I’ve given you the meat of what you need to know why a particular curriculum “works” or not. If it speaks to your front seat processes, you’re good. If it doesn’t, now you have words for what needs to be different. So, let’s fool around with how you can (and can’t) fix something that “doesn’t work” for you just yet.
My friend is teaching her youngest to read. It’s her first time homeschooling. She’s got Si and Fe in her front seat.
Si wants tried-and-true lessons, a recipe that works every time, and gets the child to participate without conflict.
She started out using 100EZ Lessons. That was GREAT for her Si. Every word was scripted. Just do what was on the page. But somewhere between Lesson 10 and 20 (any of you who have used this program know what’s about to kick her in the tail) you have to MAKE most kids do it. The lessons stop being EASY pretty quickly. Her child started moaning and resisting. Unfortunately, 100EZ is one of the few curricula that is inflexible. We couldn’t see how to avoid the “do this now” aspect of it.
Recipe for Reading came next. Has “recipe” in the title, right? Only problem is, it’s a dyslexia program, so the first gillion pages are research and theory and adaptation. Not in her wheelhouse. But, she has a nerdy friend who will just copy the five pages she needs, type her up some step-by-step instructions, and show her how to make her first few sets of flashcards. If the child starts hating any particular part of the lessons, her friend has a bunch of tricks and alternatives in her deep pocket there’s no need to switch programs. Super flexible.
A parent with these guys in the front seat is going to need a combination of stability and flexibility. She needs a reliable recipe, but she also has to be able to vary ingredients that her child hates.
Let’s pretend my husband was using 100EZ. He’s Se and Fi.
Se wants multi-sensory lessons that he can adapt in the moment.
Fi wants to do what is right for the individual child, with or without the child’s agreement.
Can you see it already? He’s going to rock at the “do this now” part, but that book is SO BORING LOOKING. It’s black and white. He is going to lose his mind! He needs VARIETY! Color, music, movement! Incidentally, one of my children shares his personality type. I caught her trying to color all of the pages so it wouldn’t be so torturous.
What you can and can’t fix
There are things you can add to fix a curriculum. I go construct my own life, universe, and everything future plan if the manual doesn’t give it to me. I go find pacing guides on the internet.
There are things you can subtract. My friend can do Recipe for Reading since someone gave her a shortcut around N/T blabber. I regularly ignore “let’s all have fun together” intro and review exercises and ice-breakers.
But if a curriculum hinges on a method that directly offends your front seat processes or isn’t anywhere in your car at all, you’re sunk.
I must have the big picture. MUST! If I’m in a system that won’t give it to me? “Just make some progress, you’ll be fine. Do the lessons.” How many? How often? What if I don’t, how do I catch up? “Don’t worry about that. This has worked for 1000 children.” I will go MAD. A system that relies entirely on Si? Or heaven forbid that, plus fun activities that engage the child that have no objectively measurable outcomes (Fe)? Send me to the funny farm now. Not only do I not like it; I CAN’T PROCESS it. CANNOT. Not just “won’t”…CAN’T. It’s Chinese. I make BAD decisions. Stupid decisions.
Now let’s throw you a loop…
We can agree that 100EZ is, unless you just have an unusually cooperative child or creative mind, a heavy Fi book. It’s like giving yucky medicine. I’m Ni and Te in the front seat. I have Fi in the back seat. So technically, I’m capable of using it, right? It’s not my front-seat process, but I can do it. It just WEARS ME OUT. So, even if a curriculum doesn’t cuss at my front seat processes, if it HEAVILY RELIES on something in my back seat, I find it “do-able, but EXHAUSTING.”
That’s the next layer of this. I’m going to do that for you next post…tired, but not impossible.