Month: February 2018

A Story Of Curriculum Choices

Once Upon a Time

This is the story of a mom who tried really, really hard to love a curriculum. She really did. She tried her hardest to make it work with her daughter, a feisty six-to-seven-year-old who loved doing things her way. And even though the mother worked and pleaded and tried to make lessons shorter and easier, somehow that little girl began to hate school. The mother was an understanding mother and hated to see her daughter, who loved learning, hate the method and the means of education in the home. It became a battle that wasn’t worth losing.

Now, this mother was also wondrously resourceful and never let problems keep her down. She knew that if she kept looking and searching, eventually she would find a better fit for her daughter. This time, it took much less time than it had in the past. The mother took this to be a good sign.

This new curriculum was full of well-written literature and wonderful stories. It has poems, fairy tales, chapter books, history, and even science! Yet it was written in such a way that the mother could add or subtract what she wanted to do that day or even that week. It was enough and not too much. Just like Goldilocks, she had found the “just right” means of education for her home!

Reality of Curriculum Choices

This scenario has played out more than a few times in our home. The latest version of the story has me realizing that the pace of my beloved Ambleside Online just isn’t quite right for my oldest. Not yet, anyway. I have tried to keep a slower pace in general with her, but sometimes it’s easier said than executed. Many mothers have opted to wait for their children to catch up developmentally to the program, especially those whose children have ADHD. However, my children need a form of routine to their days, and I have a hard time coming up with one on my own.

Enter Pathways. The author of the Wayfarers curriculum wrote this slower paced curriculum for preschoolers and younger elementary children. With the well-written literature selections and the slower pace, I think this school year might actually be redeemed! I’m looking forward to when our books arrive and I can sit and read to my three children at once. I’m also looking forward to spending less time per day on lessons.

Yes, I know that Charlotte Mason suggested shorter lessons anyway, but even with shorter lessons, my daughter starts spacing out and losing concentration halfway through the day. Even with alternating riches and core lessons, too.

The New Curriculum Plan

I’m a planner. I can’t really explain it, but planning something gives me lots of energy, much more than actually implementing it. The plans for the rest of this school year (and possibly into the next) are to start with Bible (always). From there, we will read from the Pathways reading plan for 3 days of the week and then work on phonics with Logic of English and math with Ray’s Arithmetic for the other 2 days. During the afternoons, we will spend time outside, do some Nature Study, enjoy Art Lessons, and listen to Classical Music.

It’s still very much a Charlotte Mason kind of method, but the means are not as strict and packed. I am hopeful that after a year or so of this, we can ease back into the Ambleside Online curriculum. We just need to ease into it first. ^.^

Driving out Darkness: Prayer and Planning

Of all of the many things I could blame for not loving my life, I think the number one thing is pretty easy to spot. I’ve spent a lot of time building up walls over the years, walls so thick that not even my kids can break through them. Walls that desperately need to come down if I’m going to live a life that truly values connections with others. They need prayer to knock them down.

But these walls are my cozy, safe place. I’ve spent years cultivating my own life within them. I know this space, these walls, this life. What I don’t know is what separates me from the rest of the world. Who wants to tear this trusty barrier down?

Well. I do. Because I want to love people well, and I can’t love others if I have huge walls built up. It’s scientifically impossible. And to live life to the fullest, I need those connections.

But all I can do right now is pray for those walls to come down. I have no other practical steps to take, and maybe I don’t need them. Maybe all I really need is the willingness to move forward.

Maybe that’s all we really ever need.

my next step

My plan for the next week is to pray for these walls to come down. That’s it. Well, that’s most of it.

I’m also reading The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson (affiliate link). What began as a search for practical information on how to create an atmosphere of love quickly became this confession. I can’t love if I can’t break down these walls. And I cannot break down these walls in my own strength. I need God to move in a big way.

Driving out the Darkness

This past weekend, I’ve felt again the insatiable darkness of our day and age. Especially for those of us who have put careers and jobs on hold to build up our families first. I can go for a few days without friends and support, but I can’t go forever. It’s a hard calling, motherhood.

We are told that we have to fill up our cups first in order to fill our children’s cups. But how often is that possible? I woke up at 6:47 this morning, crawled out of bed without disturbing the two tiny occupants, only to have maybe five whole minutes to myself before my seven year old claimed my arms and lap. And most mornings, I’m excited if I even leave the bed without waking up any tiny sleepers!

Is it even possible to take time for ourselves before the kiddos wake up?! Is it possible to make this life one that I look forward to instead of dread?

I truly believe that it is possible. It’s possible to find your tribe, to love your kiddos well, and to look forward to each day. At least, I hope it is.

I can’t say that I’m going to wake up every day before 5, soak in some quiet time, begin my day with exercise and breakfast, and make every moment count. I’m pretty much stuck in some aspects of my routine. But I can change some things.

I can spend less time on my phone and more time with my people.

I can write down the glimpses of light in my life.

I can spend time in my Bible, reading and allowing what I’ve read to change me.

I can live this life instead of the one in my head.

And I will keep a record of what I’ve learned on this blog.

This year is supposed to be one of LIGHT, and already it’s exposing my weak areas. *weak laugh* But that’s what light does: it drives out the darkness.

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