It’s yet another morning of tears, frustration, and refusals to do work – and it’s not even 10 am. You need some homeschool help! Here’s what to do if your homeschool curriculum isn’t working and how to make it better.
I have been compensated for my time in writing this post. All opinions are my own.
My Homeschool Curriculum Isn’t Working
When I first started homeschooling I thought that everyone just magically knew which curriculum to pick. It was as if they had some sort of divine insight into which curriculums were worth spending money on and which ones weren’t worth the effort.
There was so much pressure to get it right the first time.
Which, of course, meant that I got it completely wrong.
Like completely wrong. If there was an award for picking the worst curriculum for your child, I would have won.
He hated it. I hated it. And, more morning than not, we were both close to tears.
Welcome to homeschooling.
I’d love to say that I got every other year perfect with our curriculum choices, but that would be far from the truth.
Instead, I learned along the way bits and pieces of curriculum that worked for us. And, most importantly, I started to recognize the difference between a homeschool curriculum that wasn’t working and us just not feeling like doing school that day (or week…or few weeks).
If you’re homeschool curriculum isn’t working, here are some things you can do to make it better.
Not Working or Just Tired?
The first thing to do is to determine whether or not your homeschool curriculum is the issue. Because sometimes it’s really not the material. It’s you and your kids.
Sometimes we just don’t feel like doing school. And you know what? That’s okay. Homeschooling is flexible. Take the day off.
But determining if it’s really the curriculum or just your own boredom with homeschooling is key. If it’s the former, move to the next step. If it’s the latter, take a break!
For Example…When Your Math Curriculum Isn’t Working
When your math curriculum isn’t working, it can be super stressful!
Since math is one of the key subjects and, often, the subject that people talk about most, when the curriculum that you chose isn’t one that works for your family, it can quickly escalate worry.
Before jumping into another program immediately, ask yourself some questions:
- How do my children learn math best? Is it through videos, a hands-on approach, or face-to-face teaching?
- Why isn’t the current program working?
- What are my new non-negotiables when it comes to a math curriculum?
When our math curriculum stopped working – it just wasn’t a good fit – taking the time to jot down the answers to those questions really helped me narrow down which programs might work better.
In our case, CTCMath’s online math program was one of our top choices and, ultimately, a great math curriculum for my kids.
They learned best through watching explanation videos and then completing the problems immediately following those lessons. The easy-to-understand videos made math less intense and more approachable for all of us. You can actually watch some of their explainer videos to get a feel for how they teach and why it might be effective for your kids.
Our current program wasn’t working because it seemed to skip over key concepts or pass by them very quickly. This made it challenging to move ahead. The kids also found it to be very boring – which is never what you want in a curriculum!
CTCMath was different and really made sure they understood the concepts before moving them along. It also allowed them to speed up the curriculum if they mastered it. That kept boredom at bay and helped them stay engaged.
For me, the non-negotiables were a curriculum with low- to no-prep. I was working full-time from home while homeschooling them and didn’t have the time to cut out a million pieces or spend every math lesson creating something huge.
I needed a ready-made solution where I could monitor them watching the video, help them with problems as needed, and then get a grade book of how they did with their work for the day, the week, and the year. CTCMath was perfect for that!
There was no prep other than making sure the kids had their math notebooks and a sharpened pencil so that they could do the problem work before they submitted their answers online. Hallelujah!
Math isn’t one of those subjects that you can let slide, so it’s super important to make sure you have a homeschool math curriculum that works for your family! Don’t stay stuck and stressed by forcing one that’s not a good fit.
Change Your Approach
If changing your curriculum isn’t an option – and it may not be financially – try changing your approach.
For instance, if your curriculum has been mostly workbook-based so far, try adding in some hands-on activities.
Science experiments are a lot more fun than just reading about chemical reactions or what owls digest. Break out the Mentos and Diet Coke to learn about nucleation and order some owl pellets to dissect instead! Your kids (and you!) will have a lot more fun trying new activities than sticking with the same approach that isn’t really working.
Don’t forget, there’s nothing keeping you from ripping out those workbook pages and using them individually either!
Change Your Scenery
When my kids were little and we were a one-car household, staying inside at home to do school got old really fast. Instead of tethering us to the dining room table, I’d often bring books and activities outside and we’d do lessons in the sunshine.
Sidewalk chalk and a quickly drawn hopscotch can be great for number recognition and counting.
Magnifying glasses and bug jars are perfect for exploring the habitats of insects.
And sitting in the warm sun with the light breeze brushing against our faces was the stuff that poems and descriptive writing were built on.
So, get up and head outside or to a different area of the house. There’s no rules against doing math lessons in a living room cushion fort!
One of the most important things to do when your curriculum isn’t working is to breathe. It’s stressful, it’s tiring, and it may very well be keeping you up at night.
Breathing deep allows your body to calm down so that you can think more clearly. Teach yourself how to breathe better and do the same for your kids. Simple breath techniques like box breathing can make a world of difference in a stressful homeschool day.
And, if you’re up for it, do some breathing while you take a walk around the neighborhood or when trying a yoga (or kids’ yoga video). Just breathe.
It Will Get Better
While your homeschool curriculum may not be working as you had hoped right now, just know that it will get better and you will get through this.