Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with the major curriculum change

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Weekly Wrap-Up

Happy Friday, y’all! I hope you’ve had an excellent week. We’ve had a strange one. For one thing, we’ve done just the very basics of school because, after an epiphany Sunday night and a long discussion with the kids Monday morning, we’ve decided to make a major curriculum change.

How major, you ask? I ordered workbooks for both kids for history, science, and language arts.

You know how I feel about workbooks, right? I recently told someone that the homeschool section of our local used bookstore is enough to make me break out in hives because it’s all dry, boring (in my opinion) workbooks.

That being said, the kids had valid reasons for wanting to change – including the desire for greater independence and autonomy with their schoolwork – and the subject they like best is grammar, for which they use Easy Grammar and Daily Grams. Which are workbooks. It never occurred to me that the fact that their grammar is composed of workbooks might be one reason they like it so much.

So, I ordered the books, which will be here today, and the kids will start them on Monday. Have no doubt, if this goes the way they’re thinking it will, there will be an entire blog post dedicated to this in the future. It will be something about doing what works for your kids even if it makes you want to gouge your eyes out. Of course, that’s just the working title.

And, of course, I fully intend to look for opportunities to supplement what they’re learning with hands-on activities. That also means that my day in the life post that I just shared at Simple Homeschool might look drastically different in a couple of weeks.

Josh and Megan dance

My babies all grown up and ready for their first dance last Friday. It’s humorous to note that even Facebook thinks Megan is my mini-me. I was going to tag the kids in the picture and when I hovered over Megan’s face, my avatar popped up with the question, “Do you want to tag yourself?”

In our lengthy discussion on Monday, we also chose the book we’re going to read for our family book clubThe Scorch Trials, the second book in the Maze Runner series. Josh read The Maze Runner. The rest of us watched the movie. I’d rather read the first book first, but to find something we all agree on, I’ll deal with starting the second book without having read the first. Let the record show that I don’t like it, though.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the fact that each of my kids has found their niche? Brianna heads off to cosmetology school each day. I regularly work to the sounds of the drums or electric guitar in the background as Josh practices his music. And, Megan cannot get enough of gymnastics even though she practices 3.5 hours a day, three days per week.

To me, that is one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling – being able to give kids time and space to discover, nurture, and invest in their gifts.

Josh New Year's Dance

He’s so stinking handsome, if I do say so myself.

Yesterday was a busy day. I babysat my niece early in the morning while my sister ran an errand. Then, almost as soon as she left, Megan and I were out the door for back-to-back haircuts. I figured I should get them out of the way since we had a lighter school week this week waiting on books.

Megan New Year's Dance

We’ve got the baseball bat all ready for beating the boys away from my beautiful baby, who was rocking the Converse with her dress.

We had lunch together, then, came home in time for her to get the basics completed before a friend came over to hang out. I did some online work and baked a cake for my other niece’s birthday before we headed out for her birthday dinner.

And, there was snow. I didn’t even realize it was in the forecast. It was just a little dusting – the good kind of snow that is pretty, but not too messy, and goes away quickly.

It’s another busy day for us today, so I’m off, leaving you with a wish for a wonderful weekend.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I feel your pain!! L, my ultra organised twin, has asked for work books for everything bar history which they all love.
    I guess work books must hold a fascination because they are unknown! I’ve already chosen curriculum for this year but I will be looking into work books for her come September if she still has her heart set on them.

    1. Maybe that’s it – the unknown. We debated waiting until the fall to start, but ultimately decided to go ahead. We’ll see how it goes…

  2. I love her dress and the shoes! It looks awesome! Your son looks very handsome too 🙂 I’m glad they let you take pictures 😉 My son took his first guitar lesson this week and he’s so excited! I’m excited for him too as I play the piano and want a guitar player in the family LOL. Thanks for hosting the link up and hope you have an awesome weekend ahead!

    1. I think they were secretly kind of having fun dressing up and happy with the outcome, resulting in the lack of balking about me taking pictures. 🙂 It will be fun when you and your son can play together!

  3. I have also been struggling in making a decision on changing to workbooks. I feel so guilty about wanting to do it though! We compared books last night and showed our son, to which he responded, “I’ll do whatever” 🙂 I know there’s so many homeschool “experts” who say teach to your child’s learning style, but when your child doesn’t really care…..I am not creative, I have been dealing with the side effects of cancer, and Ive been homeschooling for 13 (a little burned out), I just need to allow myself to make the switch without the guilt, and not keep going with living books and popular curriculum that isn’t meeting our needs:)

    1. Exactly. You have to do what works for your family – no guilt allowed. 🙂 What workbooks are you looking at? We looked at a couple and the kids did actually have an opinion – and even the workbooks they chose are not the ones I would have chosen. I figure I’m not the one who has to do them, though.

  4. Workbooks? Interesting. I’ll be curious to see how they feel about them overall by, say, summer. I’d love to know which ones you’ve ordered – can I hope there’ll be a post to share?

    Your kids are both rocking the individual style! It’s great to see a young woman in a dress that looks so good without flashing anything – I’m not super picky but there were a lot of girls at a dance here recently who looked like they had worn their underwear instead of their clothes!

    1. LOL on that last line. Um, yeah. Not happening here.

      Yes, I’ll share a bit more about the workbooks later. Let me make sure we don’t despise them first. 🙂

  5. I understand how you feel about workbooks. I am headed out to buy some this weekend. I wanted to homeschool so my kids wouldn’t have to do worksheets all day, but my oldest could do them all day! It’s all about balance. Have a great weekend!!

