Saturday, September 10, 2005


We don't need no stinkin' curriculum.

I was asked a couple of times yesterday what curriculum we're using. I really don't see a need to use a curriculum for kindergarten. I'm not quite sure a curriculum is ever necessary.

I am terrible at answering questions about our homeschooling. Awful. I blather on about natural learning. I get blank looks. So I mention the stuff we have in our house -- books, toys, items that can be used as manipulatives. More blank looks. Okay -- we've got workbooks -- thats like a curriculum -- and when Suzanne is interested, she does work in them.

The trouble with curriculum is a grade-based curriculum would not work. Suzanne is far beyond what it taught in language arts and social studies (with the exception of handwriting, where she's probably average or a bit behind). For math, I think she's probably dead-on -- she's interested in more advanced things, but I don't think she gets it. Then again, I'm not sure that she learns everything in a sequential manner, so why make her suffer through boring lessons if she gets to the 'clicking point' by other means?

Another big problem is that we are not home enough to homeschool in the way that many non-homeschoolers view to be homeschooling. This week, we had a couple of days at playgrounds with other homeschool kids, we ran errands and we visited my mom. What did Suzanne learn? I don't know, but she was playing chess with my dad last weekend -- does that count for something? In the car on the way somewhere, she was rattling off various time measurements -- 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, by increasing unit up until decades. I had to help her out with centuries. Thats got to count for something. [She learned all this from reading Me Counting Time by Joan Sweeney].

But wait a second, I'm the one who doesn't want to count anything.

Word got back to me that a mom (who doesn't read this blog) and whose child is in a local Montessori school is amazed at the progress I'm making with Suzanne. Whats even more amazing is that I'm not making any progress with her. She's doing it on her own, with assistance from me when requested.

My DH keeps reminding me that our curriculum is similar to the response given by Napolean Dynamite at the beginning of the movie when he is asked what he's going to do that day. What are we doing today? I already told you. Whatever she wants. Gosh!


purple_kangaroo said...

I know what you mean. I feel like I'm trying to keep up with my kids more than "teaching" them.

Marjorie said...

Thanks for your comment -- you've given voice to whats on my mind. Beautiful, simple and without the unschooling mumbo jumbo. Its true, too -- I'm really just along for the ride.

madcapmum said...

Oh, you're a lady after me own heart!

The question "If you don't do curriculum, what DO you do?!" has gotten a little old after 4 "school years". I've given up giving it a serious answer unless people seem genuinely, positively interested. "Nothing," I say, "We don't do anything at all. Amazing, isn't it?"

Marjorie said...

We'll stick together then, okay?

Thanks for the preview of the next question -- I haven't gotten that yet but its good to be prepared. I suppose I could try "I could explain it to you, but you wouldn't understand..."

the Contrary Goddess said...

we were just talking about this at our local hs meeting yesterday, how eventually you just say, we don't do anything, we don't go to school, we don't do school, we just don't do anything. And how it actually does shut people up. They can think your kids are weird or brilliant and that's that. They know I'm weird already.

Another answer of mine is, "Life, we do life." Or "Do you know how to make cheese?" or something else that I know they don't know how to do despite years of schooling. Etc. Well, I AM contrary.

Marjorie said...

I appreciate your support! I try not to be contrary sometimes, but it never seems to work out for me. My conclusion is that, ultimately, some people get it and some people don't. I tend to think the people who don't get it are afraid of something, the unknown maybe, or maybe of being different. Viva the weird! Its so nice not to feel alone ;-)