Today, I want to let you in on a little secret of mine.
Well, ok, not truly a secret, but something I have done more this year than in year’s past, and I feel really good about it. Want to know?….I skip pages in our workbooks and chapters in our curriculum and make up a lot of my own.
Yes, it’s true, and we’ve had a lot more fun doing it that way. Especially with my younger students, I think it is a must.
There is simply more material to cover than one well-intentioned mama and her darling students can handle without their seat bones going to sleep. Get those kiddos outside to play in nature and ditch much of your workbooks.
Let me give you an example
Two years-ago, I tried Song School Latin with my oldest, who was then in 1st grade. She was somewhat resistant to writing and reading at the time, but I went ahead and tried to teach her some Latin and encouraged her to do all the writing required in the workbook.
She didn’t like it one bit and nearly cried through the writing part, I cringed every time I brought it out because I knew she didn’t like it…and we had a miserable time. Needless to say, we didn’t get very far.
Fast forward to this year.
I had a brilliant new idea. I needed to adapt the latin program to my younger pre-readers and make it more fun. We have hardly touched the workbook or teachers guide.
We use the songs for pronunciation help. I gather a few ideas from the book for my own knowledge and then…we play games!
We use the latin flash cards to play Go Fish!, Memory, Old Maid, and any other fun games we can come up with. THEY LOVE IT! They beg for it every day.
They use the words and quiz each other. They remember it and are excited to learn more. They’ll even get the cards out and play with each other without me.
That is what I call learning.
The curriculum is great…but it didn’t fit my learners. They didn’t need one more writing assignment, or more time sitting in their chairs.
They needed fun, active, exciting, and memorable.
Do they know how to write in latin? Not yet. We may get to that down the road. I’m not concerned about that yet it will come when they have the desire.
Curriculum writers know that what they offer is simply a jumping off point for us as teachers. We can take what they’ve given us and utilize it or we can simply use it as a guide to facilitate other creative styles of learning.
There is no one looking over your shoulder asking you if you’ve completed every page in every book you set before your students. That is simply not realistic.
I wanted to share this story because I know how easy it is to get sucked into what the curriculum is telling you to do and just check the boxes.
However, my belief is that if the students don’t want to learn the information you are teaching them then most of it is simply falling on deaf ears.
If we share our children’s enthusiasm for learning what they love our job as teachers will be so much simpler and infinitely more enjoyable.
Psst…one more little secret.
I do this for ALL of my curriculum. Math, handwriting, science, history, geography, you name it. I adjust it, rip out parts I don’t like, add in fun things that I like to do, tailor it to my children and what they need and best of all I try to make it a game.
I don’t do half of what the books tell me and I don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I feel really good about it because I know I’m giving my children the education they really need.
The one that lights the fire of self-motivated learning in their tender little hearts.