Goldilocks Syndrome

Jessie_Willcox_Smith_-_'Goldilocks_and_the_Three_Bears',_Swift's_Premium_Soap_Products_calendar_illustrationSo, you’ve finally figured out your method of homeschooling. But what comes next can be even more challenging… finding the right curriculum. It leaves one feeling a little like poor Goldilocks; one curriculum is just a little too cold and others just a little too hot to handle. How does one find the right fit?

I wish I could give you a simple, straightforward, fool-proof method of finding the perfect curriculum for each child in your home. Honestly, anyone trying to sell you that should not be believed. The truth is, there is no easy answer! Like poor Goldilocks, you just need to give it a try.

Through careful study of our children we can make the job a little easier on ourselves, to be sure. Knowing how my children learn will help eliminate numerous options; narrowing down the choices. Attending curriculum fairs, perusing material displays at conventions, and reading online forums also benefit us. Asking friends and homeschooling acquaintances about their experience is a good option. It’s always a good idea to see something in person and read through some of the material.

Try as we might, at the end of the day, our only option is to make that purchase and give it a go. We pray the curriculum choices we’ve made work and we do our best to not squander our funds. It’s a gamble, but we pray it pays off. Generally we do okay, but sometimes it takes a little finagling. Then we are left wondering what to do with the curriculum we now have no use for. Should we sell it off or perhaps give it away?

Even if we can find what’s ‘just right’ for this moment, give it a year or two. Just when you think you’ve got it down, your kids grow up a little and you’re making changes to accommodate their needs. Here we go again!

Does this all sound a little disheartening and discouraging? It shouldn’t! Think of it this way. We all go through this; you aren’t alone! (Well, okay, most of us. I suppose some might be getting their curriculum through a charter or buy the entire boxed set from a company, but you get my drift.) For those of you who are in the midst of Goldilocks Syndrome, know that we’ve all been there; some of us are there once again with growing kids’ needs. We’ve all had to make those tough curriculum choices, we’ve purchased items we still haven’t figured out what to do with, we have resources still in the boxes (blushing), and on occasion are still seeking the advice of others who’ve gone before. Take heart; you aren’t alone.

Wouldn’t it be neat if someone created a ‘homeschool resource swap’? A venue where homeschooling parents had an opportunity to test out material before making final decisions on purchases. For two weeks you could peruse Rosetta Stone and see if you find it worth the investment. Need a hands-on look at that Sonlight Curriculum; no sweat! Unfortunately, none exists that I know of; definitely not in my area at least. I suppose this is where being part of a support group comes in handy. However, for parents who aren’t in a support group, little options are available.

Once again I find myself suffering from Goldilocks Syndrome. I have a daughter branching into high school next year and there are some tough choices to be made. I want to find a fit that’s ‘just right’ for her needs. Time to dig out the spoon and test the porridge!

Time to Chime In: Ready for a moment of truth? Share with us your most expensive homeschooling failure and why it didn’t work!

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8 thoughts on “Goldilocks Syndrome

  1. Some companies do let you have a look for a while. Peace Hill Press does have several weeks worth of samples on their site. Sonlight wii send you two weeks worth of their instructor guides. Christian Light Education has ton of samples on their site and they will often email more if needed. Math Mammoth will also send a huge sample file. These are just a few that I have personally sampled. As for a curriculum mistake…I purchased the new Spelling You See this year and it did not fit our family.

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  2. A Beka Book Company: the “8th Grade Box Set” was what my mother bought me. I can honestly say that I kept up with my lessons until Thanksgiving that year, and then that was the end of it. It just did not work for me. I spent the remainder of that year in the woods, playing sports, reading, playing chess, and reading more. A Beka Book was a colossal waste of money for us.

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  3. Our most expensive mistake was the Ron Paul Curriculum. We really wanted to like it because we respect Dr. Paul. However, he does not appear in the Grade 6 curriculum. A huge amount of paper was wasted printing books at home. Found out later they are free e-books in the public domain, available on many sites, like Project Gutenberg and Archive.org. We were surprised that the RPC features Bishop Usher’s “Young Earth” theory that the world is only 6,000 years old. Even very conservative churchmen like the Rev. Pat Robertson think Usher was mistaken. The RPC Web site is difficult to navigate. We had to stop using RPC because it is about a year behind the Ontario curriculum. Our son couldn’t pass the provincial standards exams with the info provided. We had to reteach many lessons with supplementary material, and that wasted time. Dr. Paul’s idea that elementary and high schools are obsolete is sound, though.

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