We’re at the point in the school year where homeschool moms start discussing the relative benefits of finishing the textbooks kids are using. Is it actually that big of a deal if we finish them or not? Actually, yes it is.
Why You Should Finish the Textbook
People argue against finishing the textbook because that public school rarely finish. Besides, there is enough review built into the new school year. Kids won’t actually miss anything essential.
Public School Rarely Finish
Let’s look at the first of these arguments, public schools rarely do finish the textbook. Really? Just because they do skip the last few chapters, it’s okay for everyone else?
So if they start jumping off cliffs, you’re going to as well? I didn’t think so.
Public schools run into the hard deadline of summer. What is finished is finished, what is not is not. There are not many options for the public school once the end of the school year is here. Kids change schools, move to a different city or state. The other kids end up with different teachers the next year.
What is a teacher to do, hand the third grade textbooks over to the fourth grade teachers? What are this year’s third graders going to use?
Homeschooling isn’t public schooling. I believe homeschooling is closer to tutoring than public school teaching. We’re sitting down with one or two children and moving at their pace.
Part of tutoring is having the option to finish the textbooks. We have the option to do what is in the best interest of each individual child, not what’s needed for the class or school.
You must decide whether to finish the textbook based on what’s in your child’s best interest, not what the public schools do.
The Review Is Enough
Others argue the review at the beginning of the new school year is enough. After all, most curricula quickly review the previous year’s material before introducing the new information. Because of this quick review, kids can safely skip the end of the textbooks.
In my experience, this is simply not true. The quick review is enough to bring a child who already knows the material back up to speed but is not enough to teach it. Children need more time with the topic to fully absorb the information.
There are also topics, in every textbook I personally know of, that are left to the end of the text and are only covered in the last few lessons of the textbook. Year after year these topics are left to the end. If you skip the last lessons every year, the kids never learn these topics.
Saxon Math, known for it’s spiral review, usually leaves probability and chance to the end of the textbooks. Probability and chance are not touched or reviewed in the beginning of the books. If you never finish a Saxon textbook, there’s a good chance your child will not be exposed to probability.
Also the Rod and Staff English textbooks have the topics lined up in a similar order in throughout the textbooks. The first chapters deal with sentences, then nouns, verbs, and so on. The last chapters cover prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, capitalization, punctuation, and reference books.Skipping parts of textbooks, creates kids who know the definition of a noun but have no idea what's a preposition.Click To Tweet
Basically, the review that is spiraled into the beginning of the year is not enough to make up for skipping large sections of the previous textbook. Eventually it catches up to you and you have to go back, way back, to build the needed foundation for advanced work.
You lose much more time going back to learn this information than simply finishing the textbook each year.
This is not to say you HAVE to finish each and every textbook your kids use. You do need to go through the textbook, look at the information being skipped, and decide what’s in your child’s best interest.
Do you finish the textbooks every year?