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New Year Homeschool Evaluation

Happy New Year!  With a new year comes an opportunity to start over, make resolutions and try something different. It’s always a good time to evaluate one’s life and make some changes.

For most homeschoolers, with the coming of the new year comes the middle of the academic year. For others a homeschool year may begin with the calendar year. Either way, it’s a great time for a homeschooling mom to take the opportunity for a homeschool evaluation, make changes,  set goals and determine to see your child through a successful homeschooling year.

 

Homeschool Evaluation: 5 Things to Evaluate for Homeschool Year Success by Renée at The Homeschool Post | hsbapost.com

5 Things to Evaluate for Homeschool Year Success

  1. Evaluate Curriculum: Determine what’s working and what is not. If it’s working well, great! Stick with it. If it’s not working well, ask yourself if the material is good but perhaps the method isn’t right for your family.Can you re-purpose the material to use in a different way? Can you use the material for a different child? Can you use the material to create a unit study or find a unit study or lapbook online that incorporates the topic and utilize the material as a unit or lapbook study? If none of these are an option, let it go. Believe me, if you can’t find a way to make it work, it’s better to let it go. The goal is learning, so if your child/children isn’t learning let go of the material that is a hindrance to your goal.
  2. Evaluate your Schedule: Take a good look at your daily homeschool schedule. Ask yourself if your schedule works well for your kids. Just because you work better in the morning, it doesn’t mean it is the best time of day for them. Maybe they would do better in the afternoon. Perhaps you need to consider the number of days that you dedicate to study. Would your children function better with a 4 day week, or maybe Tuesday through Saturday would be a better schedule for your family? Figure out what changes you might need to make and implement them.
  3. Evaluate your Planning: The purpose of a planner is to aid you in organizing your lesson plans. If you are finding that it’s so cumbersome or that you avoid it at all costs, then it’s time to consider that perhaps the planner isn’t the one for you. There are many planners on the market and just as many free planning pages online. Ask yourself what you wish you had in a planner. Maybe with just a little effort you can create your own printable page on Excel or use an online planner. Maybe an app like Cozi would work for you. One thing to be sure of, if your planner isn’t a help in your lesson planning then it’s a hindrance and there is no reason to stick with what doesn’t work. Let’s face it, there probably isn’t a perfect planner.Sometimes it comes down to your own heart. Do you have a heart for planning for the education success of your children? Maybe what needs changing is your own attitude toward preparing a workable plan for your children. Planning can be a chore and wanting to do it can be a struggle, but remember that your goal is to prepare your children for their future. Prayerfully consider your heart and if necessary make heart changes for the benefit of your children.
  4. Evaluate your Homeschool Method: There are many homeschool methods or approaches to education. Often when we start out homeschooling we do a little research and select a method based upon what our friends recommend. Or, we try to imitate traditional education like we grew up with in public school because that’s what we know. But ask yourself, is this really working for my family? You can choose a method for many reasons, but when it comes down to it you want a method that will work for your children. One thing to consider is the learning style(s) of your children. Does the method you have chosen allow your students to learn in a manner that works for them? If not, maybe a different method will serve them better.The proof is in the pudding, they say. If your children are struggling to learn, if you are struggling to teach, if the outcome of learning isn’t what you want it to be, then maybe it’s time to ditch the method and try another approach.
  5. Evaluate your Outside Commitments: As homeschoolers we have a strong desire to dispel the “socialization” stereotype. As such, we pack up the kids, head off to field trips, classes, co-ops and get togethers on a regular basis. But ask yourself, do you really need to go to all of the opportunities? Are you finding yourself dreading just one more trip into town for a class that all of your friends are participating in? Are your kids begging to just stay home? Guess what? You don’t have to go to every field trip! In fact, you shouldn’t. The purpose of a field trip should be to enhance learning. If the trip doesn’t serve that purpose first and foremost, then, it may just be a waste of your time. Moms, you don’t have to fear that your children won’t be socialized. You live in society. You’re their parent and you will be teaching them how to live and function in the community. Be choosy about the classes, co-ops and field trips that you choose. Ask yourself if the event serves a specific purpose for your children. If it doesn’t, let it go. If it does, go for it, have fun and watch in fascination as your children learn and interact with others. In the end you will feel less stress, less time-crunch and more at peace.

As you enter into 2015 take some time for a homeschool evaluation. That means take a good look at what you are doing as teacher and planner of your academy. You can let go of what didn’t work in 2014, you can reconsider, evaluate and make changes. As the homeschooling parent, it’s your choice, you get to decide what works and what doesn’t work for your kids. {Tweet That} That’s the freedom we have in home education.

How about you? What evaluations are you making in your home?

Renée (21 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


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Filled with Gratitude

 

stock-illustration-23609195-mason-jar

A new year is almost upon us. How was your 2014? Victorious? Struggle-Filled? A little of both, or more one than the other?

