Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Works

When I look back over the last year I notice a few trends.

Family works for us.
Homeschooling works for us.
Our eclectic mix of curriculum works for us.
Semi-organized chaos works for us.

So, with all that in mind what should work for us this new year are the same things. However, I plan on simplifying our lives. Organizing our lives. Streamlining our days. Preparing more than a week at a time of lesson plans. And so much more. Why change the tried and true. Without change we become stagnant. This is not so much change, however, as it is tweaking.

I am not satisfied fully with our curriculum choices and as ECJ is getting older his needs when it comes to education are getting more demanding. Yes, I love what we use from nursery to sixth grade. It works. We like it. We thrive with it. But the children are growing and with them our curriculum must grow. Without challenge there is no effort. Without effort there is no learning.

What works may not always be what's best. Does that mean I'm stripping things bare and starting from scratch? Nope. That would be insanity. We'll be sticking with the things that work and building on them. Next year there is no "big book" for 7th grade on the market that covers both math and language arts. I LOVE those books! (Do the children? Only sometimes.) After his arithmetic choice is hammered out for next year I'll find an extra text for more practice for him. Once we hone in on what we'll be doing for his Language Arts curriculum we'll find something that will help him build those skills. Nope, not taking him away from the A Beka arithmetic or language arts ... just adding to it. Which means a lot of basic algebra, composition, and grammar work. Why do we add extra work in? Because it works. 

Another thing we plan on doing this year is to camp ... A LOT. We've plans to visit the Mammoth Caves in early June and spend some time at Land Between the Lakes (both in Kentucky). We've got plans to camp at several of our favorite state parks in Michigan. I'd love to camp most of my summer away. Daddy has plans to take ECJ camping several weekends just the two of them. Camping, for us, works. We get back to the basics. We spend time together. We spend time in nature. We remember that it's the big picture of life that matters and to treasure the little moments. Fireflies in an open field. Sparks rising off of a bonfire. Bike rides along trails through the woods. We all have our favorite things about camping. 

This time next year I'll be blogging to you from somewhere else as we'll be traveling all next winter. Perhaps only as far as our sweet Kentucky home (Michigan can keep it's snow next year). Perhaps farther. There's plans for an Easter in Texas in 2015. By next winter this home here will be finished and we'll be ready to begin on a new one on new property in Kentucky. Spending our summers, for the most part, in Michigan and our winters, again for the most part, in Kentucky works for us. 

When we look at our lives we plan and smile. When those plans fall apart we make new ones. When the plan works we rejoice. Our lives are a series of ups and downs. Unlike a roller coaster our peaks and valleys are mostly rolling, no harsh speeds or teeth jarring stops. We make plans. But, we've had the experience of knowing that it could all crash to an end and we'd loose one of those we hold most dear. We've learned to take life as it comes and ride those waves. So, we make plans but we live in the moment. That's what works for us.

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