Tuesday, September 7, 2010

thinking about curriculum and simplicity

I haven't been blogging very regularly on here.    I am spending most of my computer time putting up lesson plans.   I learned something about myself today, however, that I wanted to put down to remember it.

I ran across a mention of Tapestry of Grace curriculum.  Now this is a resource that is loved by many people, that I've been hearing about for years and years, and in some ways is just what I would think I would love.  It's Catholic-friendly, and literature and discussion-rich, and complete, and everything.   It even has oral and written quizzes, and overview pages  Just the sort of thing I like.   I downloaded the sample on Egypt onto my computer and looked through it.

Guess what?  Overload.  It zapped my energy right away.  I can feel it now, several hours later.   This says nothing about the program, which continues to be a wonderful resource well loved by many people, etc.  It says something about me.

This is why I need simplicity, and it's why I have to define simplicity as what is simple for me.    When I find some things overwhelming, I don't always know why.  I have no idea why I can work with K12 fairly easily while TOG makes me feel jittery just looking at it.  I just know I have to respect that.    If I absolutely HAD to work with TOG, say, my husband really wanted me to or something, I'm sure I could make it work.  But then, that would be different.   Making things work is something different.  

There's a sort of freedom in not needing to be involved with something that would be a burden, even if it is good in itself.    Yet I still continue to admire it, which is something I've found out about simplicity and getting rid of excess.   Most of the things other people have, or that I used to have that I gave away, are good things.   I don't have to think there's anything wrong with them in order to let go of them.   They just don't work for me, and that is fine.    They do work for other people, which is fine too.  

Back down into the rabbit hole of lesson planning!  


  1. That was my same reaction when I looked them over. My head was just spinning and it just was too much for me!

    I've been reading "When Children Love to Learn" and this week I've been pondering "Education is the Science of Relations" by Beckman. It is such a freeing thought to allow the freedom and simplicity to allow the child to make their own connections.
    No complicated, overthought unit studies necessary.

    And yet, I'm still having problems committing my plans to paper. ;-)

  2. I'm finding the same things about myself. It's taken me 9 years of homeschooling to realize that just because a program or certain materials work great for some, they might not work for me and that's okay!! I can't tell you the number of things I have purchased because of rave reviews, only to find that they did nothing but stress me out. I'm learning, ever so slowly!

  3. Thanks for the comments! Jenn, I wonder if it's because of the literature and "child making his own connections" that it is somewhat challenging to put the plans down on paper. I've had the same experience with wheel-spinning when I try to write down CM-friendly lesson plans. I don't quite have the answer but I find the children do learn given the good books and the time spent sharing them.

  4. Thank you for writing this! I, too, have things I avoid because they make ME crazy and not because they're bad in and of themselves. I think, usually, it makes sense to avoid the crazymaking stuff, as long as that's not avoiding my duty. And, often, it's not!

    But you just put it so well; thank you.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!