I wrote a post months ago entitled, “Should You Change Your Curriculum?” with the idea that part 2 of that post would be about what to do when you decide you bought the wrong thing. Somehow, in blogging real-time about our homeschool life and its progress, I never got back around to sharing ideas about what you might do instead of selling workbooks, or, in a real fit of frustration, chunking them in the trash.
I use the term “misfit” curriculum because, from a certain point of view, all curriculum is good curriculum. Everything will work for someone. You may have simply purchased something that is not a good fit for your home. Maybe…
- You bought a curriculum that you love and want to add something to it to accommodate multiple children, or to adjust to a child’s learning style.
- You bought a curriculum that you like and see definite possibilities to use it—with some modifications.
- You bought a curriculum that you thought you loved until you tried it in your home.
First off, buying a misfit is a rite of passage for any homeschooling parent. Welcome to the club.
Secondly, in a “keep it real” type of moment, buying curriculum cost you money; tweaking it will cost you time. But my experience is that selling curriculum, even barely used curriculum, is much like selling a used car: no one is going to pay you full price for something they could buy themselves, and so you might try to keep it and make the best use of it.
Once you realize that it’s not working, you can add to a curriculum in so many ways. Notebooking , lapbooking, and even adding games can be fun components for converting a visual curriculum into something that a kinesthetic learner can enjoy. Uno? Candyland? Mall Madness? Monopoly? They all require certain fundamental skills in addition to being pure fun. I listed a few resources below to be of help as needed.
Don’t forget that all-important field trip! And—it’s just my opinion and experience—please don’t fall into the habit of always requiring the written report or oral summary after the outing. Allowing their senses to come alive in the moment, and letting them relish the time, will provide a rich experience that you may very well limit with required paperwork.
Some additional help can be as close as your fingertips. There are a number of Facebook groups that are dedicated to various homeschooling niches. If you have sworn off of the traditional social media outlets, there is The Homeschool Lounge, where you can establish your own “page,” share photos, join groups, and be a part of a very supportive community.
There are also websites dedicated to helping educate the masses—sometimes free, sometimes at a price. Consider one or all of the following:
- PBS (http://www.pbs.org)
- Lesson Planet (http://www.lessonplanet.com/)
- Teachers Pay Teachers (http://teacherspayteachers.com)
I won’t go into details here since how-tos would deviate from the purpose of this post (just write me if needed), but if your child is old enough, consider supplementing an otherwise disappointing text with these types of exercises:
- Venn Diagrams or other graphic organizers
- Double Entry Journal
- Learning Matrix
- One-Minute Paper
- Admirable Individuals Paper
- Everyday Ethical Dilemmas Paper
- Commonplace Books
I promised links on notebooking and lapbooking, and here they are.
If all of this sounds like entirely too much work, you can always just sell your curriculum. There are several excellent sites, including your own social media sites if you know enough “friends” in the homeschooling community. Though I don’t sell much curriculum, one of my favorite places to buy used curriculum is the swap board section of Vegsource. (See http://www.vegsource.com/homeschool/). Flowing through a list of quick titles and thinking, “Got it, got it, need it, got it…” works for me.
I know you spent money and poured emotions into your purchases. I know many homeschooling families are frugal with funds, and dollars are all too precious. Yet, if you truly are ready to discard a purchase, consider giving it away. Seriously. There are so many right now who are going through hard times, whether because of economic turndown or natural disasters. Regardless of where you are, you are better off than someone. More importantly, there are so many scriptures that speak to our capacity to give, and how much more we receive from our Lord when we choose to be channels, not containers, of blessings. I have seen this dynamic in our journey repeatedly. Keep your eyes and ears open, and ask the Lord to send people your way whom you can bless.
Again, I believe in my heart that so many people run into the “what was I thinking when I bought this” trap until there is probably much more wisdom out there than my own. What are some ways that you salvage not-so-perfect purchases?