I'm beginning to think there will never be a time when I won't question our curriculum choices for the kids. There will always be something out there that looks better. The last 2 years I got hit by the spring curriculum fever. I notice it seems to hit a lot of homeschool moms out there this time of year. Looking to the future, burned out and fighting cabin fever at the same time, moms (and dads) across the country begin to look at the stacks of homeschool books they already own and think "I bet there's something out there that would keep us more interested and we'd probably like better". Sometimes it's a good thing, more often than not it's a less than good thing.
When the urge to rethink our entire collection of books hits, I'm reminded of the scene in "Bee Movie" where Barry the bee slams himself into the closed window over and over again saying "maybe this time...this time...this time". That's the way I feel. That maybe this time we'll make the right choices. After having done hours and days and weeks and months of research, believing we have FINALLY found the right program, sit down to start teaching and know just moments in...this.will.not.WORK! That is the absolute most frustrating moment. That and because we bought it used there's no returning it and getting our money back. Right now I'm stuck with the decision of whether to continue the science book that we are halfway through and is boring us to tears or to ditch it and either get rid of it or go back to it later. It's hard to let go of something you know isn't working.
Josh and I have talked and prayed for a while and we think we are going to work towards using more old fashioned, tried and true curriculum choices. After discovering the good old McGuffey eclectic readers available on Kindle, I downloaded all the ones available and tried them out with Jaysen. Low and behold, it clicked for him! The only hitch is he doesn't like having an actual book in his hands, that was easily remedied recently when I found an affordable set for sale. I've also discovered that the old Ray's Arithmetic books are available free on Googlebooks and I'm going to look those over closely soon. I've found a good resource for finding older (think 1800s) curriculum: An Old-Fashioned Education
Our feeling is that what worked for the older generations should be good enough for our kids. Back then, kids got a good, solid education. Much more in depth than what kids get in public schools today. I think at least some of the reasons were back then many of the young men left school early to work the family farms and many of the young ladies married before they could finish school. Therefore, it was necessary to squeeze in as much education as possible to make sure that kids got as much "schooling" as they could get before it became necessary to leave the schoolhouse behind forever.
One of the things I've remembered from my own school days was how boring and tedious it was. I rarely could get really interested in the lessons. Several of my teachers over the years confessed to my parents that they knew the school work was too easy for me and was boring, but with a classroom full of students they just didn't have the time to come up with more interesting lessons for me. So I muddled through and got lower grades than I probably would have if the lessons had better. I don't blame my teachers, I had wonderful men and women teach me over the years and several of them I will never forget. But I know I want better for our kids. I don't want them bored to tears. I don't want them left to struggle with no hope of ever catching up. I want them to WANT to learn and I will do the best I can to give them that love of learning. Even if it means changing our approach to how we do that and what books/materials we use every year to accomplish it.