I used to think if my child was crying, whining or generally complaining every time I pulled something out to work on that it meant something was wrong with the curriculum. I dumped and bought countless curriculum and programs because of it. Now I know that isn't one of the signs, at least not here at our homeschool.
I know something isn't working when there is 1) no retention, 2) no progress/child is beyond the material or, 3) no ability to grasp the assignment because the material is beyond the child. At our house crying or being bored with something doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile or not working. My 14 yo constantly complains about doing history because it isn't his thing, not because the 1 million programs I have presented to him aren't interesting. So, history isn't his thing, too bad, history is required at our school. I know the program we use is engrossing, thorough and varied enough to be engaging for most students. Now, science, that is his passion and he devours 200 page books in a 12-24 hour period. Books that I can't get past the first paragraph because, science isn't my penchant.
My 7 year old hates The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, but it WORKS. He is learning to read. He may not fancy the curriculum, but he wants to read. The book has no pictures so it isn't visually appealing to him and it is repetitive in some ways, but it WORKS. I don't discard it because he complains. If he wasn't learning to read or never remembered anything we did on previous days, then I would toss it. He knows that he can read all the easy reader books he chooses at the library because the OPGTR has taught him to read with my guidance. When he gripes I remind him that in order to read all the things he wants to read that he must go through the reading lessons, and then he lets out a big sigh, rolls his eyes and says, "OK, let's do it." When we finish the OPGTR we will have a little celebration! He has that to look forward to.
I know my view may be a minority in the homeschool world because a lot of hs moms get rid of stuff that brings their kids to tears or because it isn't "fun." In my view, it doesn't always have to be fun and there are some kids who just flat out aren't passionate about learning and will never be pleased with anything other than non-school activities. I am not against fun and we have plenty of it, but I am an advocate of "sometimes in life we have to do stuff we don't like so later we can do the stuff we do like." I believe it is preparation for life and someday when my children come face to face with an experience they don't like, perhaps in their career, they will know they just have to plug on through and can't just quit. They could eventually quit when they find something more to their liking or when they complete something they committed to, however there is a lot to be said for being loyal, consistent and having a good attittude.
My approach this last year or so has saved me oodles of money because I am no longer "curriculum hopping." I hope I am not misunderstood. Changing a curriculum that truly isn't working isn't "curriculum hopping" but replacing curriculum every time a child complains may be. It may not be the curriculum that needs adjusting, it could be the child's attitude or behavior that needs to change. Changing because I don't care for it or because I am unwilling to discipline myself to teach it may not be setting the example I want to set. I had to get that perspective before I kept going down the road of buying and selling school books.
Of course there are situations where we have researched programs by asking lots of questions, looked at samples, asked about other's experience with it etc., and then we get it and it isn't what we thought it was. That's a different scenario. That still happens to me once in a while. Or, I change my mind about using something before we have purchased it, that has happened countless times, but I am not out any money in that instance and my child isn't affected.
Bottom line, the beauty of homeschooling is that we have choices. We know what is best for our families and we can decide accordingly.