Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Curriculum Change

I realized I had not shared that we have undergone a curriculum change.  If you recall, we have used My Father's World for the last 4 years.  It has worked fine for us - the best part being the already laid out weekly lesson plans.  I was quite excited to work our way through ancient history the last 2 years and start American History. 

We had been doing pretty well with My Father's World - Explorers to 1850 and then we hit a point, around week 17 or 18 the curriculum had us digress a bit.  We began visiting India, China, Japan, etc. and my kids got confused.  They got confused and I got frustrated.  We were all excited to be learning about America but here we were, exploring other countries for about 3 weeks.  SIGH...I took stock and examined what it is that I like about MFW and what drives me crazy about MFW, because I fully realize that no curriculum is perfect. 

What do I love?  I love the fact that the lesson plans are completely laid out for the parent - honestly, they make it VERY easy to wake up each day and just pull out your manual.  I love the fact that it is a Christian based curriculum so that the majority of the books they choose have a Christian slant and if there is anything in the section that may not match up with a Christian view point, they warn the parent ahead of time.

What drives me crazy?  How long it takes us to do history.  It easily takes us an hour to an hour and a half to work our way through history each day (even for a 3rd grader) and that does NOT include any read aloud that I'm wanting to get through.  I hate jumping all over the globe when it does not seem to tie into what we are learning about. 

Now, keep in mind that MFW has deeply wants our children to recognize that Americans should not be the main focus of everything - they want our children to recognize that God created ALL people and that not all people live like we do.  I do LOVE this aspect of MFW.  In keeping with this thought, they sprinkle information about many different cultures and countries throughout their years with MFW.   I know the thought behind it all but honestly, my children get that. We spent an entire year examining geography and the countries, cultures and religious beliefs of many different areas of our world and then the last 2 years we spent discussing countries other than America.  My kids get it.  They do.  So, we were excited to focus on places we are somewhat familiar with, people we have heard about before, etc.  but we found ourselves jumping to other places and it did not make sense to us.

So....we are trying our hand with TruthQuest history.  TruthQuest is a Christian based curriculum that provides the author's commentary and an enormous amount of books to read related to various topics.  The topics are broken down chronologically and the best part is that we have remained here in America.  History does not take quite as long each day so this allows us to feel a bit freed up AND work our way through a read aloud each day.  Right now we are nearly finished with Johnny Tremain.

What I don't like?  It is a bit of work for mom.  There are no daily lesson plans like My Father's World.  That is about it. 

Will we stick with TruthQuest next year?  Possibly.  We'll have to see what God has planned for us - I've been deep in prayer about it and as we begin planning our courses for next year, TruthQuest is high on our list.

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