Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Nine Year Old is NOT Taking the SAT

Because she's 9. Ella is 9 years old. She's in 4th grade. Why am I even listening to completely unnecessary and stress inducing "guidance" about college? She's 9!!!

I'm not normally like this. Really. I know I can be a bit high strung and I have a slightly off-beat sense of humor, but I'm not a mom who stresses about every little detail of life. Usually. I didn't have my kids on wait lists for preschools that cost more than my car. I didn't hire a tutor for my 6 month old to make sure she could read in both English and Spanish before she could contain her own baby drool. I'm really not neurotic...but I'm starting to encounter some icky "your daughter's entire future rests solely upon whether or not you choose this curriculum" pressure and I don't like it.

Here's the sitch (see, in addition to being non-neurotic I'm also hip and happening), I've started looking for next year's curriculum for our homeschooling adventures. I'm in love with our math and language programs, but I am no longer pleased with history. So I have started searching and sifting and comparing different history curricula for both kids. And some of the sites are freaking me out.

Because Ella will be in 5th grade in the fall, there's this strange, and I think made up, timeline confronting me with all the stuff she needs to know or be exposed to or have memorized before she starts high school...in four years. So the helpful helpers have laid out these master 4-5 year plans to cover everything she "needs" to know for high school in order to be properly prepared for college...in eight years! And since I've only got four years left until HS-day I'm apparently already behind the curve and now my daughter will be doomed to an unforgiving string of rejection letters all because I didn't cover the shifting political and religious ties of Reformation Europe. Seriously?

I can't plan eight years in advance. I can only deal with one year at a time. And even that is a minor miracle. I'd say I'm about an 8 on the "organized and plan-ahead" scale, but plan my curriculum four years ahead? Eight years? There's no way. See, I also register pretty high on the "let's try something new and dangerous" scale. Yep, organized adventure...that's me. And you'd be glad to have me on an adventure because I'm the one who remembers to pack toilet paper and bug spray. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I'm not trying to be an iconoclast here or a boat rocker or a trouble maker or anything else, but can't we ease up on the parent stress just a wee bit? Isn't one of the joys of homechooling being able to think outside the box a bit and do things a little differently? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with setting your kids up for success, we should all be doing that, but can't we plan for the future without sacrificing the joys of the present? And can we please stop raising the imaginary good parent bar? No one likes it, no one needs it and I'm pretty sure it was made up by someone who never had kids.

And thus ends my rant for the day.

So, who has a homeschool history curriculum they really love?


  1. Society is pushing kids too much! There's a reason that crime has increased...bullying...kids have anger and anxiety issues. They're expected to grow up too soon and pushed too hard. Not by everyone of course. But their lives should be simple, uncomplicated, family-oriented (IMO).

    Definitely don't stressed! 8 years is a long time! She (and you) have plenty of time!

  2. Back when I was home schooled (I graduated HS in 1999, eek!) my Mom didn't like any of the available curriculums, so she researched books on whatever she wanted me to learn about, and over the course of a school year I would read them. I was an avid reader (I got grounded from books for not completing chores, and the torture is permanently etched on my psyche) so it worked out well. I think I remember doing book reports on each one after finishing it. And since we got 99% of them from the library, it was cheaper and came with less guilt from the curriculum peddlers.

  3. I so agree! It is insane the amount of pressure society puts on children (and parents) today. They are stripping them of the sheer pleasure of being children, of playing, exploring and of learning naturally. When it comes down to it, I believe my job is to get my kids into Heaven, not Harvard. That doesn't mean I am not preparing them academically, but I am not stressing them (or me) over it. :-) As for History curriculum, we are using Sonlight with different supplements that I add. We use Hearts and Hands kits, field trips and lots of reading time together and we are learning a lot. And the best part of it is that it is hands-on and FUN.

    You're doing a great job! No worries!
    Many blessings,

  4. Also keep in mind that the kids don't have to go Ivy League in order to be successful. Some of us have done pretty well with a small liberal arts university education. ;)

  5. God's Word says tomorrow is not promised to us and it's the fool that says he will do this, he will do that. Proverbs also says that if you can attain/obtain wisdom, do it.

    Oh, the stress of keeping the balance. Thank heavens we have a Holy Spirit that guides us and shows us what is needed for now!

    And just so you know, Rea and I have discussed my penchant for scheduled spontaneity. I know you understand this. I appreciate that about you.

  6. Wow! You guys are awesome! What great encouragement. Thank you all so much!

  7. Thank you for this post! I really needed to hear that another home school mom struggles with this and has the same thoughts as me about curriculum. I struggle every year wondering if I am picking the right ones and am I preparing my kids for the path they will pick in the future.

    I found you on the Hip Homeschool Hop.

    1. Thanks so much for hopping by! And thank you for your encouraging comments! I truly believe that it will be all the intangible things we do that will be the biggest benefits to our kids in whatever they choose to do...the love, encouragement, character development...all the stuff you can't find in a curriculum.