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. ^.^