Thursday, March 29, 2007

While I'm in online ordering mode...

I've been hunting around online for a history/social studies curriculum for the kids. We've been ignoring the social studies books so far because they're lame and I have issues with the subject matter. The district curriculum starts in first grade with cities and road signs, then moves through the next four grades with states, government, the revolution, then the Roman Empire. Anyone else see a huge flaw in order here? I get the idea of starting with where you live and moving outward, but wouldn't it be easier to learn history chronologically?

For example, I'd rather my kids learn about government AFTER they understand why our government is structured this way. I'd rather save the revolution until they can read and comprehend the constitution. There are way too many people in America who are content to bend over and take it from the government because they don't understand in the slightest what the government's role is supposed to be. I believe we would not be where we are if more people understood how little England had to push before we told them to piss off. Most people have no idea at all the real meaning of words like "freedom" and "liberty."

Whoa, I digress. A lot. Anyway, I'm looking at chronological history. I've heard good things about Story of the World, and while we're quite capable of supplementing text with books from the library, I get the idea that's all this program is based on. Here's the general idea, now go learn about it somewhere else. Honestly if I was going to do that, I don't even need their "textbook." Since I'm really after an unschooly approach to history, it would probably be better if I did that anyway. I'm also concerned about religious material worming its way in. Religion is a big part of history and I'm okay with that, but I'd rather not have a Christian biased history. I guess I'll keep looking.

In the meantime, I'm ordering Saxon math materials for Chad next year. I'm debating on Cadence's math curriculum because I think she'd be bored and burnt out with the constant practice that Saxon demands. But right now she's using a program based mostly on manipulatives and workbook pages, which she just zips through and asks for more. She enjoys this, but I don't feel she's getting a lot from it. It takes her a bit to understand new concepts, so I'm reluctant to just move her ahead.

All this would be no problem whatsoever if I wasn't so terrified to design our own curriculum. I really want to homeschool in a relaxed and guided (rather than structured) manner, but I'm afraid I'll screw it up. I don't know everything. I'm a disorganized mess and have a lot of doubts about my ability to research the necessary stuff and present it to the kids. And I'm worried about the whole portfolio thing and how that relates to a non-text curriculum. Am I seriously supposed to list every friggin online resource, library book, workbook or project we've used the entire year? I'm afraid of the kind of organization that would require. I know I can do it, but it scares the crap out of me.

So, until I get the balls for that kind of schooling, I'll just keep looking for the right curriculum.

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