I went to Starbucks the other night with a fellow homeschooling mom. I don't have many friends here that homeschool so getting to really talk about struggles, successes, tips, and tricks was a treat. Whenever we get together we stay 'til they kick us out (who heard of a Starbucks that closes at 9:00, anyway?), then stand outside and talk for at least another hour. Total bliss!
Anyway, one of the things we discussed is the need to keep it simple. I believe that as homeschoolers we get so caught up in the "neat" stuff we could do that we lose sight of our goals. Since one of the things Stephanie and I talked about that night was learning US Geography, I'm going to use that as an example.
I'm ashamed to admit how many different US Geography curriculums I've bought. It's at least 3. Maybe 4. My current process is to spend time every Friday on US Geography. I read from a book about the state (stories from its history, etc.), then we fill out maps and information sheets. 6 sheets for each state. 6!!! It took us 2 Fridays to do Rhode Island! Am I absolutely nuts?!
After my night at Starbucks, I started thinking about my goals for studying the 50 states. For each state, I'd like for the kids to know name, location, and capital. That's it. The rest is gravy. Neat gravy, but time-consuming-making-this-way-too-complicated gravy. Do I really care what the highest recorded temperature in North Dakota is? NO! (Sincerest apologies if you're from North Dakota. To be honest, I don't care what the highest recorded temperature is in Texas, either.)
So, I'm simplifying. Tomorrow is Friday. We are going to cover 1-2 states, depending on how long it takes. We'll need 2 maps for each state - a map of the US with that state marked and a map of the state with its capital and surrounding states marked. We might (might!) do a color sheet of the state bird and flower just because that would expose the kids to the names of more bird and flowers. Each week we will cover the names of all the states and the capitals of the ones we've learned. We will work our 50 states puzzle. They'll play with their Leap Pad that has a US geography game. That's it!
Ahhhh.... I feel better already.
And it's a wonderful thing.