I admit, the last two haven’t been my best, and on many days I find myself searching for the silver lining. I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions. They always seem rather hollow to me. I mean, if you need to do something differently, why wait until one particular day of the year to decide to make a change? It always seems like the ultimate act of stalling.

I’m making an exception this year. Many of you may have seen the idea of a Gratitude Jar. If not, here is one example. If you Google “Gratitude Jar” you will find many ideas, in some cases free printables are included. The idea is simple. Write down on a slip of paper things that you are grateful for and place them in a special jar. When you get to the end of another year, pull out your “gratitude” and relive the high points. What a great reminder that even in the toughest times we are surrounded by good things, too!

I don’t think it’s necessary to write something each day. Let’s face it, some days we just don’t feel grateful, and there’s no use forcing the issue. But, how about every three days, or every week? Don’t let a week go by without counting at least one blessing.

The end of every year is also an excellent time to reflect on our homeschool journeys. I began mine a longish time ago. My oldest is 15 and has never been to school. His brother is nearly 12, and from the beginning, was difficult to “school.” Working with two completely different personalities and customizing a learning path for each has been exhilarating and exhausting…and the best years of my adult life thus far.

My oldest is almost entirely self-taught (which is different from self-directed in some respects). He still likes me to direct his learning–selecting books and curricula that I know fit his learning style, but otherwise he is in charge of mastering the material and completing his work in accordance with a pre-determined timeline.

The youngest resists schedules and timelines and curricula. He is creative, and visual, and a darn good writer for a 12-year  old. We re-evaluate each year what we want to work on and how we can approach it to make it relevant to his particular learning style.

My own personal evolution as a homeschool parent is on-going. I’m not sure I’ll ever really figure it out entirely. This got me to thinking about some of the articles I’ve written over the years for The Homeschool Post that reflect some of my better “Eureka” moments. I share them with you here:

Your Greatest Work

Lessons From the Library

Teach Me to Play

100 Hours

The Joy of Self-Directed Learning 

What will you reflect on this year? Did you have a “Eureka” moment?

Will you join me in filling a Gratitude Jar for 2015? Commit in the comment section! Let’s hold each other accountable. We’re in this homeschool journey together.
Angela (30 Posts)

Angela is co-founder of Mosaic Freeschool and a homeschooling mom to two never-been-to school kids. Born in Southern California and raised on the East Coast, Angela had a bit of an unconventional education, but did not consider homeschooling seriously until her first child was born. Believing that young children learn best from those that love them most, Angela and her husband John chose homeschooling for their two boys. She is dedicated to the advancement of alternative education choices, creating the web-site Raising Autodidacts in 2011 to further explore the idea of fostering the self-taught individual. In June of 2013, she started an instructional writing service called Gathering Ink .


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The Value of Daily Copywork

If you’re familiar with the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method, you probably know all about copywork. If not, you might be interested to learn what copywork is and how it can be helpful in your homeschool.

I always had an affinity for the Charlotte Mason method, because I loved the emphasis on literature, character training, nature study, and handicrafts. But, I didn’t understand the value of copywork for a long time. When I started using it with my kids, though, it helped them tremendously and it simplified our homeschooling schedule.

The Value of Daily Copywork

What is Copywork?

Copywork is exactly what it sounds like: a period during the day when your child copies a written or dictated work. To make copywork truly effective, you need to set aside time to have your child do it every single day. In the beginning, you don’t worry about form and structure of letters. The only goal is to get kids to complete the entire excerpt, which can be as long or as short as you like. As they write more, their handwriting will naturally improve.

The great thing about copywork is that you can literally use anything as the basis for practice. In our homeschool, we’ve used scriptures from the Bible, excerpts from favorite stories, and even historical accounts. (The book Write from Early Modern History is a great resource for historical copywork practice.)

How Copywork Can Help Your Homeschool

Handwriting is a major hurdle for many kids, especially those who are dealing with ADHD or other learning disorders. With copywork, though, a lot of the stress of handwriting mastery goes away and kids get to focus on what they are writing instead of how they are writing it. This is especially true if you use an excerpt from a story your child loves.

Copywork is also great for teaching other language arts subjects, such as grammar and spelling. When children copy well-written works, they start to understand how punctuation is used naturally. They also get to practice capitalization, quotations, and spelling, without having to separate each of these concepts.

I also found that daily copywork was a great fit for unit studies. Since I can use any work I want, it was simple to take a unit topic we were currently covering and turn that into a copywork exercise for the day. For example, when we learned about jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, we used a couple of quotes from his biography as our copywork lesson that week. History and handwriting in one!

Do you use copywork in your homeschool lessons? How has it helped your children? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

 

Selena (5 Posts)

Selena is a homeschooling graduate, a former tax accountant, and a homeschooling mom to four super special kids. She and her husband, Jay, practice eclectic homeschooling to keep their ADHD learners engaged! You can keep up with Selena by following her blog Look! We're Learning! on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Plus.


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