Adapting a curriculum to fit your needs

I like to have a curriculum. I love structure and organization, and curriculum also helps me have confidence that I have covered the pertinent information. However, sometimes I am using my curriculum, and I don’t like it. I’ll like most of it, but something just won’t fit with how I teach or what I want my kids to learn.

Example: Emma’s math curriculum (Saxon, which I love) had her estimate a value during a probability exercise. However, it didn’t explain HOW to estimate the value, so anything she would have done would have been guessing. Math took 2 hours that day because I felt the need to explain how the estimation process works. I also didn’t use the step in 2-digit multiplication of splitting 35 x 22 into 35 x 20 + 35 x 2. We just learned how to do the whole problem the first time.

Example 2- We use Apologia Science. Sometimes, they have experiments and assignments that seem like time wasters to me. Do we need to make a baking soda/vinegar volcano when we study Venus because Venus has a bunch of volcanoes on it? Nope. Sometimes, we just draw some pictures and notebook about it. Sometimes, we read supplemental books, and sometimes, because the Curiosity Rover just took a bunch of pictures, we get to go online and see cool, new data from NASA!

So, while I follow the sequence and the structure of my curriculum, I will often add other activities or subtract activities that do not work for us. I think, in this way, you can customize a curriculum that will fit the needs of your family. Maybe that means spending some extra time studying a particular period of history. Maybe it means skipping something that your family does not find worthwhile. Maybe it means mixing and matching books and curriculum so that your kids get enough information. Maybe it means having a few extra experiment books around so that the hands-on kid really grasps that information. Whatever it is, I think that we as moms should know our kids and their aptitudes and learning styles well enough to make curriculum work for us.

Do you change up your curriculum?

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