Are You a Slave to your Curriculum?

slaveryIs your curriculum holding you hostage? Do you sometimes feel trapped or burdened by all those books that you must ‘get through’? I know I do and continually face this battle. You see I’m one of those analytical types, who gets some sort of twisted satisfaction out of checking off things on a ‘to do’ list. Then there’s another part of me who resents the list and wants to run freely with face bent to the wind and hair flowing freely behind me in a curriculum free field of joy….but I digress.

Lately I’ve noticed that there is a lot of us out there feeling the same way. We know we need to teach our children and not the curriculum, but we are faced with fears of daunting lists of learning outcomes. I don’t know about you, but when I focus on ‘getting through’ the books I lose sight about why I’m really doing this and the resulting effect is much unhappiness. And when Mama’s unhappy…. no body’s happy.

Here’s something that might cheer you, while on the HCOSwebsite today I was reading the school newsletter. To my glee I discovered Sarah Bennet’s article on the very same topic. While speaking about curriculum packages (which I have), she had this to share:

booksAs for the practical implementation of the packages, remember that the curriculum is there to serve you – you don’t need to serve the curriculum.  Feel free to alter assignments, to skip chapters, to do some things orally rather than having the student write down every answer, and to go at your own pace.  You don’t have to do every assignment or answer every question.  Customize the curriculum to fit your own needs.  If your children are feeling weighed down take a look at what they’re being asked to do each week and alter it – maybe you can do some work on the white board (it’s amazing how a different writing surface and coloured markers can make even the driest grammar assignment fun), or do some work out loud together instead of writing it down, or decide to do every second question instead of every one.

Needless to say there was much relief and rejoicing after reading this. How many times have I had this said to me? Yet, I continually need to hear it and be reminded. Perhaps I’ll be more patient the next time I need to remind my kids of something. For now, I’ll be thankful of the reminder and free myself (again) from slavery.

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