The last few years we have spent several hundred dollars on curriculum. We work diligently throughout the year on our curriculum. Then, each year in March I begin to think about the next school year, exploring new curriculum options, thinking about what to add, what to change, what to do differently. By May, I am all ready to move to our new school year. So… what about the unfinished curriculum?
Unfinished curriculum feels like a huge waste of the hundreds of dollars spent each year. Three years into homeschooling and we have only managed to successfully complete one curriculum during a school year. But I think that ultimately, it’s not a big deal. In fact, I don’t think we should worry about it at all.
(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)
Let’s first consider schools… you know, the traditional, publicly funded kind. There is no possible way the schools can get through an entire curriculum in one school year. Schools use text books that are hundreds of pages long to provide their curriculum. School year cycles are frequently organized so that every other grade level is a “review” grade to help students fill in the gaps before building on further. There is so much subject matter to cover and plenty of distractions to take away from learning time.
But fear not! As homeschools we have a few benefits over the more traditional schools.
First, we have the ability to just keep going. We are not tied to a school calendar year with assigned breaks. There’s no reason that if our math curriculum is not complete by May, we can’t continue working on it through June, July, or until it’s done. Similarly, if you MUST have that summer break, there’s no reason you can’t just pick up right where you left off. That is our plan for the 2016/2017 school year. We plan to continue the Language Arts and Math curriculum I bought for the Princess. The freedom with homeschooling to take our time and work on a schedule that works for us is truly one of the best parts of homeschooling.
Second, it’s not uncommon for a homeschool family to switch between curriculum during any given school year. If you have every considered homeschooling then you know there are hundreds or even thousands of curriculum options. And many times, we get started with one curriculum that for all intents and purposes looks perfect only to find later one that is much more in line with our teaching style, or our child’s learning style, or our morals or values. Curriculum gets boring or doesn’t teach to the right style, or just isn’t the right fit at that time. And kids learn differently at different times in their lives. What may work with one child, may not work with another. And what may work now for a child, may not work in a month or in 6 months as every day kids bring a different attitude to learning, a different emotional response to their world, a different interest in a new subject.
Third, and probably most important to keep in mind is that moving from one curriculum to another or finishing one grade without finishing the curriculum for that grade doesn’t necessarily mean gaps and holes in education. Most curriculum cycles back around to cover and recover topics. Most curriculum begins with a review to cover the previous year. And let’s not forget that there are so many different opportunities for learning- classes and co-ops, life learning and play learning, and just general reading all contribute to learning and filling in gaps left from unfinished curriculum.
Ultimately, I think if we don’t finish curriculum in one year, I guess it’s ok. Because sometimes you just don’t. And we continue on educating our children.