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Being Content with Your Curriculum

This post, Being Content With Your Curriculum, was written for Sonlight Curriculum. 

When it comes to homeschooling, we all too often meddle with something that is already quite wonderful - our curriculum. The newness wears off. We get bored with it. We try to make it better. Or we see what other homeschoolers are using, and we want to do the same.

In the process of meddling, we forget to enjoy what we have.

How to Have a More Content Homeschool

I often take running water for granted. I take long baths and fill the kitchen sink with hot soapy water not thinking about the fact that I have running water. Then, we make a trip to our off-grid home in Montana where we don't have running water. We haul our water in 5 gallon containers, and when I take a bath, I heat the water in pots on a wood cook stove. It's a lot of work, but I revel in the moment. I have wood to burn, heat to warm the water with, and a tub to put the water in. We even have pipes to carry the water out of the house. It's quiet and peaceful, and I get to unplug from the world, hear the cricket's chirp, and see the stars shine bright in the night sky.

It takes a conscious awareness to savor everyday moments. How often do we revel in the ordinary, the mundane, or even the uncomfortable?

We live in a drafty, old rental house and we've been here longer than any home I've ever lived in, and I love to move - it's a time of purging and fresh starts, so I wanted desperately to move to a cozy house of my own with lots of windows, natural light, and a front door that isn't falling off its hinges. But, I took down the dark insulating curtains and put up sheer curtains to let more light in. I rearranged. I purged. I painted. I learned to be content.

In the same way, we can be content with our homeschool curriculum if we purpose to be.

Year after year, I heap curriculum on top of curriculum to eliminate gaps and provide my kids with the best of the best. But, I was recently challenged to stop doubling up and pick the one that does it better.

So, I chose Sonlight.

How to Have a More Content Homeschool

Sonlight is a good fit for our homeschool because Sonlight's main goal is to inspire a love of learning. Our children can't possibly learn everything they need to know before they leave home, so Sonlight developed a Christ-centered, literature-rich curriculum that builds family bonds, cultural literacy, and academic excellence, while cultivating children’s natural curiosity and love for stories, giving them a love for learning that will prepare them to be lifelong learners.

There are more reasons we love Sonlight, but today I want to share how I plan to be content with just one curriculum after years of heaping curriculum on top of curriculum.

How to Have a More Content Homeschool:


Keep a fresh perspective 


Count your blessings. Find the beauty in what you are doing. Find the moments that enrich your days and be grateful for the little things: a cup of tea, a good book, a home to live in, children to homeschool.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Take a good look at your homeschool and find the moments that bring joy, the subjects you take delight in teaching, and the simple pastimes that make you happy. Find the beauty and goodness in what you have. Appreciate the little things, and be grateful for what you have.

How to Have a More Content Homeschool

Stop comparing yourself to others. We spend time carefully choosing and praying over our selections before hitting the submit button. Rest in that. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Remember that being content is a choice. If you are bored or sick of doing the same thing, find one new thing to do each week - have a tea party, pop popcorn, bake apples, or take school outside for the day.

You don't have to be good at everything. Don't take yourself so seriously, have a sense of humor, and avoid being a perfectionist.

Live in the present 


Be satisfied with who you are and what you have - right now.

Don't worry about tomorrow.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." — Phillipians 4:6-7
Do the next thing. When you make a habit of doing the next thing, you will be more intentional and feel more purposeful. If you focus on today and what needs done right now, you will accomplish more than you thought possible.

Simplify your life, if needed. You'll have less to worry about, right?

If you feel like you are falling behind, just open your IG and do the next thing. Don't worry about staying on schedule - just get through today.

Stay committed to homeschooling  


Stay committed even if you don't feel like it.

Consider Charlotte Mason's motto:
I am... a homeschool mom.
I can… do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I ought… to do my duty to God and my children.
I will… choose the right.
You will have good days and bad. When times are tough, say to yourself, "I will... do the work of homeschooling."

Practice self-discipline. Find a rhythm or routine that works for you. Develop healthy habits. Create a schedule or start a daily tracker - whatever works for you.

Make changes if necessary, but think long and hard about what is standing in the way of you being content, and don't change everything - don't throw the baby out with the bath water. In other words, don't eliminate something that is working when trying to get rid of something that isn't. Ask God what He wants you to learn in your present circumstance, instead of telling Him what you want Him to change.

It may take time, but you must persevere.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. — Galatians 6:9

Not too long ago, I was taking my weekly soak, and I was so thankful for the deep claw foot tub filled with hot, salty water to soak in and the cool breeze coming in through the window to cool me, that I felt so happy and content. Then, I quickly felt a check in my heart to not be too content that God can't move me from this place. It was then that I realized that I could learn to find contentment wherever He wants me to be.

