Note: This post is for ALL people who care for others: kids, the elderly, students, whatever. And by no means am I saying that everyone should homeschool. You do you, no matter what.
When they hear we homeschool, people often ask me what curriculum we use.
It’s hard to answer. “Make it up as we go along” does not sound reassuring.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just go get some curriculum? There are so many great resources out there—literature-based approaches, Montessori supplies, Waldorf play, classical trivium models, and on and on.
If you homeschool your child, it can feel a little irresponsible to do without the tried-and-true resources. Why not give them a try? Why remake the wheel? Surely these experts know something I don’t know.
And there’s nothing in interest-led learning that says you shouldn’t try. Maybe they’ll help—a rich environment can only aid learning.
But at least for me, the problem with curriculum is that I expect it to do the work for me. I expect it to be magic.
If my child isn’t reading, and I see a book that promises to teach them to do so, I am sure that it will do the trick.
If my child balks at addition drills, there must be a resource out there to solve the problem. Manipulatives! Apps! Board games!
And maybe the resources will help. You’d think that they couldn’t hurt—
But surprisingly enough, they can.
They can keep you from paying attention. From asking questions. They can keep you checking off objectives instead of focusing on your kid. They can encourage your kid to be passive. They can keep you from doing the hard work that you might actually need to be doing.
What do I mean by “the hard work that you might actually need to be doing?”
Let’s say your kid doesn’t want to read the Bible. So you invest in some amazing resources: a Jesus Storybook Bible, an audiobook Bible. You get scripture memorization CDs and coloring sheets and a curriculum that promises to get your kid excited about the Word of God.
Only the more you put resources in front of her, the more she resists.
What if the hard work you needed to be doing was modeling the faith you hoped to see in your child? What if it is praying for God to move in your son’s life? What if it is cultivating a spirit of expectation and surrender about your daughter’s faith? What if it was repenting of control or anxiety? What if it was simply asking questions about your kid, asking what they do believe, and paying attention to how they connect with God?
It’s a lot easier to buy a children’s Bible, isn’t it?
And what if it’s not your kid who balks at the Bible, but it’s YOU?
It’s easy to get a One Year Bible. It’s easy to get a commentary or a study plan. It’s easy, mostly, to read books about how to read the Bible. It’s as easy as pie to feel guilty or lazy or ashamed about your lack of desire for God’s Word.
It’s harder to face why you don’t want to read the Word. Doubt, cynicism, questions, hurt, shame, perfectionism—
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather throw resources at a problem than pay attention to it.
There are no magic solutions to the deep issues we face. There is no curriculum that will make our children turn out as directed. There is no expert that can let go of our shame. There is no set of instructions that will wind us out of the wilderness.
Beware of easy solutions to your deepest fears. Beware of abdicating responsibility for being honest. Beware anything that allows you to stop paying attention. Beware of one-size-fits-all answers in education—and life.
Image credit: Cindy Cornett Seigle