some sort of work boxes or busy bags for her. Something that she can do virtually independently that still makes her (and me) feel like she is a part of school. That alone presents a challenge with limited space and no laminator.
  • Speaking of limited space- have I mentioned we’ve been living on a boat for the last few months? Yeah. Thirty feet of living space. And did I also mention that the shipment coming in from A Beka is about fourty pounds worth of materials?… yeah. We have extra storage space at my husband’s office and since everything is laid out in the teacher’s manuals, I think it is reasonable to expect to only have three to four weeks worth of school on the boat at a time… but still….

For now, we are just going to enjoy deschooling ;). The curriculum won’t arrive four another two weeks (maybe up to four knowing how shipments usually work in Hawaii).The beach, the pool, the park, games, friends, and more should keep them occupied until then.

If you or someone you know could give us a few handy pointers on how to prepare before the curriculum arrives, your help and thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Please pray for our family during this difficult transition time.

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