We homeschool year round. This means that we take breaks as we need them, which usually ends up being in December, April and August. As a result, we school for three semesters each year. Each semester looks different from the previous one. For example, in the summer months we often end up homeschooling on the road.
During each break, I look over our goals and accomplishments and decide what needs to be prioritized for the next school semester. Having several times set aside to evaluate allows me to stay on top of each child’s education.
Some steps I take to make sure our priorities match up with our yearly goals:
- evaluate time spent on extracurriculars
- fill out individual child assessment sheets by subject
- do a character evaluation of each child
- assess my teaching ability by asking what I can improve and how
- keep a running list of household chores learned
- decide how to support a new interest that has surfaced in a child’s life
- reevaluate our yearly goals if needed
Putting first things first in this manner keeps a homeschool running efficiently.
Just like the old adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
What is your ounce of prevention in your homeschool?
My ounce of prevention is trying to be as consistent as possible (while still being flexible of course!) so as not to get too behind. It is no fun for any of us if I get into “we have to catch up” mode! We also school year round, with our breaks falling around the same times as yours, and it will be very helpful to incorporate these steps into our end of term reviews to help keep our goals fresh in our minds. Thank you for sharing!
My ounce of prevention is to watch my kids and see if they still have the spark of learning. We school year round and I love it because we never know when stress, accidents, ER trips, life, will get in the way of school and learning. I say that learning can happen all the time and anywhere and yes, we\’ve schooled at the hospital, but making bar graphs of what kind of juice is left in the hospital fridge gets boring after awhile. So, when I see that stress is building or fun isn\’t happening, we take a break. We can still learn, in fact we always do, but there is no schedule, rhyme or reason for doing so.
I have seen way too many HS moms burn out, they fizzle in front of me like dying 4th of July sparklers and I remember when they burned brightly. It makes me sad and I see in them times when they should have stepped back and said, Wow, it’s time for a break!. So, I am always on the lookout for signs that our fire is getting down to embers and I need to go poke it to create a spark. Sometimes though, a poke is just soaking up the sun and relaxing in the creek or hiking up the side of a mountain. And that little bit is all we need to continue on our merry way.
.-= Liese4’s last blog: Tea party =-.
You’re so right, Liese. Looking for the “spark” is a wonderful evaluation tool to employ. And I hope that Simple Homeschool can encourage homeschooling mothers BEFORE they reach the burnout point!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Angela @ Homegrown Mom
I usually spend quite a bit of time in the summer planning, and then every quarter I map out nine weeks. I also spend just a few minutes each morning going over the day. I try to set aside time each week, but that doesn’t always happen 🙂
We are doing year-round, too, and I love it!
.-= Angela @ Homegrown Mom’s last blog: Dear Buff Guy at the Gym, =-.
My ounce of prevention is spending a little bit of time the night before getting ready for the next day. I found that if I’m not prepared it is too easy to start the day off-track and things just fall apart from there …. if I’m not prepared and the kids have to wait for me to print something or while I gather props for telling a story the lessons start off on a wrong note.
But, if have have everything gathered together, all supplies at the ready (pencils sharpened, books we need assembled, components for any experiments prepared ahead of time) – then we can hit the ground running and things flow smoothly from there.
Sometimes it is tempting not to put in that extra the night before, but I always regret it if I leave those tasks until the morning. I think of it as my evening “teacher prep” period 🙂
.-= Kara’s last blog: More Than Words: Simple Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them =-.
As my kids get a little older I make an even bigger effort to involve them in the discussion of learning goals/priorities. Once or twice a year we create or revisit a list of personal learning goals or dreams (we each have our own). It is my choice that they study math, science, etc., but they have lots of input for areas of interest or even learning gaps that they feel need filling. My thirteen year old son has amazed me, this year, with the areas that he chose to learn more about; we saw a big jump in maturity in him. We want them to WANT to learn, and to take initiative. Not every child does this naturally (some prefer to be told what to do and when) so we continue to encourage this in our home. Really listening and caring about my children’s thoughts and dreams as well as growing in flexiblity (and moving away from perfectionism) have helped our homeschool experience tons.
I love the idea of involving older children in the goal process, Kika. And listening to their dreams and helping to make them happen is certainly one of the perks that homeschooling parents get to be a part of day in and out!
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.
Liese4, I love your analogy of the fourth of July sparklers – it’s so TRUE!
Kika, Yes! I agree that talking with your older ones about what they are interested in adds to the excitement of learning. I love it when my children want to learn about something and I get to be a part of it. I also love it when they can teach me something new.