It was 12:30 pm. The 2 younger siblings were down for rest time. My 1st grader was waiting anxiously at the classroom table. It was time for the daily math showdown. She would groan, get frustrated, maybe cry – I would try my best to take it slow, make it fun (yay for Pinterest math games!), and encourage at every possible turn.
This time I opened the book and was barely at the beginning of the lesson and she started to cry. I shut the book for good this time and started looking into the vast world of homeschool math curriculums. Here is what I learned during our mid-year switch up.
6 Lessons Learned from Changing Curriculum
1. The signs you need to consider changing your curriculum
As I look back on it, the signs were there long before I finally shut that book for good.
As our first year of homeschool started to progress, I noticed that math was the only subject that was met with significant resistance. My 1st grader started to groan and moan when I pulled out the book.
The next stage was that I started to moan and groan (on the inside) when it came to math. I fantasized about how perfect my homeschool would be if I could just find a way to get rid of math. I didn’t want to teach it!
I then started to notice that she was not retaining anything. It felt like her brain was a strainer. I was pouring all this information in…and it was falling out the other side! I couldn’t figure out how such a smart girl was having so much trouble.
The last stage was when math was consistently met with tears despite all my best efforts to make it fun and interesting. She began to say, “I’m just not any good at math!” We needed a change!
Is your homeschool burdened with one subject that puts a cloud over everything else? Do you dread teaching it? Is your child struggling to learn or retain anything you’re teaching? Keep reading!
2. Don’t be afraid to jump ship
When I was in my freshman year of college as a nursing student, I remember an administrator giving a speech with some amazing statistic about how many of us would change our majors over the next 4 years. My first thought was “Not me!”
I was bound and determined to stick with my major no matter what (and I did). That personality trait absolutely bled into my homeschooling. When I finally pulled the trigger and ordered the curriculum I had spent forever researching – it had to work! It was going to work! I had heard of other homeschools switching up curriculums mid year – and I immediately thought – “Not me!” I will follow through and finish what I start.
Famous last words apparently.
It felt like a failure to admit that it wasn’t working. I was a failure. My homeschool is a failure. What will my parents say? What will my homeschool friends say? More importantly what will my non-homeschool friends say??
The truth is I had it all backwards. I gave it my best, and that first curriculum failed us. Not the other way around.
I looked at my kid and my mother’s intuition said there has to be a better way. I am not going down on this ship with my kid. We’re getting out of here.
3. Ask for help and advice
There is an exhausting amount of math curriculums out there. Once I decided I was going to jump off that ship…I had to figure out what ship I was going to land on. I checked out countless reviews online, I asked questions in homeschooling Facebook groups (an invaluable resource), and I asked my few homeschool friends what they were doing and why.
There was much to consider and I really appreciated the support of others and the assurance I got before investing in another curriculum.
The curriculum we use now was recommended by a total stranger I met by chance at our co op. I was so frustrated with how things were going, that I just unloaded on this new friend.
She began to describe the curriculum she uses and it has been awesome for us! My daughter has been flying through lessons and sometimes even reading ahead to see what’s coming – what a change!
Don’t try to do it on your own. Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable. Don’t be afraid of admitting that you don’t have it all figured out. It is humbling – but when it comes to your kid’s education – it is so important to reach out and utilize the network around you.
4. What works for one…doesn’t work for everybody
You may be on the edge of your seat wondering what the curriculum was that I switched to…or better yet…what was the one we started with that caused all the tears.
It doesn’t matter. I know people that used the first curriculum and did wonderfully. I also know of people who didn’t care for what we use now.
It really only matters what works for your kid, their style of learning, and your style of teaching.
5. You are not teaching your kid to be a quitter
Yes, as I switched to the new program, I figured that my daughter (and everyone else) would think I was not in control of my homeschool. That I was showing my daughter that if she whined a little bit, I would roll over and buy her something new.
Pretty soon she would start quitting everything – the softball team, scouts, school altogether. She was gonna end of up in prison!!
Yes, I have a tendency to be fatalistic. It’s my right as a woman.
The truth is, I was teaching her that I see her. I care about her. I want her to really learn, and not just check the block that we gutted it out and finished a curriculum.
6. It’s okay to take a total break
During the time that I shut that book and another curriculum was ordered – we took a total break.
I mean we did zero math.
No trying to sneak in math questions or application during the day or during other lessons.
I mean ZERO.
And it was so good for her. I feel like it was time for both of us to clear our minds and reset. When it was time to get going again, I felt like we were recharged, her confidence was rebuilt, and we were ready to try something new.
Especially with math, I feel like there are fears that your child will get behind and never catch up – a thought process similar to my fatalistic despair from above.
If your student is really struggling with math, consider taking some time off and giving both of you a break and opportunity to start fresh.
Do you need to change up your curriculum? You are the only one who really knows. You are the only one who can tell if your kid is really struggling…or if they just need a bit of motivation to push through something that is challenging them.
If you are leaning towards the switch up (even if it’s the middle of the year!) – know that you are not a quitter!
It’s not your fault that this curriculum didn’t work for you and your student, one size never fits all when it comes to curriculum, don’t be afraid to take a total break to reset, and don’t forget to ask for help and advice from your homeschool community (however big of small that might be).
You should be proud that you have the power and love as a homeschooling parent to remove something that is not working for your child. Good for you and good luck!
Want to make sure you remember all of this if you need it later? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest board!