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Monday, January 26, 2009

Whatever Works

Bob complains to Joe, "I'm switching to BlogPad XanPress because I'm so fed up with eJournal 404."

"Whatever works," Joe replies with a shrug.

"Whatever works."

What an interesting phrase. Who would, in response to someone's cry for vindication in their choice to change, say, "Eh, stick with what doesn't work"?

No one. At least, no one without ulterior motives.

So, yes, as a reasonable person, I suggest you do "whatever works" for you and your family--especially in the homeschool arena (since this is a homeschool blog and all <smile>). The only caveat I would include would be to make sure you have a good idea of what it means for something to "work" before you pitch it for something else.

One of the good ways to decide if what you are doing is working or not is to set some goals. If you're not hitting those goals, it's likely time for a change.

But there are also pitfalls to pitching things that "don't work." I read a great story about answered prayer today which is very encouraging. It's great when prayer "works," yes?

But what happens when prayer "doesn't work"? We get dejected, disappointed, angry, and perhaps give up on that for something else. After all, we should stick with whatever works, right? Who would fault me for giving up on God after He let me down? Who could tell me, "No, Luke, stick with what's not working"?

Sometimes what appears to be not working still is. The analogy that just popped into my head is my alarm clock. It still works even though it is silent all but ten seconds of the day. It's doing something in the background, even if I have no idea what that is and it does nothing to help me now.

And so, as you consider your homeschooling options, and the extra-curricular opportunities you may have, be careful that you don't stop something that doesn't appear to be working when it actually is.

Because who would want you to stop something that's working?

Not me.

And probably not Bob or Joe either.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father


mary grace said...

This is one of my personal homeschooling soapboxes, so forgive me if I rant.

Sometimes, the freedom of homeschooling is our own worst enemy. In the midst of our excitement over discovering a new resource available to us, we fail to consider whether the curriculum/program/extracurricular that we're already knee-deep in actually *working*. It's no longer the newest, the hottest or the one in vogue. It's not the one that the moms in our support group are crowing over. It's old hat. And that's just ... not good enough, right?

I maintain that switching programs willy nilly (this doesn't apply to those situations where a change is necessary) is damaging to our children and fails to provide the continuity that growing minds need to make connection in the larger world. Plenty of folks disagree with me on this one, but I reserve the right to be a homeschooling throwback who says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Lisa said...

As you know SL didn't work for us at the beginning and after a little 'hint' to look at the why we swopped Core and hey now its great. 'You' really need to find what works for 'your' children with hs'ing and sometimes its really hard to get it right, but once you do its best to leave well alone!

Don't you sometimes wish that alarm clock didn't work so well though :o)


Kim & Dave said...

Yeah....I agree, MG. I have kept the curriculum the same since the begining!

Anonymous said...

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Unknown said...

I needed this today--thank you!

And for me, it didn't apply to hsing at all

Joyce Howerton said...

I am a person who wanted to pick my curriculum and stick with it...I enjoy consistancy...I hate change, BUT, what we do is not working. I was introduced to Sonlight by a friend and plan on making the switch next year even though my oldest will be in 5th grade. I am looking forward to buying the books and bringing them all back to Romania with me :) Too bad the new weigh limit on bags is only 50 pounds!!
I received the stuff I am using this year pretty much for free so I took it but when it comes to homeschooling, cheapest isn't always best!

Luke Holzmann said...

Mary Grace, you are free to rant if you like, especially when you are right (or, at least, agree with me <laughing>).

Lisa, I am so glad you were able to find what did work for your family in Sonlight. And, yes, some mornings a functioning alarm clock isn't exactly welcome <smile>.

Kim, keep with what's working. That's great!

Cherish, that is a very good point. Sometimes you do have to work with what is "least bad" <smile>. Hopefully, with all the amazing options and opportunities out there we can find a "best fit" for our families.

Jessica, you are most welcome. Thanks for letting me know it was helpful. It makes my day to know that what I write is sometimes beneficial to others. <grin> Yay!

Joyce, "...when it comes to homeschooling, cheapest isn't always best!" My bias insists that I agree with you <smile>. And, yes, you are absolutely right. May Sonlight be a perfect fit for you and your family... especially since you'll be dealing with the weight of all those books during international travel.

Thank you all for stopping by to comment. I appreciate every one.


Heather the Mama Duk said...

I think we have a tendency to get distracted by the shiny, new stuff. Especially in February.

As an extension to "Whatever works" a nice reminder to other people is that if it works for me it doesn't mean that I think what is working for you is wrong. If it works for you, that's great. We're all different so obviously what works for one may not work for another.

Luke Holzmann said...

"We're all different so obviously what works for one may not work for another." Great point, Heather! I agree completely. Though I still think everyone should at least consider Sonlight <smile>.



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Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester
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