Have you ever switched to a new homeschool curriculum after learning that your friends are using it? Have you ever made a curriculum switch because you’ve stumbled across a new one that’s legitimately good even though your current curriculum is serving you well? If either of these scenarios sound familiar, you’ve probably met the green-eyed homeschool curriculum monster.
The term green-eyed monster first appeared in Shakespeare’s Othello. It’s been popular phrase referencing envy or jealousy ever since then, but it’s not typically one that comes up when discussing homeschool curriculum. Until now, that is.
Defeating the Green-Eyed
Homeschool Curriculum Monster
The truth of it is that discussions about homeschool curriculum can indeed cause discontent and jealously. It sounds absurd, but I’ve made my share of curriculum mistakes throughout the years and most of them were because of the green-eyed monster. Have you been there?
How the Monster Sneaks In
We all would prefer to think that we’d never allow such a nasty thing to happen, but the green-eyed, gotta-have-it-all curriculum monster will work his way into your thought process before you know it. Here are a few ways I’ve noticed.
- The mail – The curriculum monster loves to sneak in when your favorite publishers or homeschool retailers publish their new catalogs.
- The future – He sneaks in when you buy new curriculum because “you might need it one day.”
- Conversations with friends – He also shows up when you’re talking to other homeschool parents. One minute you’re discussing what’s happening in your homeschools and before you know it, he has you second-guessing your tried and true homeschool resources.
- Social media – It can be encouraging to see glimpses of other families in the middle of their homeschool days, but it can also open the door for the green-eyed curriculum monster.
- No longer a newbie – The monster is more likely to show up after you’ve been homeschooling for a couple of years. So many of us are in survival mode when we start that we don’t allow room for the monster to move in until we’re a little more bold and a little more curious about what things might be like if we did it this way or that way.
Now that you know how the monster sneaks in, let’s look at why you can’t allow him to stay.
The Problem with the Monster
The green-eyed homeschool curriculum monster might sneak his way in, but you’ve got to send him packing. He brings out the worst in homeschool parents because he encourages envy and discontent.
And, when you let envy, discontent, or even restlessness take root, you’re not likely to consider curriculum purchases carefully. Instead, you’re likely to purchase homeschool materials with a grass is always greener mentality. Like with anything in life, the grass is greener where it’s watered.
It’s not necessarily because the curriculum is better or because your friends have a bigger homeschool budget. In homeschool speak, successful homeschooling comes from nurturing the process.
The curriculum monster doesn’t just bring envy and discontent with him, he also brings inconsistency. He doesn’t want you to know what inconsistency can do to a homeschool family.
He doesn’t want you to realize that switching from curriculum to curriculum to curriculum doesn’t allow any of it time to work. That monster wants you to think the language arts program isn’t working because it’s a bad choice, but he wants you to ignore how the program builds little by little and that progress is evident over time.
Also worth noting, it’s expensive to host the green-eyed curriculum monster. A constant state of gotta-have-it adds up quickly and blows your homeschool budget out of the water, which means you’re often dipping into the household budget.
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Put all of those things together and you can easily see how hosting the monster damages your homeschool. A grass is always greener, consumerism-driven mentality isn’t healthy for homeschool parents and it sets a horrible example for children.
Defeating the Green-Eyed
Homeschool Curriculum Monster
We know how the curriculum monster sneaks in, but we also know that envy and discontent have no place at our homeschool tables. So how do you send the monster packing or keep him from visiting your homeschool in the first place? Here are the three things to consider:
Embrace the grace period
Start by considering grace periods for your homeschool resources. A new curriculum may not be an overnight success. It may take weeks or even months to adjust to new lesson structures, terminology, and workload.
If there’s no grace period, you may confuse the transition for a bad purchase altogether and move along to yet another curriculum two months later. Give your curriculum a trial window and stick to it before purchasing something else.
Skip the trouble spots … for now
If your kids are having a tough time with a subject, see if you can skip a chapter or two and come back to it later. It doesn’t always work, but it can help avoid new purchases when the curriculum itself isn’t the problem. After all, is it really worth losing sleep if your fourth grader can’t successfully label a plant cell diagram? Eh, not really.
For those times when you can’t skip it, remember there are lots of ways to power through when the curriculum doesn’t seem to be working.
Know what warrants a curriculum change
All it takes is some perspective to be content with the curriculum you have. It’s one thing if you or your kids are miserable using it, but it’s another if you find yourself tempted to change simply because everyone else uses a different resource or because other options exist.
Here’s what I’ve learned the hard way about homeschool curriculum: popularity doesn’t guarantee success.
For example, a science curriculum that’s voted number one year after year among homeschool families was a horrible match for us. I wasn’t unhappy with the curriculum we were using, but I switched because of good advertising and Instagram photos that showcased the program’s merits.
I let the curriculum monster tell me that our experience would be even better if only we could use the curriculum they were all using. I made the unneeded purchase and we made the switch. Four chapters later, I realized my mistake.
It may have been shiny, new, and fantastic for other families, but it was a horrible choice for us. I learned that hard way that buying something because it exists and keeping up with the Joneses are both terrible reasons for changing curriculum. For sure, knowing what actually warrants a curriculum change is the best way to defeat the green-eyed curriculum monster.