As many of you know, I homeschool my kids. This was a decision that I didn’t make lightly and it’s one of those decisions that you need to make again and again. That may sound like a strange statement to make, but really, it’s not just a matter of making that first decision to homeschool. It’s not unusual for that choice to come back and on some days, haunt you, and on others delight you. I wouldn’t change a thing about homeschooling my kids, but depending on the day when you catch me, I might be reconsidering that choice! It’s not easy by any stretch and no matter how ‘’Martha Stewart” perfect you may be, you’re going to have tough decisions and difficult days.
One of those tough decisions that needs to be made on a fairly regular basis is curriculum. Do you want self-guided curriculum or teacher led curriculum? Do you want your lesson plans all laid out step by step or do you want a little freedom with how you approach it? Should you consider online schooling or paper/hard copy? Or maybe a mixture of both?
Choosing curriculum is hard and it can be a pretty stressful venture. We’ve had some curriculum that has been a total bust for us. The bummer of that is that we spent hundreds of dollars on that curriculum and now we’re lucky if we can find a way to incorporate it into lessons or resell it so it isn’t a total loss. It’s tough!
Since I am a writer by profession, I often get asked how we handle reading and writing classes. People have been shocked, surprised and some, appalled at the fact that I haven’t previously used an organized writing curriculum. Several have expressed a desire to have me write my own curriculum. This is a huge undertaking and with schooling the kids and running my own business, I just don’t have time to devote to building, writing, and testing (let alone publishing) my own writing curriculum. Maybe someday in the future.
Until then, I’d love to have some curriculum choices available that I can recommend to people. In that vein, we’re going to have a series of reviews specifically geared toward writing curriculum. These will be reviews that come from my perspective and, if I drag them along on this journey with me, my kids. I have two girls in my house that love reading and writing. They both have expressed an interest in possibly pursuing writing as a career. And then I have an 11 year old boy. I love my son. He’s so highly creative and I adore the way his mind works. He can create some of the most amazing Lego movie ideas, cartoons, comics and even stories on occasion. So I wasn’t sure we’d be interested in looking at curriculum for him. But in discussing this dilemma with Tineke Bryson at Clearwater Press, I decided that maybe we’d give it a try.
My daughters (almost 17 and 14) are working their way through the One Year Adventure Novel. They are learning, each day, the important elements of writing. Characters, description, twists, turns, plots…they’re discussing it all and learning it in a very deliberate and precise manner. This has been very helpful in keeping them both on point for their respective novels. We’ll, of course, cover this far more in depth (including both of their thoughts on the material) in the upcoming weeks.
My son isn’t that jazzed about writing a novel. That’s why we chose to do Cover Story. Rather than one long drawn out project, this allows him to learn a variety of writing methods. Some of the topics we’re looking at include verbs, descriptions, cinquains, poetry, haiku…it’s fantastic! We have a lot to share about this one and we’re looking forward to getting these reviews up and going in the next week or so.
Now that we’ve had some time to really get into it, explore the requirements from us and see how these various assignments pan out, we’re excited to start sharing our thoughts with you. Watch for our series on this writing curriculum to see how our adventures (and our novel/magazines) unfold!
– Lori Twichell is a writer, speaker and a homeschooling mom. While juggling the joys of educating her three kids, she’s been known to write screenplays and not only create but market television shows and films. She is also the owner of Radiant Lit and Beyond the Buzz Marketing.