Thursday, March 12, 2009


I was recently given a mostly unused Spelling Power test booklet and Emily chose to use it for her spelling work. I have not used a booklet for SP for a couple years at least, preferring instead to use an alternate study sheet I found online and plain notebook paper.

While giving Emily her words today, I was reminded of all the reasons why I stopped using the booklet originally. This led me to think about all the ways I adapt our curriculum from its original design.

Some examples?

Mystery of History is a solid and informative curriculum with a Christian perspective. Many extras are included in each lesson. Do I use them all? No. One thing I no longer require is the memory cards, although we did them throughout the whole first volume. We painstakingly (and often painfully!) wrote them out, inserted them in the special binders purchased for that exact purpose, and then... never looked at them again! Why did I put us through this? Well, the book said to! I also don't assign most of the mapwork that's included in Volume 2. To my mind, it's overly complex for the elementary crowd and time-intensive. Another way we modify MOH is to do the pretests and review pages all together, usually as a "quiz" using the white board.

With Spelling Power, the most obvious change from the program is to not do the "activities" that are recommended. We test the previous day's five words, and then go on through the lists to identify the five words for the day. The students go through the 10 step study process and write sentences for each word. It's effective and takes just the right amount of time. I like the alternate sheet because it includes some modifications from the original study sheet.

Let's see. What else? Oh yes, Sonlight. David is doing Sonlight 100. I went to great pains in the summer to obtain most of the books and locate where the others could be found at short notice. Am I using them all? No. Some of them are clearly "girl" books - girls on the cover prejudice David against the book. I don't always take his opinions into consideration, but our goal is, after all, that he learn to ENJOY his reading. So, I'd prefer to offer him reading selections that will further that end. So, we skip some books. Some books he'd already read. Do I do the books in the order they are in the curriculum? Not necessarily. Do I follow the lesson plans exactly as written? No. I feel no compunction to do the program exactly as written, but rather what works best for us.

So, let me encourage you - feel free to alter, modify, fine-tune, convert, improve, vary, adapt, accomodate, realign, adjust or revamp your curriculum choices to better suit the children you are educating!


Luke said...

Absolutely: It's your homeschooling experience... make it what is best for you and your family. The resources out there are merely tools for you to use.

Great point [smile].


Holly said...

You know there is hardly a book or curriculum that I do NOT alter lol! I seem to have the need to tweak everything... and when I read the part in spelling power where she says to do it just as written that made me want to change it even more!