Why an ‘Open & Go’ Curriculum doesn’t really work for us

So I thought I would change it up a bit and talk a little about the homeschooling process, for those who might be interested. I am using curriculum by Heart of Dakota as our spine. It is a Charlotte Mason based program, one that uses short lessons across a variety of topics. It primarily uses the History as the backbone, correlating the Bible readings, poetry and science with the History topic of the week. For example we will begin with Christopher Columbus, so our Bible is about persistence, and our science is about ocean animals. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I am excited to begin in a few weeks…

However, the problem, as I see it, with a fully loaded open and go curriculum (which HOD is touted to be), is that it expects the child to fit within the recommended levels across the board. Yes, there is wiggle room and the guides fit an age and ability range (which is nice) but it still doesn’t REALLY create a perfect fit.

Here is our dilemma. 

Bigger Hearts for His Glory

The program I have chosen for this year is Bigger Hearts for His Glory (Bigger.)  It is an American History based guide, which is the topic my daughter really wanted to study this year. It is recommended for a 7-9 yo or 2-4th grade (Sky is 8/3rd). So she fits squarely in the middle range of the curriculum. However, in math she is ahead (we are using the recommended resource, but on our own pace), her spelling is way above (so having to find my own resources), her reading is above (again, out on our own, but able to use the reading extensions suggested). Skylar loves science, so the light version of science is just not enough depth for her.  The history is just right! This is the 2nd year of HOD American History, and we are truly excited about that. But she is eager to learn more about the states, capitals, etc. (and how can you say no to that?!) so we will be adding in a weekly state (or 2) to study as well.

So even though HOD is supposed to be less planning, merely open and go each day, I have spent endless hours poring thru the grammar, spelling and writing add-ons that I feel I need for Skylar to be challenged. Sigh.

Some HOD purists may say… “It is supposed to be light learning, short days, easy subjects!” True, but my child gets lost and distracted when bored. So I use the curriculum plan as a guide, mainly as a history and literature spine, that we add to as needed.

Another thing I learned last year, is that if I didn’t plan it out before hand, it didn’t happen. Field trips were rare, and art was non-existent. Being an art person, that bugged me, but I felt I could wing it as we went.

I couldn’t!

I didn’t!

It didn’t happen!

So this year I am working overtime to plan it all out, including field trips, art, movies and activities. I have copies all made, for the entire year! (Last year, as soon as I had to stop to go make a copy, Sky was off, distracted by waiting for work, and wrangling her back to her seat was a mess).

So I have come up with an ingenious plan, but we will have to wait and see if it works in the long run. I have big hopes it will keep us on target, keep Skylar more independent and allow me to stay organized for grading and record keeping.

I am almost finished with “THE PLAN!” but need to do the arts & crafts, movies and field trips to correlate with it all. Then, to begin on Devin’s plan. ACK! Must get to work!

Shira

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