I started the year with three full cores from Memoria Press, fresh from their conference ready to follow the lesson plans henceforth and forever.
A couple of months in, I started making changes.
The math – Rod and Staff – was different from what I’d always done. I went back to what I knew – Saxon.
I didn’t “get” the composition. It didn’t seem to accomplish what I thought it should. So I went back to what I knew: Well-Trained Mind materials.
Pretty soon I was only doing about half the lesson plans. It got confusing, so I started writing them out myself.
First I did spiral notebooks, since so many other people seem to be using that method. It made me feel more on top of things, but it meant sitting down to write daily lesson plans every single night. And that was usually the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day.
Then I heard Mystie talk about Trello. Using her helpful videos, I set up Trello boards for everyone. I liked that I could plan a week at a time that way, but I didn’t like that it took a couple of hours on Sunday to do it. And I didn’t like that it required us all to be on computers during the school day, just to check assignments. I was too easily distracted by other open tabs, and when our desktop broke Emma no longer had a place to check her assignments on her own.
On top of all my planning struggles, everyone was struggling with math. Two of the kids were in Saxon books above their grade level, and it was obvious that that was not sustainable. I started to wonder if changing back to Saxon had been a good idea.
I found myself weeping, exhausted from all the work of lesson planning. I didn’t have time to do the other things I wanted to do. I kept wishing I could just have lesson plans all written out…wait a minute. I do have lesson plans all written out. Perhaps I should not have abandoned them. Oh boy, haven’t I been here before?
I dusted off the lesson plans and evaluated where we were. How many days of school have we done, what week are we in, how feasible would it be to pick back up with the lovely lesson plans and drop all the other stuff I’d added?
(Oh yeah. I wasn’t just substituting things. I’d gone hog wild and started adding things. My poor children.)
I got re-organized, hauled all the extra stuff to the basement, and announced we were going back to full Memoria Press plans. We’ve been back on track for a few days now and it’s been so much better. Lighter. Simpler. Peaceful and sensible.
I put the younger two back in the Rod and Staff math books. It’s different from Saxon, but it’s math, and it’s on their level, and that’s what we need.
We went back to the composition program that MP uses. I can’t say I fully understand it, but I’ve decided to trust the process.
I did keep two changes, things I just really don’t like and can’t use: We hated College of the Redwoods Pre-Algebra, so Abby is using Saxon. And I do not like the MP cursive program, so Ben will continue to use Zaner-Bloser. In all other subjects, we’re back on track and ready to finish strong.