Here we are in May. It’s time to evaluate how your homeschool year went.
Is it just me, or does it seem the school year flew right by?
How did the year go? Now that you’re hopefully through the annual homeschool mom meltdown (it happens to me every year like clockwork), it is time to evaluate how things went. It is important to make these evaluations while you aren’t in the heat of the winter blues and cabin fever.
When your kids are bouncing off the walls, not paying attention to their schoolwork, and you’re looking longingly at the big yellow bus as it drives by, DO NOT evaluate your homeschool year. This is not the time for it. Evaluate after the crisis is over. Do it when you can think without becoming overly emotional because you’re in the heat of the situation.
Once it’s calm and you can do so, think about what worked and what didn’t. It’s fine to ask your kids and spouse what their highs and lows for the year were too. They may bring up things that you haven’t thought of. Don’t deliberate or debate, just ask opinions and move on.
Take a quiet time if you can and grab a pen and paper. Brainstorm some of these:
1. What projects were a complete bust?
Is there a way to prevent this from happening next year? Did you take on unreasonably large projects? I remember when lapbooking first became a thing, and I was determined to lapbook with my kids. I loved scrapbooking so I thought it was going to be “fun” for them. Fun for my boys with fine motor, attention, and other special needs? Not exactly. I quickly learned that lapbooking and notebooking are not a good fit for us. I’m still a wanna-be notebooker, but they just don’t learn that way. Don’t turn school work into torture for yourself OR your kids.
2. Were your teaching methods effective?
It’s important to line up your methods with your child’s learning style. If your methods and her styles are completely different, what compromises can you come up with that will help her to learn easier (and you to teach her more effectively) next year? I am a visual learner (and therefore I teach this way) but my son is very much kinesthetic– hand’s on– so I need to adjust some of my methods to fit his learning style.
3. Was your child bored, challenged, or overwhelmed?
Workload changes and schedule tweaks need to be considered. You may discover he’s capable of much more than you thought he was, or that he’s simply swamped. If your curriculum (which is just a TOOL Momma, it is NOT the end-all of your homeschooling!) is too rigorous, or not challenging enough, now is the time to decide on adjustments.
4. Did your schedule allow your child ample time to complete the work you planned?
Look seriously at your activity schedule. It is okay to say no to most outside activities, even if it means they don’t have a field trip twice a month if it gives all of you space to breathe and not feel like you’re always rushed or behind.
5. Did you stick to the plan?
When you remember that curriculum is just a tool, you can plan accordingly. What did you want to cover this year? If, for example, you planned to cover the Middle Ages in history but the pricey curriculum you bought didn’t quite work out, did you tweak it to make it work, ditch it and lose your way completely, or did you follow through on studying the Middle Ages but with something else that fit your family better?
Having a plan is essential to following through and keeping your destination in mind when changing curriculum. When you know what you want to cover, how to cover it becomes the easy part. Make a plan for next year and give yourself options regarding how you’ll cover the material. If one avenue doesn’t pan out, you can shift to the next without losing direction.
6. Is the new school year bringing with it new requirements?
You should know what your state homeschool laws expect you to teach and be prepared to cover those subjects. Middle and high school especially bring with them new expectations. Find out what those are and start planning for them with your child. Involve him as much as you can. He’s the one who will need to take the courses.
Several years ago I created a High School Credit Worksheet for my daughter.
I wanted to know where she was at with her credits and what she still needed to cover for graduation. I have tweaked that worksheet and have continued to use it with both of my sons. It has been a tremendous help in keeping us on track and knowing what still needs to be filled in or what is finished.
I’d love to share this with you, so if you want it, just pop your email address in the little box here and I’ll send it straight to you!
You’ll get a PDF and an editable Word format file so that you can change it to fit your state graduation requirements.