What if We Don’t Finish the Homeschool Curriculum?

Do you ever worry that you’re not on pace to make it through the curriculum or finish in time or cover it all… or [insert your fear about your kids’ progress or lack there of.]

I’m going to say something very controversial in the homeschool world. It might ruffle your feathers. You might vehemently disagree. (That’s okay; we can still be friends.)

You do not need to finish scripted curriculum with 150 lessons taught 4-5 days per week to give your kids a world-class education at home. 😲

I would argue that curriculum is primarily a tool for the parents to help us organize the ideas and learn the foundational aspects of the subject area.

Curriculum – Race Course

The word curriculum stems from the Latin verb “currere,” which means to run. The noun curriculum literally translates to “race course.”

The word has evolved to mean a course of study.

But we don’t teach curriculum. We teach children.

We use curriculum to teach children.

That subtle mindset shift is incredibly important as you assess progress.

If you aim to teach effectively and cultivate a love of learning in your home, children learning trumps curriculum boxes checked.

It’s a Tool, Not the Boss

Many years ago, I heard a veteran homeschool mom say, “Your curriculum is not the boss of you.”

We can use curriculum to help us plan, understand, and get ideas. But we don’t have to let the curriculum control us.

For example, my 5 year old already knew how to count by 5s and 10s and practices often in scoring games, counting money, etc. So, when there is a designated game in the math curriculum for learning how to count by 5s, we skip it.

On the other hand, when he could not remember the addition pairs that make 10 (9+1, 8+2, 7+3, 6+4, 5+5) and the curriculum didn’t incorporate practice in lessons anymore (assuming it had already been mastered), we kept on playing games and doing activities to reinforce those facts. Because he needed more time. And that’s okay.

No curriculum is open and go.

I know we all want open-and-go. It sounds so easy.

You buy a curriculum thinking it’ll be “open and go,” because the website and sample download materials promised all you’d have to do is open the curriculum and read the script and your kids would become brilliant geniuses, masters of the animal kingdom or phonics or subtraction.

But what they forgot to tell you is you’re teaching children. Individuals. People. Whose brains all process information differently. Who mostly do not learn and master material in a perfectly linear fashion.

Most learning is not like this:

It’s like this:

Kids aren’t machines or computers where you input X, add a little Y and out comes Z every single time. Humans don’t learn like factory widgets on an assembly line.

So then, you will most likely have to tweak any curriculum you choose to use.

Tweaking it, adding things, dropping things… this is not a failure. This is you, the parent, teaching your child.

Don’t Underestimate Yourself

You are an intelligent adult and you do not need to be an “expert” in a subject area to provide a great course of study for your kids. You can read curriculum and understand the how and why. You can dig in deep to new ideas and find engaging resources.

Then, you can teach your children & respond to their needs.

You can find an article or facebook group that gives GREAT tips and step by step help for explaining something that feels hard for you to explain.

You can experiment and say things a few different ways and see what sticks.

You can substitute out a book that everyone hates for a book that inspires and resonates with your family.

If you’ve decided to homeschool and you are working hard to give your kids a great education at home (which I assume is true because you’ve read this far 😂)… then you can pay attention to your children’s needs and seek out solutions that fit them.

What a beautiful opportunity to give your kids an incredibly individualized education. Teaching your kids at home isn’t a subpar option. It’s an incredible privilege with endless opportunities!

You don’t need to fear skipping over a redundant lesson, missing something essential, or covering it all. Don’t make homeschooling choices based out of fear.

Do Underestimate Yourself – Lean on Jesus

At the end of the day, Jesus has not asked us to teach the script in the expensive curriculum we purchased.

He has asked us to be faithful with what we’ve been given.

If you feel called to educate your kids from home, you can see God’s wisdom in the specifics and trust that the God who spoke the universe into existence and created each of your children with precious care & attention will equip you to teach them well.

Invite Jesus into the details – into the curriculum decisions and daily lessons.

He asks us to:

  • Be faithful with whatever we’ve been given (Matthew 25:14-30)
  • Die to self, take up our cross, and follow him (Matthew 16:24)
  • Not live for ourselves but for him who for our sake died and was raised! (2 Cor. 5:15)
  • Seek first his kingdom (Matthew 6)
  • Bring our weariness to him and take his easy yoke which is unburdened. (Matthew 11)

Let’s go into the end of the school year season, continually laying our burdens down at Jesus’ feet.

Maybe your kids haven’t learned their times tables fast enough or they forgot 10 of the capitals they memorized this fall or you’re only going to make it through 125 out of 150 of the math lessons by May 12.

Lay it down. Bring your burdens to him… in prayer… right now and take up his yoke. It’s easy, light, and unburdened.

Happy homeschooling, friends!!