    1. Yes, that. I’m trying to be all like, y’all don’t have to do worksheets all day – and they want them. What’s up with that?? We’ll see how it goes. A part of me hopes it’s a good fit because I do see the benefits behind some of their reasons for wanting them. The other part of me hopes they decide that workbooks are extremely boring and that they really are fortunate to have a cool mom who wants to do hands-on stuff with them. You know, because a little appreciation for my efforts would be nice. 🙂

  6. Big changes are always at least a little bit hard! But you are right – as they get older it’s only natural they’ll want to be more independent. Looking forward to seeing how it works for you (especially as my daughter is getting older too and I like to see how families with older kids are doing things!).

    1. I was over winter before it even started. 🙂 It was just a little dusting – not even quite enough to be really pretty, but not enough to be too messy either, so it’s all good.

  7. Haha! I had the same thing happen to me growing up. I hate/detest/abhor hands-on things. Early on in her homeschooling journey, my mom found Konos, a unit study program. That was also the year she figured out she needed to throw workbooks at me. It was wonderful. I was (and am, still working on that pesky college degree) a straight-A student. I also did figure out some activities/hobbies I like to do (I’m a calligrapher and jewelry artist). I’m now trying to figure out how to teach my own kids. My daughter is ALL about the crafts. I signed her up for a coop that had crafts and then found out they wanted parental participation (oh the horror!) My son I’m not sure about, but I suspect he’s like me and likes the workbooks. So, in summary, don’t despair. Kids who don’t like activities will turn out fine. And depending on their level of abhorrence, don’t push the hands-on too much. I cringed when I read you still wanted to fit them in there, probably like you cringed when you ordered those workbooks;) but cheers for finding what works and doing it. I’m biting the bullet and organizing crafts for my daughter’s group (she says yay! I say oh no! And she laughs at me).

    1. I have friends, a homeschool mom and her graduated, adult daughter, with whom I was talking about the workbook thing the other day. The graduated daughter was very much a workbook girl. Loved them. She is perfectly well-educated. 🙂 If it makes you feel better, I kind of had the same thought about the hands-on activities as I typed it – if they want workbooks, why push hands-on activities? I won’t push them. The kids often enjoy the hands-on stuff like science experiments and the cell cake we did awhile back, so I’m thinking if I can still include them judiciously maybe we’ll find a balance we can all live with.

  8. I have read all three Maze Runner books. Of these recent dystopian series, it has been my favorite. The movie was okay, but you know the book was better. It always is. 🙂

    We had a year of notebooks when I had babies back-to-back. My son loves to fill in blanks. I don’t think he learned as much as the year before, but that was also because I was less involved due to all the babies. I think workbooks paired with extra reading, discussion, and the occasional supplement can made a great curriculum.

  9. It is amazing when kids ask for a change, isn’t it? And scary? My oldest has had a lot of input into the curriculum she uses since 7th grade (she’s 8th this year). It has sometimes surprised me what she chose, and other times not. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think of the changes and what the kids think too!

  10. Wow! They look great! Love her dress and shoes. We use workbooks for some subjects. The nice thing about them is they are very portable. Makes it easy to take schooling on the road, dentist, doctor’s office, etc.

    1. Yes, there are definitely benefits to workbooks. There are some aspects of using them that I am looking forward to. I hope this goes well!

  11. Your kids are so good-looking! Beautiful photos!

    I’m also struggling with doing the things my kids like. One of them can no longer concentrate well and I’m shuddering at all the screen time she’s getting to help her learn and cope.

    But it’s about them, not about our ideas and ideals.

    1. Absolutely, Annie Kate. I can’t go around shouting from the rooftops that homeschooling allows me to provide my kids a customized educational experience if I’m unwilling to provide what they need in order to go with what I want. {sigh}

  12. Is it a thing with homeschooled girls to wear their Chuck Taylors with beautiful dresses? My niece did the same thing for a public school prom that she went to with her “boyfriend” who was a public schooled. She wore a beautiful formal red dress with her red Chuck Taylors and it looked awesome. I love that independent thinking in kids who ignore the trends in order to be themselves. My niece said that she didn’t want her feet to hurt.

    Your son has grown up to be quite handsome. You should be a very proud mama Kris. You’ve worked hard over the years and now your kids are growing into happy, healthy young adults. Happy alone can be quite the feat for a parent to accomplish!


    1. Thanks, Stephanie. Megan is a self-professed tomboy. It was her decision to wear the dress, but she also said she wasn’t wearing it without the Converse. It turned out cute, so whatever, I guess. 🙂

  13. We had a change-up in our curriculum this week too, into a Japanese textbook that I used myself once upon a time, and didn’t like at all. But the kid is happy, and I *did* learn a bunch from that text, so we’ll see how things go. The weird disorientation, though, I feel ya. Trying to roll with it!

    1. Hopefully, we’ll both survive this textbook thing. As long as they’re learning, I guess I can live with whatever method it happens to involve.

  14. Not that I’m a kid, but I’ve been teaching myself French for the last couple of years (I’d had a few classes in college and always meant to get back to it one day), and it wasn’t until I broke down and bought some workbooks that my grammar and verb conjugations really started to improve. They’re boring, but they do serve their purpose!

    Great photos, btw. The kids are looking amazingly grown-up.

    1. Thanks! They are getting so grown. I agree that workbooks can serve their purpose. Day 1 and the kids have had a rude awakening that, hello? They’re still work. 🙂

  15. This post was very timely for me. I’ve been thinking (wishing, dreaming!) about how to shift our schooling to more independent work, and worksheet type curriculum would help. Add me to the list of people looking forward to hearing about your choices and how it works!

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