The new Catholic Heritage Curriculum catalogue came in the mail today and was a delight to look through with glossy descriptions of books and lesson plans, helpful articles, and lots of testimonials from homeschooling moms.
I have bought some books from this provider, but when I looked at their lesson plans to compare them with Seton's, I found that the work was generally too simple and the plans were already printed in the planner. While some moms relish this delegation of work, I find one of the most pleasurable aspects of homeschooling is the filling in of all the little boxes in my teacher planner. However, I did buy ink stamps (special order) to print each subject title so I didn't have to write each 72 times in pencil. Lately, the children have become excited about checking off each assignment themselves. The result is that schooltime has been shortened almost in half over the past two weeks!
This very idea of planning books and checking off of assignments was the first tip in an article by Nancy MacArthur, entitled: Ten Things I Wish I'd Known When I Began Homeschooling. The second tip she offers is one that I am champing at the bit to get started on: a 365 day drawer. She has a file folder labeled with each day of the year to put ideas for holy day projects, Saint day festivities, photos and reminders of anniversaries such as sacraments or the death of a relative. The folders get fatter each year with more notes and she reflects that this system helps her follow the liturgical year more closely. This is such a wonderful idea and I never would have learned about it if not for reading this catalogue.
The testimonials are what make me look longingly at the "gentle" lessons and lovingly described books they sell (that's why they are there, I know).
"Your books and lessons make teaching such a joy, instead of tiresome drudgery like those other providers," is a broad paraphrase of many of the quotes.
Well, we use one of those "other" providers that is widely chastized for it's apparent "drudgery" and guess what? We have plenty of joy-filled moments. Both children have already finished phonics because they kept asking, "Mommy can I do one more page? This is so easy!" Will is 4 days ahead in math because he thinks geometry is the coolest thing ever. I only have to call out, "Science project time!" for them to turn off the TV and race downstairs to help blow up balloons with air molecules.
If I had more time and lots more money perhaps I would make up my own perfect program with materials from all the curriculum providers. However, I see with my own eyes how what we are using works well for my children and how it saves me time and energy. Perhaps though, when I re-scan the glossy pages I will pick out a few books to suggest for First Communion gifts and supplements for our home library.