Monday, March 1, 2010

The Switcheroo

If you are a homeschooler, and you've been at it for any length of time, you've probably pulled this one too.

It's that "I'm ditching this curriculum and trying something else" switcheroo. You know the one? Sometimes the 180 turns into a 360. Sometimes, it's the best thing you could have ever done.

Little Bit's Kindergarten year wasn't exactly going as planned. Has anything ever gone as planned with that kid? She is not her sister. And I didn't even homeschool when Sweetheart was in Kindergarten so it's not like I've really got anything to compare it to. All I know wasn't working.

So I was telling my mom friends about it at book club and Carrie suggested Five in a Row. Yeah, what is that? I said. I've seen it online, I just didn't really know anything about it except it took me a long time to figure out what FIAR stood for.

A few posts to my homeschool group.....a few statuses on Facebook.....and I was holding in my hands a borrowed copy of Volume 1. I spent some time this week googling and researching furiously and found all kinds of things to download and print (why should I re-do work that others have already done so well?) and this morning we began. Sweetheart began her 50 States unit at the same time and they were both so happy.

My dad came down to my house with a stapler we needed to borrow and saw one little girl sitting at the table in a kimono (the first story is set in China--close enough) and the other in her finest Western wear (for Texas). They were so cute!

Say, wouldn't it be easier if they were both studying the same thing at the same time? Why yes, yes it would be. But that would be the old plan. And we aren't there anymore, are we?

And I am rejoicing today that on Wednesday my 4th grader will NOT be spending her time taking the state test. The one that is the be-all, end-all driving force in our state's educational decisions these days. And for the last 20 years or so. (I was in the first graduating class that had to pass the test to graduate.) (I did, by the way.)

The power to make the decisions. The freedom to decide what's best for my kiddos.

The ability to pull as many switcheroos as needed.......

this is what I'm thankful for today.


  1. I'm glad its working for you! Its deinitely something I can see as being perfect for you and your girls!! The stories are absolutely wonderful.

    I tried to convince DH to let me do the big switcheroo once we decided to use Sonlight, but he said (and I quote) "No!" lol! So I'm gritting my teeth and riding out the next 12 weeks and looking forward to fall!

  2. Way to be flexible , unlike me! I'd be the type that would say, "We are doing this until it's over because I have it written down in my lesson plans for the next 12 weeks and I'm not gonna change them." Well, not really. But kind of.

    I don't know much about FIAR either, but I'll have to look it up!

  3. I am like Karly in that I have seen FIAR on other blogs but have not invested the time into researching it further. I have to tweak things to fit my schedule or a certain child's learning ability, I think that's what's great about homeschooling! My sister in law is a 2nd grade public school teacher and tells me all the time she wishes she could tweak and change things for certain children but has been told by her superiors to stick with the plan. That must be so frustrating, to know that something is not working but be unable to change it for the better.

    I look forward to learning more about FIAR through your blog, I know you will give us the full scoop on it. Hope Little Bit likes it and it works well for her and you : )

  4. I can so relate to this =) and yes, i do struggle w/ wanting to have them study the same topic at the same time (ofcourse different levels, lol), but how much more interested would they be if they could choose their own topics, eh?

  5. I can see the children at the table and it is a sweet scene indeed! :) Enjoy!

  6. I'm using FIAR with Levi and Paige. I think it is great. We just started about six weeks ago. I guess you could say I pulled a switeroo too:)

  7. Julie I cannot think of a better curriculum than that for Levi!!!! And how cool that he and Paige get to do it together!! :)

    Here is a good resource:

    Also HomeschoolShare has a lot of stuff but you might already know about both of those.

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  9. I'm still a bit away from kindergarten, though Lil' Princess is only 5 months away from her 4th birthday and I am beginning to think about it.

    This curriculum switching: Can that get expensive? Just gathering intel here.

    I enjoyed this post, even though you reminded me that MY kids will be knee deep in FCAT next week.

    The good (and wierd) thing is that once they pass it their sophomore year, they don't have to take it anymore. All the big girls will have passed that point after the twins (9th grade) take it next year.

    Question: Why are they going to school 2 more years if they have proven proficiency to graduate at the end of 10th grade year?

  10. This time it didn't cost me anything but some printer ink. I borrowed the new book---and I was replacing just my own gathered ideas each week. If you have invested...clearly that would affect your decision. When we ditched Sweetheart's math curriculum last February, it just was not working. S agreed we should just throw the book away. It was like $20-$30 but we had used half of it. Then we had to buy the new curriculum, but we borrow a lot of that and buy used too. I haven't done much switching mid-year like this but I have tried new things at the beginning of the year. In homeschool circles, I have learned there is nearly NEVER a need to buy new. Unless it's consumable.

    And that is a very good question about the 2 more years of school. Hmm...

    Also Terry, I HIGHLY recommend Before Five in a Row for your Princess. She's just the right age.

  11. did you know FIAR is the first thing that i dumped my first curriculum for when my oldest was in kindergarten? did you also know that it's what catapulted us into lapbook junkies? LOVE FIAR!

  12. in fact - here's a post from way back when.

  13. we totally pulled a switcheroo from tapestry/sonlight to FIAR this past year! we LOVE it!!! there is a great book of recipes to go along with each of the books. the only bummer is that some of the books are out of print and hard to come by. the archives on the FIAR forum are a WEALTH of information and have great go-alongs for each story/colume. we will never look back :)

  14. Never heard of FIAR....going now to search it out...not that we'll be switching, because my kids are happy with what they're doing, but I want to know what all the love is about!!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)