Providing your child with the best education is important to you. It is likely the reason you have decided to homeschool in the first place. You put a lot of time and energy into figuring out which homeschool method suits your family and just as much time, if not more, into choosing homeschool curriculum. You were SO excited to get started. A few weeks (or months) into your homeschool year, and you've realized that the curriculum you chose just isn't suited to your child's learning style. Here are some tips on what to do when the homeschool curriculum isn't working out…
What to Do When When the Homeschool Curriculum Isn't Working Out
If your child is struggling to learn and understand the different subjects you are covering, you may both feel frustrated and concerned. While it is reasonable to feel frustrated, know that there are several things you can do to help your child when your chosen homeschool curriculum simply is not cutting it. The first thing to do is to pause and breathe. Remind yourself – you can do this… you can teach your child. Calmer? Okay, then let's tackle this. If this is your first bump along the chosen curriculum path, please know that you are not alone.
Determine What It Isn't Working Out
When you hit these speed bumps, you have to determine what isn't working. Is it actually the curriculum that isn't working out? Or is it teaching style vs. learning style? I could also be the schedule or routine that isn't working.
Most homeschoolers hit bumps along the way when it comes to curriculum choices. The curriculum you chose may not work out for your child for many reasons.
- It's a lot of writing – and they hate writing.
- A ton of books – and they hate reading.
- It relies on memorization – and they struggle with memory permanence.
- It's mostly seatwork – and they prefer hands on.
Don't throw the curriculum out just yet, because other changes may salvage it.
Switch Things Up
When the curriculum isn't working out, switch things up a bit. Sometimes, a new approach is all that is needed. Is your curriculum book based? Check out some videos. Is your curriculum video based? Try some hands on activities and experiments. Often times, a simple change in routine can increase engagement and get kids interested in learning. If you can switch things up a bit, it can genuinely make a difference in your child’s life. You can easily find activities that your child can do online or at home with various supplies.
Is your child balking at reading time? Turn it into a game!
Things stalling out in science? Try some science experiments to get them engaged. Not only can you look online for kid-friendly experiments to do at home in your kitchen, but you can also purchase scientific experiment kits online from different sites, such as Amazon.com.
Is your child struggling to learn their math facts? Learn new ways to drill math facts or try math wraps.
Do they really just hate handwriting practice? Let them write jokes or gross facts.
If you take the extra time to look for fun activities that encourage learning while allowing your child to have a good time, the curriculum may become much easier for your child to follow. Rather than giving you a difficult time when it is time to complete schoolwork, your child may look forward to completing different activities because they are interesting and fun.
Take a Break
Remember how I said to pause and breathe? Sometimes you just need a break. Your kids to, too. Go on a field trip. Do a movie marathon. Go to the playground, the river, the campground, the pool… buy them a bunch of water balloons then let THEM fill them up… whatever. Just take a breather from formal lessons, and then regroup. A break may be all you need to reset for success.
Adjust your Routine
Ask yourself is the curriculum the problem, or the schedule? Do you need to move toward homeschooling with routines, instead of schedules? Yes, there is a difference.
Sometimes a simple switch from “we start at 8 am” to “we're going to start morning lessons after breakfast” can reset the mood in your homeschool.
This one is HARD. Sometimes curriculum just isn't suitable for a child, or to your family. It doesn't mean it's a bad curriculum. It just means it's not a good match for the season you're in. Season's change, and we have to be flexible enough to change with them.
If adding fun and engaging activities helps, but you still feel like the curriculum is still not working out for your child, it is best to look into other types of curriculum to follow.
- Different types of homeschooling models exist for a reason – not all children learn the same way, and some struggle more than others with certain subjects.
- For example, if the curriculum you selected is based on the the classical method of homeschooling, consider switching to a Montessori-style curriculum that encourages children to take the lead when it comes to completing assorted school-related tasks.
As with anything, you will need to research the other curriculum option before you make the switch. What you select will be different if you're homeschooling one child vs homechooling multiple grades. It might also differ if you are teaching a gifted reader versus a child with dyslexia. We ditched the reading curriculum that we used for our son because it didn't work for our oldest daughter.
Homeschooling your child is beneficial for many reasons. There are many great curricula, but you might have noticed the curriculum you are following is not working out for your child. It does not mean you need to give up on homeschooling, but it does mean that you will need to try to switch things up a bit. Before you toss it, switch things up a bit while you consider making a switch to a different curriculum. If you do decide to switch curriculum, know that you're not alone. We've used several curricula. And we're about to switch gears again. I'm sure by the time our youngest graduates, we'll have switched gears a few times. And that's okay, because as homeschoolers, we get to decide.