Honest Curriculum Review and Mom Fail
We started a new summer curriculum (we school all year round, but I switch up our summer to something different than A Gentle Feast to make it a little more laid back and fresh) a few weeks ago. We chose GatherRound Homeschool Oceans Unit. We are loving it so far as it is lighter in material and workload. My children were also loving it because Mama made the mistake of including educational videos every day after reading our Teacher Guide text.
Wait, educational videos are a mistake? Yes and no. They are a useful tool to any homeschool experience, but are just that – a tool that can sometimes morph into entertainment.
For us, adding videos every day became a hindrance. They quickly become a behavior changing expectation. Any other Mama’s out there know what I am talking about? Too much screens for my children change my delightful and respectful little loves into… well, the opposite.
Some people have criticized my strict rules on screens in the past, saying if I just did it more, it would normalize my children to it. Umm, great theory, but no. I do not want to normalize my children to the effects and expectation of entertainment. (Romans 12 anyone?) Yes, educational videos can offer areas of academia I cannot, but they need to be used wisely.
Even before I began the unit with my children, I had spent all this time putting beautiful books on hold at our library to use for the unit. But, then I got distracted by the video trend and soon we were 3 weeks in and barely even opened a book during school time (mom fail).
So, this week I put a quick stop to the chaos (at least in this area) and went back to our original love. How did I do this without delivering a full-out opportunity for a mass-family meltdown? (Oh trust me, it almost happened.)
I gently presented a new way we would be doing school, making it a fun challenge. Each day after completing our Teacher’s Guide and our workbooks, my children are tasked to scour our texts, finding at least two books with information on what we have learned. Then they each get a turn ‘presenting’ the material. If at the end of the week, we all have participated with happy hearts, we then watch educational videos on each lesson we have covered as both a review and a privilege.
I was thankfully shocked at how well this was received. We quickly proceeded to have a great lesson and an engaging fact ‘scavenger hunt’ through our books! My eldest loved having all eyes on her while she got to read the information she found and my two middle children were so proud with what they found, explaining to us with the pictures.
All this to say – Mama stick with your gut and don’t fall victim to the Trello trend or ‘my kids are missing out’ mentality. Yes, I will use Trello once a week to help me find a few videos and online resources, but I won’t let it consume me or my family. This is not to say my perspective is the best for all families. Remember, I said Mama stick to what you know works best. We just have to give ourselves more credit sometimes, even if it means going the forgotten route. We all have to try new things every now and then just to see if there worth while.