Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Evaluating Your First Semester of Homeschooling

Evaluating Your First Semester of Homeschooling
© Can Stock Photo / iqoncept

If your homeschool year started last fall, then you are getting ready to start your second semester of lessons. Before you do, I want to encourage you to stop, grab a pen and paper, and take 10 or 15 minutes to think critically of your homeschool. 

All well-running machines need routine assessments and tweaks. Now is the time to take a moment to sit and think carefully about how the first part of your year went. What are you going to keep? What are you going to change?

Start by writing out the subjects in your homeschool. Leave space to make comments under each one, like this:

Evaluating Your First Semester of Homeschooling

Then start with the first subject. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my child loving it? Why or why not?
  • Is my child learning and growing? Why or why not?
  • Am I having trouble teaching the material because of the way it is presented?
  • Is the problem (if any) one that can be easily resolved by making simple changes?
    i.e. - changing the order of subjects, changing the way in which they answer, etc.
  • Does the curriculum we're using teach the concepts in the way my child learns best? (If not, you may need a different curriculum.)
Write your thoughts down in the space below each subject. Do the same with each subject. Your final page should look like this:

Evaluating Your First Semester of Homeschooling

And then stop and think about your homeschool day. Most homeschool families I know are super busy. Flexibility is key to success. But if you have a set routine, then maybe look at it critically and see if it is working. 

For example, I put the subjects that we need to move more quickly through on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Right now our schedule looks like this:

Monday - Wednesday - Friday: 
  • MATH
  • Science
  • History
  • ELA
Tuesday - Thursday:
  • MATH
  • Civics
  • Geography
  • Grammar
  • Spanish
  • Art
Notice that math is the only subject done 5 days a week. That works best for us. Grammar and civics don't take very long, so although he does more subjects on Tues-Thurs, it doesn't necessarily take up more time.

I'm sure YOUR homeschool days look much different. Maybe you homeschool in the evenings or on weekends. Maybe mornings are reserved for play and time outside. Perhaps you are early birds who like to knock out the lessons as soon as you wake up, or you only do a 4-day school week.

Don't be worried about moving subjects to different days or doing one or two every single day. Time may make a difference, too. My son likes to do math last, but I always make sure that it is after lunch so he's had some fuel after the other lessons for him to tackle the algebra equations.

Remember, don't try to force your family into a mold that doesn't fit right. Make homeschooling work for YOUR family. 

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