That can mean only one thing. It’s time to relax and evaluate for the new year ahead.
Somehow, we have to pull ourselves back from the great holiday blitz and go on homeschooling. One of the things that helped me most was to realize it would take a little time to adjust — just like back at the beginning of the school year. It was o.k. to take a deep breath and relax.
Reading aloud makes a cozy winter language activity.
The rhythm can create a feeling of peaceful re-entry. Pick a book about a winter adventure or new beginnings. Introduce a series that will invite your children to read the other titles in the series, on their own time, just for fun.
The new year is a perfect time to take inventory of what we accomplished this past semester.
Make special individual time with each child, hot chocolate in hand, and chat about what they learned academically and in real-life skills. Give each child new journal to record their progress and write down goals for the new spring semester.
It’s a good idea for mom to create a journal too.
Include what worked and what didn’t. No matter how optimistic our beginning-of-the-year goals, failing to reach a few is okay. We learn best through trial and error. Innovation comes from failure. Did you know that Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was invented when a pan of boiled wheat was left in a baking pan overnight? Sounds like homeschooling to me!
Pray and ask God for creative ways to accomplish what you could not.
When I realized my 6th grade daughter was behind in math, I needed to be honest myself. I did not have the time to think through algebra with her. A huge weight dropped off my shoulders when I could admit she needed a tutor. Many teenagers in other homeschool families make perfect tutors. They’re happy about the income and most are open to bartering.
There are plenty of free homeschool checklists online.
Too often we want to keep pushing forward when a little evaluation can yield a better result. Checklists cover social skills, practical living skills, character qualities, and spiritual growth as well as academic milestones for each grade. I use evaluation lists to help me think through my objectives, but I implement them loosely.
Children are not wired the same and develop at different paces. If my child isn’t good at something now, I know in two to four months, he or she will catch on just fine. By backing off for a month or two, then reintroducing a concept, I found my children caught on after all. All children have their own gifting and learn in their own way. Striving to fit them precisely into a curriculum scope and sequence will only led to tears and frustration. For you and them.
Below are a few points to help evaluate the fall semester:
- Has your child mastered concepts he was taught in each subject?
- What special projects did they complete?
- What books did they read?
- Are they growing in their extracurricular interests and skills?
- Do children follow instructions better?
- Are any of them moving towards self-government?
- Are they learning to control emotions?
- Can your preschooler or K5’er sit still longer? Pay attention longer? This was a huge accomplishment for my son!
- Is your schedule working for you?
- Can you work smarter and not harder anywhere? If it’s easier for the kids to do math in the morning because you are freshest, then-do it!
- Are you doing too much? Too many outside commitments?
- Are you doing enough? Is there a child who is bored and needs to be challenged more?
- Could you use a mom-time of refreshment? Can you build in some necessary self-care somewhere? Don’t feel guilty!
- How are chores going? Is it time to graduate someone to more responsibility?
- Has Bible time been a priority or has it fallen through the cracks?
- Can I implement hands-on activities to liven a subject up?
Most companies complete inventories. Like them, doing an evaluation can give you a good perspective of how much ground you’ve gained or where you lost ground. Taking an inventory of your homeschool progress can help refine your focus and objectives. Above all else, you can rest easy knowing learning comes in all forms, Homeschool children are absorbent sponges and are probably further along that you think!
For a special evaluation treat, try a hot chocolate snowflake-float with vanilla ice cream and a peppermint stick as you relax and evaluate for the new year.
Blessing to you on your new year!
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
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