Monday, March 28, 2011

How Many Baby Books Did You Read?

I have been on the internet for countless hours for months now doing research on homeschooling--the pros v. cons, benefits and pitfalls, curricula, resources available, how to teach different learning styles and how to address the dreaded... SOCIALIZATION (insert gasp here).  We are beginning to acquire quite a library covering these very same topics.  At what point does one call it quits?

Yesterday afternoon, I sat down at the computer to compose a list of the different sources that we wanted to use for each subject.  Math and Science were easy.  We found things that we really liked for each child's individual learning style.  But things got quite a bit more dicey once I began to delve a little deeper into the Language Arts/Writing programs.

[For those who are curious, Math U See for our 7 year old son and Singapore Math for our almost 10 year old daughter.  We absolutely love Real Science 4 Kids for both of them.  Imagine teaching chemistry and physics on a level that a 1st grader truly can grasp!  It works, we tried it on both of them on a day that they were home sick.  Gotta love it when the company puts the entire text up on the internet for you to review.]

The number and types of Language Arts curricula out there will blow you away.  Company after company, homeschool mom after homeschool mom (they develop their own curricula to address the shortfalls that they found in the countless corporate approaches.)... everyone has their own approach. Should I feel guilty if I use a commercial approach, after all the shortfalls are so bad that it inspired someone to go out and write their own?  Let's not even get started on the customer reviews that accompany the plethora of these programs.  "It is the best."  "It is the worst."  "My child hated it!"  "My child loved it!"  "It transformed my reluctant writer."  "It made my child hate writing."  Egads!  This is RIDICULOUS!

I started to think about the same paranoid, panicky feelings I had back when I was pregnant with my 1st child.  "I don't know anything about being a parent."  "What if I do it wrong?"  "What do I do?"  Well certainly, the booksellers have figured out how to play into our collective paranoia.  "Buy books," is their answer.  They have books for every possible thing having to do with pregnancy and parenthood.  What pregnant woman did not read What to Expect When You are Expecting?  Even my OB practice gave it out to the new parents-to-be!

At some point, I gave up.  I took the one golden nugget that I had gleaned from most of those books.  Trust my own instincts.  Hmm, it was a novel thought at the time.  But, I got sick of reading books about becoming a parent.  I reached the point of developing a zen-like philosophy of "This will just have to be good enough.  If not, they can put it on their list of things to tell their therapist later in life."  I was not going to rename my approach to parenthood as "paranoia-hood."  Good, bad or indifferent, I was not going to read anymore on the subject. So there!  And you can't make me!

Which brings me to the point of where I am in the homeschooling curricula journey.  ENOUGH!  I am just going to pick something that seems promising. Unlike the school system, I will not be stuck with it.  If it does not seem to be working for one of the kids, then I will pitch it and try something else.  It's not like there won't be other choices!

My husband made an excellent point yesterday (Tell me he won't enjoy reading that little phrase over and over again.  It is almost as good as hearing me say that he was right and that I was wrong.), when we were discussing a writing program for our daughter.  Wordsmith Apprentice seemed like an interesting approach for our budding writer.  She loves to write, but still needs to develop the mechanics of writing.  Might this be a fun way to do so? Here's his excellent point--- It is less than $15.00.  For that price, it is worth giving it a shot, even if we only get a few good ideas out of it.  We would still be getting our money's worth.  Hmm, when you compare it to the private school tuition we have been paying, $15 is nothing.  He is absolutely right.

[Please forgive me, but I think he should be able to see this in writing one more time.  HE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.  Enjoy honey, who knows when you will ever see that again?]

Okay, so I am going to do the best that I can and just pick something.  Good, bad or indifferent, I am not going to read anymore on the subject.  So there! And you can't make me!  Not once did I diaper the wrong end of my newborn. I never dropped my children on their heads.  We never left the baby carrier on top of the car and drove off.  If I haven't ruined my children yet, how bad could my curricula choice be?  After all, they can always just add their curricula complaints to the list for their therapist for when they are older.

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