Thursday, April 14, 2011

Enough About That Curriculum Already!

At every homeschool forum I'm on now or have been on in the past, there's always been at least one curriculum that I just get tired of reading about. It's not the same one mentioned at every board. In fact, it seems to be a different one at each board. However, the process is always similar. Someone mentions that they use a certain curriculum. Then, other people who use it come forth to discuss it. Then, there's a wave of people asking questions about it, considering using it. Then, it seems that most threads started about curriculum are about THAT curriculum. As if the massive number of threads about that curriculum aren't enough, it seems to also be mentioned in almost all other curriculum threads. It's like the curriculum is stalking me & I can't get away! I can't even avoid reading about it by avoiding the threads that are specifically about it, because it is mentioned in so many other threads I might want to read.

Of course, it is never a curriculum that I like, use, or am interested in. If it was, I wouldn't be so irritated by it. It's always some curriculum that you couldn't pay me to use. Most of the time, my issue is that it is so religious - to the point of being impossible to secularize because there would be so little left if you were to omit all religious content.

The most recent one, however, is worse than that. I think it's easier for me to understand why someone would use a curriculum that I see so many problems with, if it is a religious choice. When my issues with the curriculum aren't its religious slant, but what I see as lack of academic rigor & challenge, it's much more difficult to understand why anyone would use it. When you add that I find the educational philosophy behind it flawed, and find the price ridiculously high, it is simply not possible for me to understand why anyone would use it.

This lack of understanding is a big part of why I get so irritated by the constant posts about it. I have this need to understand, but there is nothing that will make me understand why people use this curriculum. Because I'm trying to understand, I end up reading more of the posts about it then I really want to, trying to find some comment that will cause that AH-HA moment.

Of course, since I have never used this curriculum, I say nothing about it. I do not voice my opinion. I do not ask "why would you waste your money on something like that?" I know that I would simply be told that you have to use it to see how great it is. I can tell (from samples, articles on the site, even some of the work people have mentioned doing for it) that it would not work for us. I refuse to waste money on a curriculum that I know beforehand won't work for us. I refuse to waste even part of a year using something that offers so little. If I thought there was even a possibility of it working and it was inexpensive enough to buy it & all the stuff I would normally get, so we could supplement (and replace it when it turned out that it didn't work), I would at least consider it. However, there is simply no way I will spend a ridiculous amount of money on something that I know won't work, that doesn't have enough coverage of the subjects it includes, and leaves out so many other subjects that are part of our schooling, just so that I can argue against it or possibly gain insight into what others see in it.

I'm currently so sick of this particular curriculum that I get irritated & frustrated just by seeing the name (or the initials it so often goes by) of the curriculum. There is part of me that wants to email the publisher and tell them that I am apalled by their educational philosophy, the insanely high price, and the lack of rigor & challenge that is so apparent in the samples they provide. I know it won't really do any good, though, which is why I haven't done it.

Now, I've always seen things in a different way. So, it has never really been a surprise that I have a different opinion of some of the more popular curricula. For the most part, I've written it off as differences in homeschool methods, preferred teaching styles, learning styles, even differences in priorities. Does that explain it, though? Do different priorities, learning styles, and methods explain why some people use this curriculum & think it's great and completely worth the money, and yet I look at it and see the exact opposite?