This post was originally published as the introduction to an issue of TheHomeSchoolMom newsletter. Sign up here and get access to subscriber exclusive resources.
Thinking about the end of this homeschool year and the beginning of the next homeschool year? Don’t overcomplicate your analysis.
Get out that yellow legal pad and draw a line down the middle. Label one side “What worked” and label the other side “What didn’t work.” Without pausing much, just start jotting down things in the appropriate column.
Of course, include curriculum and resources individually, but don’t stop there. Brainstorm other aspects of your homeschooling and put them in one column or the other. Move quickly, letting your “snap judgment” make the call.
- Those early morning read-alouds? Worked? Or didn’t work?
- The fancy chore chart? Worked? Or didn’t work?
- Mom’s plan to exercise during the baby’s nap? Worked? Or didn’t work?
- The mission to get nonfiction books from the library around a kid’s questions? Worked? Or didn’t work?
- Field trip Fridays? Worked? Or didn’t work?
- Screen time limits? Worked? Or didn’t work?
- Kids’ cooking night? Worked? Or didn’t work?
- Kitchen table science? Worked? Or didn’t work?
- Classical music during lunch? Worked? Or didn’t work?
And on you go. Just let it all out. Be quick and just follow your first instinct.
A few hints:
- If anyone cried about it regularly (you or the kids), it didn’t work.
- If it put you in an unsustainable time bind or financial bind, it didn’t work.
- If the kids were engaged and you forgot to move onto the next thing on your list, it worked.
- If your kids remembered and talked about an activity or resource later, it worked.
Let your list rest for a few days, then on a new page, make a list of just the things that worked.
Are these resources and activities enough for next year? Are there gaps you’d want to fill? Are there similar activities and resources you can find to broaden learning further?
Now copy over your list of what didn’t work on a fresh page. What problems are there to resolve?
If exercising during baby’s nap didn’t work out this year, what else can you try? If the math curriculum was met with tears and little learning, how can you research other math programs or other approaches to math altogether?
Keep it simple. Don’t get bogged down in how much you paid or how a program should have worked or how much harder you can try to plan field trips in the future. Think more about what worked and how you can get more of that into your homeschool.
Maybe you’re not the field trip queen and maybe you’re not using the math program for gifted kids, but you can recognize what worked, and you can see what you want to work on.
And that’s the way to make the end of your school year benefit the beginning of your school year.