Choosing a Fall Curriculum

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.  – Pelé

We have about two weeks left in our 6th-8th grade school years, so you can imagine the intensity in our home.

I remember school winding down (in the olden-days) when I was in school many years ago, but we seem to do the opposite. In the spring, our Travel-School ramps up!

A year ago I worked hard to choose this year’s studies and the kids (and I) have learned so much.  It’s nice to see the finish line just ahead. However, we HAVE to finish EVERYTHING. And when everything is finished, that is when we stop school for the year.

Summer break, oh ya. We need and value our summer vacation. I need a break from my kids. My kids need time off from me.  We all love the freedom of summer, lazy days and time in nature. Our relationships are stronger when we are given some space and time apart.

So, while we are surviving spring homeschool DEFCON-level-4 and trying to wrap up the school year and all are excited for summer… I am also choosing our curriculums, literature and supplements for the fall.

Eclectic teaching at home requires a lot of research. There are new products available all the time.  Going up a grade year means big changes for both kids. New course reviews are coming out everyday and I try to read as many as possible in order to be sure I am buying what will work for my students. This is a tough call, but over the years I have learned a great deal about my teaching style vs my kids’ learning style. When I find a good program and can imagine a rewarding outcome, I don’t hesitate.

It’s important to commit. Once the course is chosen, books/workbooks purchased, then I can rest easy for a short time. When the materials arrive, I go through each course for the  preview and planning phase. If auxiliary supplies are needed, I buy them without delay. I want to set my kids up to succeed, so having everything they need is key. It is imperative we are flexible in our learning, but equally necessary to plan.

When a curriculum does not work. I have planned, purchased and previewed. I am excited about a certain course. I unveil it in September and by mid-October it is very clear –  the course is NOT WORKING. Now what?

This has happened to me and it is frustrating. Last year I was excited about trying a new science program. I bought the workbooks for each grade and they looked fantastic. I even knew another homeschool mom who loved the program, so I was confident it would be great. Well, I was wrong. It was a bad fit for us. The workbook and the online portal were difficult and user un-friendly. The website was confusing and the textbook, useless without it.  It was a bust. I had to quickly cut my losses and find a replacement science curriculum, stat.

When our science plan imploded, I had to improvise and fast. 

Expensive mistakes aside, we have had many happy surprises. Occasionally, supplemental lessons will fall into our laps through an unexpected source and we learn about something we had not planned.  Travel introduces us to new people, places and concepts in a way that we could not have imagined a prior interest.  Flexibility allows us to re-direct our course, switch to a new program and be on our way. 

If this is your first year Homeschooling, I would not recommend the eclectic approach.  Start off by buying the full year curriculum in-a-box for each grade year needed though an established and proven institution, like Classical Conversations or  Calvert Homeschool.

Although I am still figuring it all out, below are just a few of the core/add-on curriculums that will be included in our studies for next year.

Write Shop (writing and grammar)

IXL (social studies, math, spanish, science, language arts)

IEW (writing and grammar)

Calvert Math (math)

Music Appreciation (fine art study)

Good luck in your next school year planning ~

Pelé quote was found on

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