Monday, March 15, 2010

Planning Ahead

The end of this year is approaching quickly. I've liked a lot about our first year of Otherwise Educating. I have to be truthful, though, and tell you that there has been more than a little about our first year that has frustrated me and made me feel like a totally lame homeschooling mom.

It was about a year ago that I started thinking seriously about Otherwise Educating my children. I had big, big plans. I shunned the all-in-one curriculum. I wanted to "roll my own"...choose the best of everything. I did just that. Some things I chose I love, some things I don't love.

One thing I don't love is the fact that I often feel so disjointed. I feel like I never have enough time to plan properly, to coordinate subjects, etc. I often feel so overwhelmed by everything I want to teach my children that I end up paralyzed, not ever settling on one thing. There are days on end when I feel like all we really accomplished was trudging through Math and Grammar. Where is the creativity in that? Something has to change for next year.

I've done a complete 180 and decided to go with a pre-planned curriculum next year. Shocking, I know. I feel like I need something that will lend structure to our days and weeks. I want something that will provide a "jumping off place" for our learning.

My criteria for a curriculum are pretty tough.
  • I want something that allows flexibility in timing...something that doesn't have a daily schedule, but has a more general schedule. I'm a little OCD, and I have trouble letting go of things on a list. (That's precisely why the Fly Lady routines never worked for me. I couldn't keep up yet I couldn't let go. I always felt like a failure.)
  • I want something that is heavy on good literature. I can't stand the idea of my children reading paragraphs and answering comprehension questions.
  • I want something that is integrated across subjects.
  • I want something that will easily allow me to expand on topics of interest.
  • I want something that is "holisitic". Something that educates the whole child, not just one side of the brain. Something that will inspire and nurture creativity and imagination.
I thought I'd never find a curriculum that is a good fit for us, but after much searching, I came across Oak Meadow School. It was love at first sight! It is Waldorf-inspired curriculum that encompasses everything I love about homeschooling. There is too much to go into here, but please check out their site if you are looking for a great curriculum for next year.

It can be a little pricey, but I had many of the required books, and the ones I don't have, I know I can find at the Goodwill or used on Amazon. I also found some of the teaching materials for about half-price on Ebay.

I can't wait until it arrives! Once I get it and have a chance to look over it, I'll post my thoughts about it.

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