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Is Finishing the Book Important for Homeschoolers?

Many "accredited" programs will say that you only have to finish 3/4 of a textbook to say you finished a course.  I know there were times when my kids were in public school that they didn't even finish that much!  I'm sure you've noticed that for many textbooks, the first chapter (or two or three!) is simply review.  If you absolutely can't finish a book, or if you decide it's not worth the hassle, then I wouldn't worry about it.  Parents need a summer break more than the kids, and if you need a break before the book is done, then just take the break!

On the other hand (sometimes my kids wonder how many hands I actually have, because I say that so often!)  isn't our goal LEARNING?  Maybe teaching isn't where it's at, maybe LEARNING is the important thing.  I wanted my kids to learn the whole content of a course, not just finish a prescribed amount of the book.  We worked to finish all our textbooks (when we used textbooks) in order to squeeze every last drop of learning out of it.

Either approach is just fine.  You know what is right for your family.



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Comments 5

Guest - Lee (website) on Saturday, 19 July 2008 06:21

Wow, Joelle! That sounds like what I was talking about in my "What IF? Homeschool High School Without Fear" article! Here is the link:
http://www.thehomescholar.com/article_archive/2008_06_whatif.php
Blessings,
Lee

Wow, Joelle! That sounds like what I was talking about in my "What IF? Homeschool High School Without Fear" article! Here is the link: http://www.thehomescholar.com/article_archive/2008_06_whatif.php Blessings, Lee
Guest - J W on Saturday, 19 July 2008 06:10

I made up a curriculum that was "supposed to" take 2 years. Our first year, we got a good bit accomplished - Creation to the Maccabean revolt. It wasn't as far as I wanted, but we'd had a good bit of depth. Our second year we had a really tough time with school due to some family issues that came up, so we only got as far as the fall of the Roman Empire. HOWEVER - all was not lost. I was able to find a ton of National Geographic and other videos at the library which covered the history we had been studying and the history we were currently studying. Also, since we were kinda stuck in the Roman Empire all year, it was still fresh in my child's mind when I took her to a travelling exhibit of Roman art in late spring. Science? David Attenborough, Bill Nye and Jeff Corwin did a lot of my teaching. Math? Catch as catch can and hang the review. Language Arts? Self-paced writing course. I don't recommend doing what we did (except the self-paced writing course was awesome), but if there's situations which impact your teaching, it's a lot better than a poke in the eye. Oh, and the standardized test scores were quite excellent, thank you. In fact, they were the best ever. I still don't recommend what we did, though!!!

I made up a curriculum that was "supposed to" take 2 years. Our first year, we got a good bit accomplished - Creation to the Maccabean revolt. It wasn't as far as I wanted, but we'd had a good bit of depth. Our second year we had a really tough time with school due to some family issues that came up, so we only got as far as the fall of the Roman Empire. HOWEVER - all was not lost. I was able to find a ton of National Geographic and other videos at the library which covered the history we had been studying and the history we were currently studying. Also, since we were kinda stuck in the Roman Empire all year, it was still fresh in my child's mind when I took her to a travelling exhibit of Roman art in late spring. Science? David Attenborough, Bill Nye and Jeff Corwin did a lot of my teaching. Math? Catch as catch can and hang the review. Language Arts? Self-paced writing course. I don't recommend doing what we did (except the self-paced writing course was awesome), but if there's situations which impact your teaching, it's a lot better than a poke in the eye. Oh, and the standardized test scores were quite excellent, thank you. In fact, they were the best ever. I still don't recommend what we did, though!!!
Guest - Vicki on Thursday, 17 July 2008 19:10

On the few occasions we used textbooks, if we didn't finish the text during 'the school year', we just picked up where we left of at the beginnig of the next year. It took both my teens two years to complete one math textbook - not a problem in our home.

On the few occasions we used textbooks, if we didn't finish the text during 'the school year', we just picked up where we left of at the beginnig of the next year. It took both my teens two years to complete one math textbook - not a problem in our home.
Guest - Lee (website) on Thursday, 17 July 2008 07:09

Dear Christy,
If families prioritize learning, then you can't go wrong. And sometimes learning DOES mean taking a break from a textbook. I know that for me, during summers, I *really* needed to take a break from my "teacher" duties. Thanks for sharing!
Blessings,
Lee

Dear Christy, If families prioritize learning, then you can't go wrong. And sometimes learning DOES mean taking a break from a textbook. I know that for me, during summers, I *really* needed to take a break from my "teacher" duties. Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Lee
Guest - Christy (website) on Thursday, 17 July 2008 06:57

We are about to enter our 9th(!) year of home schooling. In that time, we've only "finished" a handful of texts. I used to feel like such a loser over that. But this last year, I realized just what you are saying, we needed a break. And it was OK. For me the larger part of learning, isn't just giving them all these facts, it's knowing for themselves how to find facts when they need them.

We are about to enter our 9th(!) year of home schooling. In that time, we've only "finished" a handful of texts. I used to feel like such a loser over that. But this last year, I realized just what you are saying, we needed a break. And it was OK. For me the larger part of learning, isn't just giving them all these facts, it's knowing for themselves how to find facts when they need them.
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