When we began homeschooling, our kids were in a private Christian school where it seemed as if their lives were captured via worksheet after worksheet. I can remember loving their recorded progress, and saving each sheet. Then at some point, space got tighter and the worksheets just kept coming—and coming. By the time we left the school, I thought I would gag if I ever saw another worksheet.
My disdain for worksheets was one of the reasons I was instantly drawn to the Charlotte Mason approach. Living books, narrations (even if they were written), and nature studies sounded like a 180-degree approach from where we had been. And thus we began.
Fast-forwarding a decade and then some, I looked over our daughter’s schoolwork, and I could not help but notice something.
This was not an intentional place that we landed, but instead a series of events such that now, our days seem like an endless paper trail. Here’s the scenario:
- We completed our math curriculum for the year (Teaching Textbooks), and I felt as if our daughter needed some reinforcements in certain areas. So I broke out our Keys Curriculum for fractions, as well as some multiplication table drill sheets to provide short but meaningful and much-needed lessons that will prayerfully help those higher level math lessons come much easier. I told her that even if we do not touch 8th grade math until 8th grade, we will be okay.
- There are still written narrations for history.
- Our Spanish and Latin curriculum, as well as geography, come in worksheet/ workbook form.
- She is compiling a lapbook for science.
Grammar and our weekly current events narrations are probably the only places where we are not using single sheets of pre-printed paper, but even with grammar, we are using the very un-Charlotte Mason-like Rod and Staff. If there is a highlight, it would have to be this awesome engineering curriculum that has lit a fire in her creativity.
When I look at our table, it looks like stacks of paper after paper. However, with all the lessons stripped down, one thing remains: I moved in what our child needed at this time rather than forcing my own vision. This is a season, for sure, in which we are taking time just to reinforce knowledge and solidify habits. I was even more convinced that this is, in part, the purpose of those middle school years after reading this article. We will do what is needed for now, with the intention of taxi-ing around our own little educational runway. I look forward to seeing us soar.