Sunday, April 4, 2010

Changes in the Works

The arrival of a new baby in our household usually brings a myriad of changes for our family.  Babies kind of do that as we all have to adjust to a new life and learn a new personality.  We've gotten used to it though and the kids have learned to roll with the punches.  We are expecting our newest baby in less than 5 weeks.  With summer coming, the time for changes are truly upon us as I consider not only how to integrate this baby into daily life but also how our school year is going to look next year.  Because we are a homeschool family, our lives tend to be centered around our school days.  This is where our greatest changes are taking place.

After a great deal of prayer, wrestling, and talking with Underdog, we've make the decision to go strictly with textbooks next year.  This idea was introduced to me several years ago when I met Renee Ellison at Homeschool How Tos.  Honestly, I thought the idea was crazy.  There is so much written now about homeschooling that textbooks were commonly known to be simply bringing school home and not really a good way to educate a child.  They were demonized on many fronts.  So I kind of brushed the idea off but the idea wouldn't leave.  Then last spring I received a Mom's Corner from Teri Maxwell at   In her corner that month she talked briefly about their decision to move strictly to textbooks.  I was so overwhelmed and burned out by that time that the idea seemed very appealing to me.  So Underdog and I made a trip to a local homeschool bookfair to check out the books.  But I chickened out.  I couldn't make that kind of switch with all the great curriculum out there to teach with.  So I made a vow to just keep going and to work harder.

Since that time I discovered I was pregnant (which honestly came as a total shock at the time), my then 4 yod was ready to read and was thriving on the challenge that academics bring him, and my responsibilities around our home and family have changed as Underdog really started working his own business.  So I approached him several weeks ago about looking into the textbooks again.  He told me honestly he was just waiting for me to come back around.  I was shocked.  I had no idea he thought they were such a good idea.  I immediately felt a weight beginning to lift off my shoulders.  I finally decided to order Managers of Their Schools in which the Maxwells give further details on their decisions to change to textbooks and then explain how they use them.  Much of what I read in that book are thoughts I have had long before the idea was even introduced and I was further sold on it.  I loved it.  

Since that time I have mapped out all the curriculum that we will need for 4 students.  I still plan to keep up my preschool with my littles but this is something I had already developed.  We are adding a good deal of the "Letter of the Week" from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  These two coupled with our workboxes should allow me time to spend with my littles as well as time to meet with my older students in our tutoring sessions.

The weight continues to lift as we get more and more of our curriculum in hand.  I see a light at the end of the tunnel allowing me time to simply mother my children.  The time I am now going have back will give me time to run my home, love on my husband, and simply BE with my children.  I can't disciple my children under all the pressure I felt to give them a "better" education.  Don't get me wrong.  I think some of these methods ae great ideas.  I wish I could do it but my personality does work well with it.  But I no longer believe that these great homeschool writers have the corner of the market on what makes a great education.  There is NO guilt in this switch no matter how much people say textbooks are bad for kids.  My kids are growing very excited about all this as they see that this may actually provide a gapless education.  And there a many gaps right now. . .many of which I see beginning to close as we've already started some of our books.  And I couldn't be more happy or confident in the way the Lord has led Underdog to encourage me in this direction.  Peace is returning.


  1. I almost could have written this post myself! Renee Ellison, Terri Maxwell,.... wow! We are almost through our first year of textbooks and I LOVE IT!!!!

    I was so hard core "never, ever use a textbook!" until the Holy Spirit started working on me. I was crying out constantly for wisdom concerning homeschooling. Was I ever overwhelmed! After much prayer we decided to go with Rod and Staff. I literally threw away all of the other catalogs. I have never had so much peace about homeschooling before!

    Rod and Staff suits our family so well. The agrarian lifestyle, modesty, AFFORDABILITY! I'm so thankful for it and my children love it. There are several good curriculum providers out there.

    One bit of advice: Your children will appreciate their curriculum even more if there aren't a lot of other competing forms of entertainment. Keep their minds and little worlds simple and uncluttered. The textbooks will become friends! Learning will become a delight!

    What an exciting step!

  2. HI Kim. I totally agree with your last comment. Right now we have our TV out but we are huge March Madness fans so it's been out to watch the games. We also have a specific video we show our preschoolers to help get ready for Easter. DH and I decided to keep it out for the next few weeks until after the baby is born. My midwife puts me to bed after I have babies so my DH felt it was best if he had a back-up plan. So far, they haven't been demanding it (which is a shocker.) They've rediscovered the backyard. :) Once the baby gets here and we've adjusted just a bit, the TV will go back to it's home until we decide to have a family movie night. . .which won't be for a LONG time because we're both really tired of having it out. :)

    I am glad to hear from someone who has walked this road. I love rod & staff. It's very affordable. I am using it for English, Spelling, Phonics, & art. I decided on Abeka for everything else because I felt they were a bit more thorough for what we need with our children. I potentially have 2-3 college bound boys (my girls will either NOT do college or do distance learning) so we wanted something that would be a bit more thorough. It also took some convincing of my 9 yod ds to go this direction with a good attitude. Once he saw was the books were all about, he was sold. I think the color pictures helped him. :) So we're half and half on these providers. It's interesting the different directions God leads us.

    Again, I thank you for your comments. Do you mind if I add you to my follow list?