Are You Re-Evaluating Your Homeschool Year?
With the second half of the school year upon us, many families take this time to check in with their children to see how things are faring. And when you’ve been homeschooling for a few years, you have a pretty good idea of what works for your family and what you can do without. But if you’re starting to sense that enthusiasm is starting to wane or smiles are starting to perform disappearing acts, it may be time to take a step back and re-examine some, if not all, aspects of your homeschool. And even if everything is peachy-keen and you live by the motto “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, it’s always a good idea to re-evaluate your homeschool to see if there is room for improvement.
First, start off by having an open discussion with the entire family to get their general thoughts on how everything is going. Find out what their likes and dislikes are, and what they would like to change. Make sure to ask open-ended questions to really allow everyone to be honest and detailed in their answer. This will give you a good idea of what, if anything, may need to be tweaked.
Otherwise, you can consider the areas below to determine if any adjustments need to be made.
- Schedule – Are your children thriving and doing their best work with your current learning hours? Changing up your schedule can include everything from working in the afternoon instead of the morning, or even change the order and/or days you teach certain subjects. For example, rather than doing social studies twice a week, your students might be more receptive and retain more information if you added an extra day or two.
- Curriculum – Luckily, as a homeschooler, you can make a curriculum switch any time, unlike students in traditional schools who use the same curriculum for the entire year. If you have more than one child, remember that one program may not work for all of them. Also, keep in mind that one curriculum may work best with one subject but not another. Perhaps learning math is more effective using an online program, while reading and writing work best on a workbook or textbook.
- Learning Area – Some students are most productive when they have a designated area for learning complete with a laptop, supplies, and a comfy chair and desk. Others, however, prefer to learn on the couch, outside on a lounge chair, or right on the dining room table. Every student has their unique preferences, and as long as they are learning in a zone free of distractions, there’s no need for concern. But if you start to notice that your child’s concentration is focused elsewhere, like what’s going on outside the front window or the pile of mail across the table, then it may be time to find some new real estate.
- Progress – Progress comes in many forms. For any student, academic progress is of the utmost importance. As a homeschooler, this is probably something you already keep track of. Refer back to their records and make note of where they are thriving, and where they may be struggling or even regressing. But you should also evaluate their growth in other areas. How does your child fare in social settings? Does he or she work well with others and cooperate when working in groups? Being able to hone in on these skills now, helps children grow up to be productive members of a team that know how to successfully work with people from different backgrounds and personality types.
- Goals – If you created a list of goals at the beginning of the year, check in and see how they are coming along. Should they be modified in some way? Which ones have been accomplished? Depending on where things stand, it may help to create new goals for the next few months.
Lastly, how are you feeling? Are there too many days when you are feeling overwhelmed? Then something definitely needs to change. Maybe you’re taking on too much. Perhaps you can benefit from joining a homeschool group of co-op where your students can take classes outside the house and you can spend time with other homeschooling parents.
When was the last time you pampered yourself? Has it been too long since you got together with your friends, got a haircut or just had some time alone? If it has, then ask a close relative or babysitter to watch the kids. You’ll be amazed at what an hour of doing what you want will cleanse your mind and give you a fresh perspective.