There’s No Such Thing as Open & Go
Let’s talk about curriculum. Specifically, how we as holistic homeschoolers use curriculum and what role it plays in our homeschool. And I’ll share all about why I often say, “There’s no such thing as open & go curriculum!”
But before you read any further, I have a time sensitive announcement: The upcoming episode of the Art of Homeschooling Podcast is an Ask Jean Anything episode in recognition of the one-year anniversary of my podcast. Submit your questions here! Then come back next week for Episode #52 to hear all of my listeners’ great questions and answers!
Does one size fit all?
Here’s a question: Have you ever purchased or downloaded a free menu plan?
Well, I have. And here is a short list of some of the menu plans I’ve collected over the years: Allergy-Free Menu Planner, Grain Free Meal Plan, Nourishing Foods Menu Planner. The list goes on…
And have I ever used these menu plans exactly as they are written? No! Never!
In fact, I’m sure that I could have just used one as a model and then created my own after that. Or, even easier, just created my own to begin with!
Every plan needs to be tweaked to meet the unique tastes of my family, adjusted based on what’s available at the farm market or grocery, and juggled depending on who’s cooking on any given night.
And now…on to our conversation about curriculum.
I suggest that there is not such thing as an open & go curriculum because every curriculum plan also needs to be tweaked, adjusted, juggled, or simply used as a model to meet the unique needs of your children and your family.
Because it’s often impossible to use a curriculum exactly as it’s written, we each create our own curriculum everyday, in our own way. We teach to the children before us, bringing them what they need to learn and grow.
Does one size fit all?
When I think of homeschool curriculum, I think it’s more like one size fits some. Or even one size fits none.
Jump in & customize as you go
I’ve taught in every possible setting from public and private school classrooms to tutoring, small groups, and homeschooling. And I’ve never met a teacher, in any of these settings, who has used a curriculum exactly as published.
This is the nature of teaching. Teaching and learning are most successful when we individualize the lessons with creativity and excitement to teach. And when we dive in to the teaching with an attitude of curiosity, observing our children and making adjustments or tweaks as we go.
So, so often I’m asked, “What curriculum should I buy?” Because we often assume that finding the best curriculum is the most important aspect of homeschooling. And once you’ve figured that out, you’re done. Good to go. Ready to homeschool!
If you’ve discovered that there really is no such things as open & go curriculum, I have a few tips for you, to help you find confidence and ease on your homeschooling journey.
If there’s no such thing as open & go, then what?
- Use what you have, but don’t let it own you. Take what works and leave the rest. Skip around and circle back. Do more practice if practice is needed. Add or subtract as necessary.
- Use what you have as a model to support you as you begin to customize your lessons.
- Use the library.
- Rather than investing in a curriculum package, shift your focus to finding a few key resources or individual block or unit plans.
- Focus on creating the space for learning and offering opportunities to your children.
- Create your own curriculum. Yes, you can do this! Sometimes it’s trickier to re-fashion someone else’s plan than to start from scratch and create your own.
- Know that finding curriculum and resources for homeschooling is only the beginning of the process of teaching and learning.
“Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves.”
~Rudolf Steiner, “Human Values in Education”
The children themselves are the curriculum
Here’s a note I received recently from Sarah, homeschooling mama of four:
“I’ve collected so many materials and lesson ideas from over 15 years of homeschooling, so that I won’t have to “reinvent the wheel.” But I rarely ever use these saved materials. The truth is, each child and each lesson inspires me to reinvent the wheel anyhow. My inspiration is always different and my kids are different. So when we start with the child in front of us, we are reinventing the wheel, each and every day. Because truly “there’s no such thing as open and go curriculum.”
My experience was just like this! Even as a classroom teacher! We’re always customizing and individualizing and refreshing and updating our lessons. Because there is no such thing as open & go.
A homeschooling life can be rich and rewarding, and so full of learning and meaningful connections when we realize that what we are reaching for is not the perfect curriculum.
What we’re really searching for as homeschooling mamas is confidence and ease.
“Every education is self-education, and as teachers we can only provide the environment for children’s self-education. We have to provide the most favorable conditions where, through our agency, children can educate themselves according to their destinies.”
~Rudolf Steiner, “Gratitude, Love, and Duty”
Coaching, Classes, & Community for Your Homeschooling Journey
At the Art of Homeschooling, I don’t publish curriculum. Instead, my mission is to empower and inspire YOU to customize and even create your own curriculum to suit the needs of your children and unique family. And that’s exactly why I created the Homeschool with Waldorf membership community ~ so you can learn to individualize your lessons as you go.
Want to join the community? Inside Homeschool with Waldorf, you’ll find classes, coaching, and community. So you can teach and learn with your children with confidence and ease.
Remember this: There’s no such thing as open & go. Because the truth is: YOU Create Your Own Curriculum.
And that is exactly what your children need.💜
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