Finding Homeschool Curriculum that WORKS for YOUR family.

Welcome back as we continue our 10 Days of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Homeschooling!

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Finding the right curriculum fit for your needs and your family is so important! Today we meet Dawn from Guiding Light Homeschool, who shares what she has learned through her curriculum challenges and the changes she has made to overcome them!


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Chaos and Craziness

Meet Curriculum Change

When it comes to being challenged as a homeschool mom, there are very few moments where I don’t feel a bit out of my league! This is our third year homeschooling and we have two boys, ages 15 and 4 so the older one is where my time has been mainly focused so far. The majority of our time has been “de-schooling” him – teaching him to think for himself and search out answers – this has been no easy task, for him or us. But now he’s in high school – next year he will be in 10th Grade! (my where has the time gone?) so I found I wanted something MUCH MORE than what I have been offering him so far, something with MEAT, not just potatoes. : )

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The last three years have consisted of me “throwing things together” for him…along with doing reviews, which only made things “worse” when it came to having ANY CLUE what we were actually doing (not that I didn’t love doing the reviews – I DID! but I came to realize that reviews for him needed to be minimal, if not totally removed). Anyway, over the last three years I have “picked here and dabbed there” and bought 99% of our curriculum used, piecing things together as I could and trying to figure out his learning style and what worked, or didn’t work (as was the majority it seems) for him.


And the biggest challenge? LESSON PLANNING. Oh my, let’s just not even go there, okay? Seriously. Every Monday morning I find myself with all his books trying to figure out where he is with his assignments and what he needs to be doing for the upcoming week. A large challenge of this has been figuring out HOW MUCH to give him…what is too much? what is too little? What exactly should he be doing as a high school student? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW? *grin*
So Chaos and Craziness Meet Curriculum Change! Everyone watch out – momma teacher bear is takin’ over! I have made some MAJOR changes – I quit doing so many reviews that required my oldest son (I do still do some with him but they are ones that *I* pick so they fit more into where we are) and the biggest change will be starting next year and I am SO VERY EXCITED!

We purchased an entire new curriculum that has everything in it and the lesson plans are done too! I am going to be in heaven (or as close as I can get while here on earth). I cannot tell you how excited I am! I look at all the books and lesson plans all the time and thank and praise the Lord that we will have everything we need for the entire year – WHEN WE START THE YEAR (what a concept). Is this how everyone else does it? Boy, they are smarter than I have been! Newbies, huh! (And not only did I order for the oldest, but I ordered for the youngest too! LESSON LEARNED! *grin*)

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So my prayer is that our entire family will “feel the change” next year and things will flow a bit smoother. I believe that just having the confidence that he has the proper assignments for his age and grade will help me A LOT…and you know the saying…”Happy Mom = Happy House!”
How have you handled your curriculum over the time you have been homeschooling? What has, or has not, worked for your family? I look forward to hearing.
Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Dawn is a woman of God who is married to the love of her life. She works part-time, homeschools their two boys (since 2008) and loves animals. She enjoys learning what the Lord will provide for each day. You can find her over at her blog, Guiding Light Homeschool, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Image Credit: Orderly School Books:Attribution Some rights reserved by eren {sea+prairie}
Image Credit: Classic Books:Attribution Some rights reserved by Elsie esq.
Image Credit: Screaming Kitten (I call it “Homeschool stress!”):Attribution Some rights reserved by GalgenTX
Image Credit: Textbook Love:a href=””>Attribution Some rights reserved by blair_25


Thank you for following along on our journey through 10 Days of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Homeschooling!

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“The 10 Days” Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

To find ALL the blogs participating in this run of “The 10 Days” Series, click the image below, a collage of photos for all 28 ladies participating. You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much, much more. Many thanks to iHomeschool Network for organizing this fun blog hop!

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April 19, 2012 9:08 am

Thank you, Dawn! It’s so important to find the right fit. We bounced around the first few years. We found some things that definitely did NOT work for us: ~ Saxon math (great product!! Not great for my oldest daughter!) ~ All in one box kits (LOVE the idea, but I’m too eclectic, and I can’t keep our beloved products we do love.) And we have found some things we love so much I don’t have to wonder about what we’re going to do next year! ~ Mystery of History ~ Apologia Science & Worldview ~ Teaching Textbooks for oldest,… Read more »

April 19, 2012 11:40 am
Reply to  Amber

Amber – Saxon didn’t work for us either. Right now we’re using Mammoth math but the jury is still out on that. I struggle with finding fits for us and I’m worried about putting out tons of money for products that may or may not work. Thankfully I found the Saxon at a garage sale for $5.

April 19, 2012 1:43 pm
Reply to  Cheryl

Teaching Textbooks IS expensive! But it’s perfect for my oldest daughter’s learning style. And she needs to get stronger in math so it’s worth it. (Though we didn’t use it this year, because I thought 7th grade math was mostly a repeat of 6th grade math so I thought we’d just use and inexpensive Spectrum workbook and then buy TT again for pre-algebra. There’s actually a lot of new stuff in here, but she’s been done “ok” enough with it to keep going. We’re definitely going back to TT next year!) I think I’ll be able to pass it on… Read more »

Dee @ Start Dreaming
Dee @ Start Dreaming
April 19, 2012 10:59 am

We have the things we love and I have lots of things that didn’t work so well for us. I’ve been getting better about just removing what didn’t work though. A lot of what we found we love is from a “canned” curriculum. My tip on your pre-made lesson plans is to READ them before the year starts. Gather what you need for at least 2 months before everything gets going and keep up with it. I loved some of our pre-made lesson plans too, but fell behind quickly and felt overwhelmed. Don’t let that happen to you. Take care… Read more »

Dawn @ Guiding Light
Dawn @ Guiding Light
April 19, 2012 1:55 pm

Thanks Dee – I plan to get a good handle on the lesson plans over the summer. I have wondered if we will fall behind, I am praying we will not. I have been gently reminding ds15 that the plans are already made…in ink. *grin*

April 19, 2012 11:38 am

We aren’t using a set curriculum, we haven’t found out that is a good fit for us. We tried SonLight at the beginning of the year but my son was bored out of his skull. He is very bright and has to have tons of hands on activities so we are still looking and I piece things together I find on the internet. We also use a lot of lapbooks – they seem to work well for us.

Dawn @ Guiding Light
Dawn @ Guiding Light
April 19, 2012 1:57 pm
Reply to  Cheryl

Hi Cheryl, I have heard GREAT things about lapbooks! I pray they continue to work for you and your son! Thanks for stopping by and reading / commenting on my post.

Lisa M (Farm Fresh Adventures)
Lisa M (Farm Fresh Adventures)
April 19, 2012 5:25 pm

I like “all in one” kits…but I never stay with just what they give! LOL! This past year I looked at what was “suggested” and then found my own versions of the activities (Thank you Pinterest!) It worked very well, because I could analyze in a glance whether the activity was something my boy woudl enjoy or not!

But there was a day to day schedule so if I didn’t “feel” like going above and beyond I didn’t have to…

But after we finish 1st grade…I AM venturing into the world of piecing a curriculum together…Gulp!

Homeschooling And… The Tater Tot. ~ 10 Days of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Homeschooling | A Classic Housewife in a Modern World
April 20, 2012 10:20 pm

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