Keeping it fresh! What it?
The it here is school!
Ruts happen when you go over the same area to many times without a change in course, even to the slightest degree. Trenches begin to happen. Trenches become deeper and more difficult to get out of. There is the risk of habits, even bad habits, being formed.
How do you keep things fresh then? How is school kept fresh? How do we avoid the rut? The bad habit of boring being formed?
For our household and schooling of our kids, it has been a few different things. The quick list is home schooling, changing curriculum, and flexibility.
Home schooling began when we saw a need in Thing One that we thought he could benefit from being at home. It was a desire to create a one on one environment that could be tailored to his needs, without the worries of others mandate of how education should be accomplished. It has been an evolving journey that has become a life style for us. We see the possibilities for pursing passions, delight driven schooling (no this does not mean our boys can take weeks off without doing anything!!! I'll write another post about what delight driven means to us on another day).
Curriculum can be a scary aspect for schooling. There are just way to many options! Back in August, I briefly wrote about how it can be overwhelming, even after home schooling for a few years. Here's a link to that post. To keep school fresh, sometimes it requires a change in curriculum. Sometimes that change comes just after ordering everything, sometimes it is mid year, other times it happens when you receive your box of stuff and have time to actually look at it without hundreds of folks wanting to look at it as well at a convention. Probably the best resource I have seen, for choosing curriculum is Cathy Duff's "101 Top Picks". In this book, I tell folks to first look at how she classifies learners into four different categories, then look at her spread sheets to see what works best for that kind of learner. Once you have a few math or science or writing curriculums, then go look at them in this book for a review. Her reviews are written well and give the strengths & weaknesses of each. Once you have it narrowed down even more, THEN go to the manufacturers web-site.
Flexibility is probably the most enticing for us! We enjoy being able change the order of subjects from day to day. We enjoy being able to skip a subject one day to spend more time on literature, for example, then the next day double up on the skipped subject. We enjoy being able to take a break for a walk, when the weather is begging for us to go outside. We enjoy that school can take less time, because "disciplining" and "coralling" 2 kids takes a whole lot less time than 25 to 30. We enjoy being able to take week long field trips. We enjoy being able to use seasonal or holiday bucket lists, like this one, to add fun to school. We enjoy that working with food can become a science and or math lesson. We enjoy that we can quickly tie math, history, english, or whatever into real world applications.
Quick summary (like my quick intro paragraph); we are trying to keep school fresh by keeping our kids home for schooling so learning can become a life style, change the curriculum as needed and when needed, and to be able to shake in fun or linger on one thing when that "aha moment" hits!