So, this post may not win me any popularity contests among certain types of homeschoolers, but I just feel the need to express my opinion. (Like, when don't I want to voice my opinion?) Please note, I know this is my opinion and it is based on my limited experience and the standards I set in my homeschool as well as the type of homeschooler I am.
On a particular Yahoo Group I read there is a lot of talk about whether or not Apologia General Science can be skipped and just go straight in to Physical Science. The question was posed by a mom who until this point had been using the Apologia Elementary series. The elementary series is directed at kids still in the Grammar stage, they are by a different author and the books are a different approach to learning.
I don't know why, but some homeschool moms make my head spin. I know we all have different and equally valid reasons for homeschooling so keep in my mind my opinion has everything to do with why I am homeschooling and may not have anything to do at all with why others are homeschooling. Several of the responses were along the lines of, "Yeah, skip it, it's no big deal." "Everything covered in GS was covered in the elementary books." One response was, "Hands down, it's a no-brainer, just skip it." Really? My initial reaction is, "UGGGGHHHHH!!!!" The reasons for skipping were mainly because Johnny and Jane are geniuses who didn't need it or they started it but absolutely despised the first module so they just dumped it. First, I don't mean any disrespect to real geniuses, but there seems to be quite a plethora of them among homeschoolers and I have met some of them. The supposed geniuses, I mean. I think we have a lot of homeschooling parents in denial. We all want to believe our kid is the special one and we tend to focus on what they are good at while ignoring what they aren't good at (or what we don't like or aren't good at). I think we are doing a huge disservice to them in the name of letting them pursue their passions, aka what they are good at. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with pursuing passions, but I need to pursue a well rounded education for my children while I am at it. I am not trying to avoid gaps, those are a given, but I do want them exposed to a variety of topics.
I shudder when I think about the things kids are learning about life when something that is just "too hard" is allowed to be dumped in favor of something "easier." Pardon me, but isn't one of the benefits of homeschooling that we don't have to rush through something, that we can take the time to learn, master and dig deeper? Academics and Faith are the two predominant reasons I homeschool, so I am appalled when I see homeschoolers poo-pooing academics and not encouraging their kids to press on through something difficult. Crying may get someone a needed mental break, but it won't get anyone out of an assignment or subject here at my house. Call me a Dictator or Attila the Hun, but that's just how I roll.
Just kidding folks- I allow talking, laughing, smiling and fun.
I believe that Apologia has General Science in the line up because they believe it is important and should be covered. It is preparation for the courses that come behind it. Perhaps there are many kids who could skip it, but I think they are probably the exception, not the rule. Those students that struggle with math but also intend to go to college, should take General Science while getting math skills up to par in order to handle Physical Science, Chemistry and Physics. Making purposeful academic decisions based on the needs of the student and their goals is one thing, but having an attitude of complacency and shurgging off things that are too hard or make the kids cry is quite another.
Allowing my children to quit, skip or dismiss anything they aren't interested in, find too hard or just don't want to do for one reason or another sets a bad precedent in their life. Life will bring us things we have to deal with and my children will need to learn to press through. Of course I don't think this applies to that line that non-homeschoolers love to throw out there about bullies - you know - life is full of bullies and your kid needs to learn how to deal - no - not the same thing. A bully can scar a kid for life, a science course, not so much.
Like the Soap Opera Digest lady says, hey, it's only my opinion!