Thursday, September 13, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Side Note: There's a lot going on in my life these days.  I have pulled out of Facebook for now, not sure if/when I'll be back.  I feel the need to draw closer to God & to my own family, without so many added distractions of other's & their families, during this time.  If you could please keep my family in your prayers it would be very much appreciated.  I was going to close my FB account completely, but that will also shut down a page I run, since I am the only administrator of the page.  So for now I'm just leaving my inactive account there to allow people access to that page.

On with my blog post:

I have been planning to homeschool my son since I was pregnant.  Even before I was pregnant, before I ever even imagined I would have a child of my own, I knew that if I ever did have a child that I would want to homeschool.  A private Christian school would be my next choice, with public school as my very last (& sort of 'over my dead body') option. 

I was looking into homeschooling since he was a little baby.  Everyone kept telling me "you have plenty of time, don't worry".  But my nature is to plan ahead.  I do not like waiting until the last minute to make a decision on pretty much anything in life.  And so I ignored those well-meaning warnings & continued looking around.

Some time ago, a year at least (maybe two?) I learned of a curriculum by Alpha Omega called The Weaver.  And I was totally sold.  I was sure that was the main curriculum I wanted to use to homeschool my son.  I love the idea of it--that it's a unit study type curriculum & all lessons tie into the same part of Bible the child is learning.  I really related to this because in nursing school (moreso in the LVN program than the RN program) they did this sort of thing.  Where in our main nursing lecture we were learning about a specific body system & in pharmacology we were learning about drugs used for issues with that particular system & in nutrition we learned about nutrition relating to that same system, etc.  And I found that it really helped to reinforce & put everything together better when learning that way. 

But in the past month or two I have begun to feel a bit unsettled with this decision.  I am subscribed to a few homeschooling groups/forums.  Some of them specific to Weaver.  And as I see the same issues come up over & over again & the same responses to them I have to start to question.  Now I know that nothing is perfect & there are going to be issues with ANY curriculum you use.  BUT I have to consider "myself" & I know myself well enough to know that I would not do well with these particular issues.  I used to see these issues & tell myself "if others are able to work around that then I can too", but now I'm finding myself wondering WHY I should settle for that & stress myself out about it when there are so many other options out there to choose from.  When I really don't HAVE to settle for that.

Now I must say that I feel very strongly that there are no bad curriculums.  Teachers & students vary so much in both teaching & learning that I think it's a wonderful blessing to have so many options to accomodate these variables.  Although I must also admit that I feel it's hard to decide which curriculum best fits both teacher & student.  I wish there was an easier way to narrow that down.  But I think it's also a bit like potty training--where you just have to dive in & start somewhere & then see what works & what doesn't & make adjustments along the way. 

I know myself very well & am very good at knowing what does & doesn't work for me.  I have to admit to myself that based on what I've learned about Weaver I don't think it will work for me, at least not peacefully.  It will add stress to my life, that I am sure of.  And is that what homeschooling is supposed to be like?  I just don't think so, not with so many options available.

So I've spent a lot of time in prayer & researching available curriculums in the past month or so.  There are soooo many & often they don't have enough details on their website to really decide what the advantage of using that curriculum over others is.  I've looked at a lot of reviews as well, although again just because it's great for someone else doesn't mean it will be great for ME.  So far I am feeling VERY strongly led to Sonlight.  But I know I still have 2-3 years before I have to officially begin with a curriculum so that decision is certainly not set in stone.

I like the overall layout of it, I LOVE that they offer a money back guarantee & reviews comment on phenomenal customer service with any issues or questions.  I've asked several people who are using it & they all cite the Biblical side of it as being phenomenal, which is a big plus in my book.  Although I've heard others (who aren't using it) criticize the Biblical aspect of it.  But just like anything else, that curriculum doesn't need to be the ONLY Bible learning the child is doing. 

I am saddened to say that I also asked on a Weaver forum, sharing my thoughts & feelings.  I am saddened because where I feel they should have accepted that Weaver is not possibly for EVERYONE, instead they basically just attacked Sonlight.  And some of the attacking was really unfair & unjustified in my opinion.  One of the attacks was that this person would never use Sonlight just because of the type of people that are on the Sonlight forum.  Now I've been on the internet for over a decade by now & very little shocks me anymore.  There are vicious people everywhere online.  And you certainly can't judge a company or curriculum based on that, at least in my opinion.

In addition to asking on the forums/groups, I've also emailed my small handful of friends that homeschool & certainly have more experience than myself at this point.  Experience counts for a lot in my opinion.  I got tremendous support from one of them, the others haven't replied as of yet. 

And so after saying all of that I still have to say I am undecided.  I might possibly end up changing my mind again & using Weaver after all.  Or I might use Sonlight.  Or I may find something else entirely & use that. 

I know there was some discussion in the news recently about making Kindergarten mandatory.  I need to look into that & find out if it is now or not.  If it's not I will probably skip Kindergarten & just start at first grade.  Unless I use Weaver--Weaver was the only reason I was planning to do K, because the K curriculum covers Gen 1-10 & 1st grade starts at Gen 11.  I certainly don't want to skip the whole creation & early Gen, so I'm sort of forced to do K if I use Weaver.  I would much prefer to skip K, & that is actually another reason I am questioning using Weaver.


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