What happens when my teaching style becomes incompatible with my sons' learning styles?
Lately I've been having trouble with school because I have no plan. I've been using a unit study curriculum for everything except math and language arts. For those of you unfamiliar with unit studies, basically you take a topic and you explore it from every possible angle: history, art, geography, science, music, etc. Once you've worn a topic to death, you move on. I thought this would be a great approach because then both boys could learn together. A regular curriculum would have me teaching all subjects separately by grade level, and I just don't have the time for that.
The problem is that I sit down in the morning with no idea what to teach. I just have this vague list of things, and a few activities, but no set plan. It's not that the unit studies don't come with one, I just can't seem to get organized enough to follow it. It takes too much planning on my part. I liked the pre-planned curriculum that told me exactly what to do each day.
But the boys thrive on the freedom of the unit study. The structure of a boxed curriculum was too tiring for them. And after all, I'm doing this for them, not me. But it's driving me crazy. The worst part of it for me is that the curriculum recommends this whole list of books, and our library doesn't even have a third of them. How can I follow the curriculum with no books? It would take so much time and effort to get them sent from other libraries, and I just don't have that kind of time or energy.
I really want to go back to the boxed curriculum with set lessons for every day and all the information right there, instead of bi-weekly trips to the library that turn up nothing I can use anyway. But I don't want the boys to become completely antagonistic towards school either. I actually heard my 10 year old say "I hate school" the other day. Boy, that really makes me want to continue the daily battles around here.
I know there's an answer here, I just can't see the forest for the trees. Too much structure, enough that I'm happy, and the boys shut down. Too little structure, and I can't get organized enough on my own to effectively teach anything. There's got to be a solution.