As a newer homeschooler, I loved my teacher’s manual. It gave me the confidence to be able to do this homeschooling thing. Before our first year of kindergarten I struggled with knowing whether or not I could teach my children well, how do you teach things, where do you begin, what should I say were all questions that rolled around my brain that summer. I wasn’t so sure I was equipped to handle the job.
Teacher’s manual to the rescue! When I saw that detail that went into My Father’s World’s teacher’s manual I felt at ease. I could actually do this!
Not only is there a weekly lesson plan, but there is also in-depth notes for each day. They even go as far as to write out what you should say when teaching new material. For a newbie, this was a lifesaver!
Fast forward to next year of homeschooling. Now I’m teaching kindergarten again and first grade. And I’ve gotten over that fear of the unknown. Now I know what to expect and that I can fall back on my teacher’s manual for new concepts and to keep us on track.
But I no longer follow it religiously.
I no longer need to. I found that it makes me into a stressed taskmaster or a bored teacher.
For kindergarten, I like to add things, take things out, condense the days or skip things. Like their food crafts. I’m sorry but I don’t have time for those ones! If I have to leave the house for cooking supplies it ain’t getting done. And I’m totally at peace with that.
We are not slaves to the teacher’s manual!
It’s time to embrace that truth. It is there to be a guideline, a lifeline in case we have no idea how to word the concept at hand. It’s there to be a helper, not a taskmaster.
I find that if I am too focused on the teacher’s manual that our school days are longer and harder. Using it as a guide allows for the fun to come back in. Using it as a guideline allows for you to make judgment calls based on where your child is at. Are they still struggling with the concept but the teacher’s manual has moved on? Don’t stress out, go at your child’s pace and move on when he’s ready.
While I do enjoy the preplanned out days, and follow it, for the most part, I do stray from a lot of it. I skip crafts that are too involved, involve food or if we’ve just had a long day of school and just want to be D-O-N-E. I don’t let it make it feel bad, guilty or like I’m not a good homeschooling mama.
Here’s a shocker-I do not do any of the math in the first grade MFW curriculum. *gasp*
For a type A personality, this was hard at first. I felt like I had to follow the book. But after everyone cried every day for weeks, I decided to just stop and only do our Abeka math – which I don’t even have a teacher’s manual for! *an even bigger gasp*
Can I tell you how freeing it is to decide not to let the teacher’s manual be the boss?
It’s a great feeling.
I love being able to switch units up to match the weather or time of year and not feel like I need to follow the book because somehow I’m failing at homeschooling if I don’t.
If you are feeling stressed, frazzled, bored or even hating homeschooling you might want to ask yourself if you have become a slave to your teacher’s manual. Most likely you will find that you have. I encourage you to loosen up the grip you have, trust your instincts and go with the flow. Make the teacher’s manual a guide and simply relax. Add some fun back in. Don’t worry about completing every activity or page they have written down for the day. You are only stressing yourself out and sucking the joy out of what could be a beautiful thing.
You can homeschool. You do know your child best. You do know what works and what doesn’t work for your school days. Follow your instincts not your teacher’s manual.