How to Have a More Content Homeschool

However, I am still learning to be content when it comes to homeschool curriculum. I have filled our days with unit studies, hands-on activities, and experiences on top of a full curriculum for years. But, I over-plan and burn out often. When I get overwhelmed like this, I crave a boxed curriculum all planned out for me. But, I can never let it be. I always try to make it better.

This year I am ready for a break from planning, from scheduling, from over-doing. I want to be content, and I want a curriculum that I know works for us without all the work.

I want to be able to close the school room door at the end of the day and not worry about tomorrow.

So, in deciding which one does the job the best, I went with the company I have used since the beginning, and I am going to be content and see how God can work in our homeschool.

How to Have a More Content Homeschool

My goal is to use Sonlight as is without heaping any other curriculum on top.

My rule: any projects or activities must be a suggested activity in the guide or be inspired by a book itself. "Inspired by" could mean anything from making something mentioned in a book (a craft, a project, a recipe) or adding to a suggested activity in a natural and meaningful way. My goal is to do projects or activities that have true educational value and that come naturally.

I feel an immense feeling of relief and joy to be embarking on this journey with Sonlight as a brand ambassador for History - Bible - Literature F. All ambassador-created content here on Delightful Learning will be shared in the same spirit that I have shared all these years, so I hope you'll join me on this journey!

10 comments

Lisa M. (aka. Lisa @ Farm Fresh) said...

A good reminder for us all. I tried hard to remember that this year as I determined our curriculum. New isn't always better. :)

Mary Greenan said...

Beautifully written and so very true. Thank you for sharing your heart.

kimberly said...

Beautifully Said. Content and peaceful homeschooling sounds perfect to me.

Dawn Rebekah said...

What a wonderful reminder. We are on day three and I am already telling myself not to meddle with the plan. We are doing the most streamlined school year ever this year. It will be full and lovely, but plotted out. Just do the next thing...that is what I must remember.
Blessings, Dawn

Annette V said...

nicely written post :)

Tina Robertson said...

Well said and we love Sonlight! I used it with my boys for middle school.

dharagan said...

Hello there,

What a wonderful post! We have been homeschooling now for 12 years and I am constantly tweaking and adding to what we have! WHile I do think that can work (I am an avid believer in at least two methods for math) I think I do this too often! Thanks for the reminder : )

Also, you once had a post stating your regrets in not continuing to homeschool one (or both?) of your older sons. I have tried to search for it and to no avail. Could you post that link when you have a chance?

Thanks and blessings, donna

serenity said...

Hey Michelle,
It’s been a long time since I’ve commented on your blog (although I’ve been reading your posts whenever I fall out of my “unplugged” ways :). I’ve been busy with a very sick father in law. He is no longer with us. He was a very good man.
Back to school talk- This year we’ll be doing AAR, Singapore Math, HWT, FIAR. The weather is still nice around here so we’ll start our official day in October (which is really just a continuation of what we’re doing right now). My children will be going to coop twice a week for foreign language. For P.E. I was going to have them continue with swim class, but the winter brings about colds and the Swim place doesn’t refund missed days. We’re thinking of new ideas for P.E. that all of us can do together as a family.
I see you’re doing Sonlight for the year, does that include Math and all? And for all grades? Malachi looks like a young man now!
Btw, I think I’ve read an old post of yours about getting rid of debt. Do you have any tips on getting out of debt and all? I’ve also read about your GAPS experience. I’m Paleo/Primal and know people who were on GAPS. I might try it soon and have my children try it out. Oh and you look good in both of your photos on your weight loss post btw!
Sorry for the scattered thoughts! Haha

Regards,
Serenity

Michelle said...

Thank you all for your encouragement and support! ♥

Donna, here is my post: http://www.delightfullearning.net/2017/06/5-things-i-wish-i-would-have-done-from-homeschool-to-public-school.html I need to write a part 2 because I did bring one of my boys home - the other graduated in May.

Michelle said...

Serenity, your comment got buried in my comments, so I'm sorry for not replying sooner to offer my sincerest condolences your father-in-law. <3

For Level F, we are just doing History, Bible, and Literature (HBL). We will do Science A with HBL A with Bo.

Thank you for your kind comments! When I did my consult for MTHFR, it was suggested that I do the autoimmune paleo diet, but I started on GAPS to heal and seal my gut. I honestly don't know what to do now, so I'm doing Trim Healthy Mama because I know how to do that and it's a combination of healthy carbs, fats, and protein. Do you have any favorite resources for Paleo? (If you see this!) It's wonderful to see you pop in!