The 7 Stages Of The Curriculum Hunt


I seem to go through this cycle every few months.  Despite being homeschooled, I seem to be stuck in this “unschooling isn’t school!” thought process even though I know better.  Plus, I know the time is fast approaching where the Engineer will be beyond my capabilities and will require ‘some’ sort of curriculum because I can’t whip up calculus problems at the drop of a hat.

If I’m truly honest, I desperately want a good curriculum because it means less work for me.  I need less work for me.  I can’t keep up this kind of pace, and certainly not with the Princess surging towards school age.  Nope, I have to find something.  But not just anything – it has to be the right fit.  Otherwise it’s battle after battle, ending with a complete waste of money as the curriculum is ditched for YouTube again.  Khan Academy, how I love thee!


So, in an attempt to be humorous, this is the step-by-step process that I seem to go through every time.  I would be more amused if it didn’t seem to be a habit these days.



1. Panic!

I can’t do all of this by myself!  I need a curriculum, I need something laid out and simple, easy to follow and complete.  I’m tired of filling in gaps and trying to do all of this on my own.  There are tons of curriculum authors and publishers out there, surely SOMEONE has something that will work?

Quick, scramble onto the internet and do a few searches.  I’ve never heard of that one, maybe it will work?  Go ask the homeschool group, they’ve done this before, right?  I can’t be the only person in this dilemma.  Surely there are people who have dealt with my situation before?



2.  Frustration

There are too many options.  How am I supposed to pick from all these options?  How do I even know what level the kid is on?  What’s A2 supposed to mean?  I know the Engineer is asynchronous and needs multiple different levels, but I don’t speak Lexile 2 or whatever the rating is that this curriculum is using.  And who puts K-5 on their curriculum anyway?  Just pick one, people!  It can’t be all of them!

Oh, and if this curriculum is expecting me to “adjust” it to fit my kid’s grade level, forget it.  I might as well build my own instead of paying for yours.  Ditto for the curriculums that are really just a list of web links and free printables – again, why am I paying you?  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with my Google skills, thank you very much!



3. Depression

None of these curriculums are hard enough.  Sure, they all have loads of practice problems, and isn’t that a joy all by itself?  But depth, breadth, and richness … apparently first graders aren’t supposed to make complex associations and logic leaps in history.  No, they’re supposed to learn about national symbols and landmarks, or focus on key historical figures.  That’s cool, except half of the historical figures were rather yuck people, and we spend a lot of time talking about that instead of history.

When did learning become all about the worksheet and less about the act of learning?  What happened to guides to deep thought and discussions?  Is that reserved for high school or something?  Aren’t elementary aged kids expected to think?  Or are they expected to simply absorb what’s put in front of them?



4. Anger

Why is this so darned hard?  Seriously people, it shouldn’t be this hard.  Why can’t I just pick one out and be done already?  I’ve read through 10 samples already and rejected them, and I’m working my way through a list of more.  And why don’t you have samples on your website?  Don’t you know what century this is, people?  Why would you even be IN the curriculum business if you aren’t web literate?   If you really think I’m going to send you a letter with a request for a sample, then you’re nuts.  Too hard, too slow.  I need to see it now.

And you people who think that we should just order your curriculum sight unseen take the cake.  What, do you think your curriculum is perfect?  That everyone will love it?  Hey, you know what?  Everyone is different, and my kid might hate your curriculum.  Which means “I” will hate your curriculum because of your return policy.



5. Grief

I’m doomed.  I will never find anything that will work, and I will be forced to scrabble up my own curriculum for my kids.  I mourn the loss of my free time, that tiny sliver already fading to nothing.  I teeter on the edge of burnout, forever balanced until that fateful day the kid wants something I cannot provide and I fall into the oblivion of homeschooling mom.

My children will fail, and will graduate as any number of homeschooling stereotypes.  They will flip burgers for the rest of their lives, breathing the regretful aroma of grease forever reminding them that their mother failed them.



6. Resignation

Just pick one.  It won’t be perfect, it won’t really work, but at least I can be done with this process.  If I have something in hand, then the next time the IEP team asks “what curriculum are you using?” I won’t stare at them like a deer in the headlights.  I know my kids might not thrive on it, but hey, that’s life!  Nothing is perfect, nothing is tailored exactly for them after they become adults.  Learn to adapt, kids!  It’s a life skill you’re going to need, and we’re starting now.

The problem is that I realize it won’t work, and I’ll be back at point 1 in a few months when this fails.  So I can’t really pick one, I have to dither in indecision and stew in my own frustrations.



7.  Determination

Forget this.  I will do this myself!  I can come up with my own curriculums for all of this!  It means I might sleep less (or not at all?)  but I can do this on my own.  Who needs big publishing companies after all?  They’re just making a profit off of some poor teacher who slaved over the work anyway.  I am smart, capable, and I know how to look things up.  I can do this.  I WILL do this.  My children will learn, and I will be satisfied that they are getting the best possible education that I can give them!


And a month later, I will swing right back around to panic.  I can’t do this!  Help!



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