Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wherein I discover that I have only myself to blame

Yesterday we opened the box on a much-anticipated new program for our little homeschool:  The One Year Adventure Novel.

My kids like adventures, and novels, and writing stories.  They've "won" NaNoWriMo three years in a row now, though they have never done anything with their novels.  They would like to learn to write well.

Last year I tortured them by sending them to a very typical early high-school writing class, complete with literary analysis and the five-paragraph essay, and this year we needed something different. 

They aren't too hot on following a curriculum, though.  They just want to write, even though they know they have a lot to learn about writing. 

So I showed them OYAN and they were hooked, quickly.  Still, I was dubious; I've been burned by curriculum purchases before.  So I had them watch and read every available bit of information on the program before I clicked the purchase button.  They were ready, and we ordered.

We weren't all the way through lesson one before they started to rebel.  "No!  I don't want my character to be a kid!" "No!  I don't like this exercise."   There was moaning and eye-rolling. 

Oh boy.  I said a few things to try to make it better but of course only made it worse.  So I bit my tongue and we went on with our day.  As usual, I seethed and wondered how much I could sell the stuff for.  I was done already too. 

After a while we talked about it and decided that maybe it could still be good, and useful, and fun... but maybe, just maybe we didn't have to do everything exactly as the instructor said to.  Hmmm... still dubious.   But, I can't junk an entire (costly) program just because lesson one didn't click, right?

Today things looked better.  Ideas started to bubble.  We're on track to go on to lesson two tomorrow.

Still, it's frustrating.  Why do my kids have to have their own ideas, always?  Why can't they just follow the program the way it's written?  Why do they always have to think outside the curriculum box?

Oh wait.

I guess I trained them to do that.  Their dad did too.  From the day we decided not to send them to school at age 5, we've been doing things our own way.    We've modified curriculum, or skipped it altogether.   We've followed a nontraditional path with more than homeschooling: my kids saw their dad walk away from a 20-year career to go back to school to start a new one.   They've followed me (sometimes kicking and screaming) as I've gone from classical methods to Charlotte Mason to unschooling to school-at-home and back again.   (Just kidding on that last one.  We've never really done school at home.) 

It's my fault!  

So now I guess it's time to panic that they won't ever be able to manage in a classroom situation where there is no veering from the curriculum.   Right?  

Except... they did fine in that writing class last year. And the speech class the year before that.  And the art class they've taken for the past three years.  They didn't love every minute of every class.  Even in art!  They didn't enjoy every project.  But they understood the purpose of each class, and they did it.  They didn't complain and refuse to do work in the way the instructor told them to do it.  

So maybe, just maybe, they are learning when they can change things up, and when they can't.  I'm guessing by the time they start college classes (assuming they do), they'll have that figured out pretty well.  Reading about unschoolers going to college pretty much confirms that at least some kids can do that.   So maybe mine can too. 

So tomorrow we'll move on in OYAN and see what happens.   You can see the program by clicking the photo at the top, or by clicking here.  I'd love to hear from some families who are using it!


Susan Priolo said...

Ha-haa, you only have yourself to blame. :)

I hear you. We've said the same thing to ourselves over the last few years.

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