They were doing pretty well with the online resources and workbooks we were using, but it wasn’t cohesive. A lot of extra time was being spent trying to line up lessons with matching content and reviewing the upcoming lessons (in various places on the web) to make sure we knew what we were covering next.
It’s very time-consuming, to say the least… and being time-consuming sucks the fun out of learning and the Collier Family Road Trips in general. We knew it was time for a change.
So what did we do?
Good questions! Glad you asked.
We researched many boxed curriculums trying to find ones that we felt would be a good fit. The problem now was that, without trying them how could really know? We figured there was nowhere to go but up from the place of frustration we were currently living in, so we ordered a boxed single subject curriculum called Math-U-See.
Math-U-See arrived while we were still in Arkansas and came in a huge box. I probably should have done an unboxing of the material, but I was too excited to think clearly and eagerly ripped it open! Immediately I liked what I saw! Colorful workbooks, color-coded by level with Teacher’s manuals and a DVD for each one, along with a full set of manipulatives to help them ‘see’ the math problems…
The kids would start soon, so I needed to read through the instructions and figure out exactly how we needed to proceed. Turns out it was all pretty simple… Review the lesson myself, pop in the DVD for the kids, and complete the practice worksheets. Voila!
The kids took to the lesson format very easily and they actually enjoyed the video lessons which I was a little skeptic of at first. I thought maybe they would think it was outdated or cheesy, but our oldest reassured us that it was on point and she felt that she was learning better from the recorded lessons than any previous method we tried! How’s that for proof?
So we took a step back in hopes taking 2 steps forward…. We put them each on a math level that was one grade level below where they were currently. Our goal was to go back and take time to reteach the material the kids had just covered using this new format in an effort to help them understand the concepts behind it all. If one was struggling with something we previously covered, we used this time to go back and reteach and catch them up to speed.
As their eyes widen and smiles were now a regular part of Math coursework, we knew this system was our golden ticket. The kids obviously enjoyed learning from with the DVD and the manipulatives, but this only really took care of one subject… So we also decided to test the Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum.
Complete Grade Level:
After finding Oak Meadow I was pretty much blown away. Why didn’t I know this existed? Do all the traveling homeschoolers know this exists? I bet they don’t… Oaks Meadows core value of “cultivating wonder and a connection to the natural world” really appealed to me. I wanted a curriculum that was based on natural learning and gave the kids room to embrace independent learning. I also like that their curriculum is intended “for school time to be a part of family life rather than take over your time.”
When our packed arrived, I can honestly say I felt the same excitement as I had with the previous delivery of boxed curriculum. Call me a nerd, but books make me happy! After the initial excitement wore off and I settled into reading through the teacher’s manuals my head started to heart. Anxiety settled in and I putt all back into the box.
The box sat on the floor, for maybe 2 weeks before I picked it up again. I got out the Teacher’s manuals, started reading through them one-by-one, and again I was overwhelmed, packed them back up and left it alone.
Surely this wasn’t the way Was supposed to react to this perfect solution to my homeschooling delineate? I was probably doing something wrong maybe trying to take on the challenge of switching all 4 kids to this curriculum at once was too much. So I played with the idea of just starting 2 at a time. Then I convinced myself that having their lessons at different completion points would make me crazy… Agh! The struggle.
What We Decided:
Currently, we are on a West Coast Road Trip and time is of the essence! So we’ve decided to take it slowly and start with a loose plan of covering the material on a 1-2 week time frame for each lesson.
The lessons are actually made for 1 week, but I think it would be pushing it to get all the work done, expect retention and be able to still enjoy the beautiful sights, sounds, and unique experiences on our road trip. I want the kids to enjoy their time on the road and get to experience as much as possible along the way.
We’ve made the decision to start the lessons next Monday after Antwon & I take this week to put together a plan of attack and make our schedules. (When I say schedule, I really mean a loose task list of what we want the kids to do, nothing crazy detailed!) Fingers crossed… I’ll let you know how it goes!