What is a curriculum oops?
A curriculum oops is when you choose a curriculum for the year and realize that you made a big mistake and quite possibly an expensive mistake.
If you’ve been a homeschool mom for at least a few years, then you’ve had your share of curriculum mishaps. You may have made a mistake many times. As a homeschool mom it is going to happen. Did you hear that? There will be times that you will choose the wrong curriculum for your family.
What defines a curriculum oops?
You can have an oops for several reasons:
- The curriculum is too easy. You can pick the wrong level and breeze through it in a few months and realize that you should have chosen something more challenging.
- The curriculum is too challenging. Your kids can’t begin to complete the level so you have to set it aside and search for something that better suits their skill levels.
- The curriculum is not easy for you to use. Some curricula are just difficult to figure out, require extensive prep work, or have complicated instructions.
- The curriculum does not fit your learning styles. Sometimes the program does not work for your children and the way they learn and sometimes it doesn’t fit how you enjoy teaching them.
- The curriculum is just not fun. Some curricula will feel like drudgery and you and your children will dread pulling it out every day.
- The curriculum just does not get done. You can’t find the time to add it into your schedule even though you thought you really needed and/or wanted this curriculum.
What can you do about it?
The first step is to admit that you made a mistake. Now when that mistake has made a significant decrease in your budget it can be challenging to admit that you have, in fact, made a mistake. It’s equally hard to own up to your mistake when you’ve spent much time researching that particular curriculum and were sure it would work for you.
Once you’ve acknowledged that you’ve made a mistake you have a few choices.
- You can find something else that works for you. There are free or inexpensive resources or maybe you can find money from other areas of your budget to fill in the deficit in your homeschool budget.
- You can resell the curriculum to other homeschool families and use your extra spending money for something new.
- You can create your own study. Many moms find a few library books, print out some notebook pages, and design a study that works well for the remaining portion of the school year.
- You can skip that subject for a while – this works better for subjects outside of the all-important reading, writing, arithmetic subjects and best when the student is still in the younger grades.
How can you avoid curriculum oops?
I don’t think you really can. It’s going to happen during your homeschool career. Your goal is simply to learn from your previous mistakes. Treat your mishaps as a learning experience that provides insight into how you like to teach, how your children best learn, and what styles of curricula are easy for you to use and actually get done at your house.
A few ways to help avoid making an expensive mistake is to visit local homeschool conventions, bookfairs, or homeschool bookstores. There you can page through the different options and get a better idea if the curricula will work for your family. Another option is to contact the vendor and request additional samples or discuss the program with them over the phone. Sometimes they can connect you with families who use the curricula and you can contact these families to talk about that product. You can also read reviews and blog reviews that detail how the curricula was used and how it worked (or didn’t work) for that particular family.
In the few short years that I’ve been homeschooling I’ve chosen some curricula that I quickly put back on the shelf, sold, or gave away. Through those times I discovered things about how I teach and how we like to learn at our house. It has slowly guided me to different curricula options that have been better fits for our family. Instead of refusing to acknowledge my failures, I can admit that I have made a curriculum mistake.
A curriculum oops should not define your homeschool or discourage you as a new year approaches. Instead, you should feel encouraged that you can recognize your errors and that you have the best interests of your children and your homeschool at heart.