When it comes time to evaluate the past school year and decide what you will do for the next one, what do you do? Pray and seek God’s direction? Do the same thing as last year? Re-evaluate, and go in a new direction? Change a few things here and there? Go with what looks pretty, fun, affordable, or academically sound to you?
Certainly, praying and seeking God’s direction for the next year should be the number one thing you do.
How about this one – Have you ever asked your kids their thoughts on the past school year?
I have to regretfully admit, that after 6 years of homeschooling, this summer was the first time I have thought to do this. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that I am not the only one.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have kept my kids in mind each and every year. I try to observe their hearts and personalities. I strive to pay close attention to their likes and dislikes. But, I haven’t just sat down and sought out their true thoughts and feelings on their curriculum from the past year.
So this summer, as we were ending our current year’s curriculum (we school year round), and getting ready to dive into our next year, I sat down with my kids and had a little “homeschool student-teacher conference”. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this talk. The kids seemed thankful that I cared to ask and listen to what they thought about this past school year’s curriculum. I was given great insight into our school year through their eyes. It was a blessing to hear about all of the things they loved and want to do more of. It was also enlightening to hear about the things they felt were unhelpful, boring, or even academically poor.
If you are like me, and haven’t thought to do this yet, I’d like to encourage you to give it a try this summer. Here are some pointers on things to discuss during this “meeting”:
- Start the conversation by letting the kids know you’d like to hear their thoughts on how this past school year went. You want to listen to what they have to say about things they liked and didn’t like. You want to take their thoughts and feelings into consideration as you plan their curriculum for this next year. This doesn’t mean that you will do away with everything they disliked, or add in everything they request. It will, however, give you wisdom and understanding about where they stand as you seek the Lord in directing your path for the next year.
- Pray together. Thank the Lord for this past school year, and ask for His wisdom and direction in the next.
- Ask your child what their favorite and least favorite thing about the past school year was.
- What curriculum did they dislike? Why?
- What curriculum did they love? Why?
- What would be their ideal year next year? What would they love to keep and what would they want to do away with? What would they like to add in for next year?
- Walk through each subject with your child and discuss their thoughts about each one in detail.
- Take notes on everything they tell you – likes, dislikes, thoughts, ideas.
It’s important, of course, to keep in mind that ultimately we are their God-given authorities, leaders, and teachers. It will ultimately depend on what God shows us is right for our family for the school year, not solely on what the kids might desire. I firmly believe, though, that God can use these precious children as a means of guidance for the curriculum choices He desires for our family for the next year.
There are countless blessings in homeschooling. What a great blessing it is to our children (and us) when they get the opportunity to be involved in the thought and decision-making process for what they will learn in school for the next year.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. How have you included your kids in the curriculum decision making process?
Katie Haggard is a homeschooling mom of 3 gifts from the Lord. She’s been married to the man of her dreams, her college sweetheart, and best friend for the past 13 years. She’s learned over the years that she can truly do nothing apart from Jesus working in and through her, and enjoys talking about God’s amazing grace on this journey of life at her blog, Boasting In My Weakness. She also enjoys connecting through Facebook & Instagram.