Friday, July 31, 2009

Homeschooling books are like shoes

I'm hoping to win a $50 gift certificate to my favorite homeschool supply company with this tip I submitted for their anniversary contest. For the record, I'm in love with Rainbow Resource Center. They carry just about everything (the catalog is like 3 inches thick), and I've stopped comparing prices because theirs are always the lowest.

It took a few years of homeschooling before I learned curricula are like shoes. When shopping, there’s more than one right choice that can fit your child and do the job.

I used to worry at the end of each school year about what curricula we’d use next. We would be happy with our math program, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was some other “perfect” program out there. I would spend hours on homeschooling forums, reading reviews, and of course reading every single word of the Rainbow Resource catalog (seriously!). Now I know our math program works for us, and I’ve stopped fretting. I simply order the next level.

Like there are many choices of tennis shoes that would fit my active daughter well and look nice while protecting her feet, there is probably more than one great curriculum fit for each child. And the end of this year I decided that our grammar curriculum was good for my daughter and promised not to even read about other materials. Then a friend told me about a different grammar book, and I wavered. I finally resolved that either would be enjoyable and help my daughter learn about language. I stuck with the one I knew.

On the other hand (or foot, to stick with my shoe analogy), I’ve learned to let go of things that don’t work for our family just because everyone else says they’re wonderful. For two years we used a highly rated phonics program that my daughter found torturous. I dropped it.

I still love poring over my Rainbow Resource catalog, mind you! But I’m much more relaxed knowing that the many curriculum choices are there to serve me rather than to rule over me. If the shoe fits …

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