This post is from our contributing sponsor Time4Learning.
For many homeschoolers, November marks the midyear. For year-round homeschoolers, it may mark the year end. Either way, during this busy season, make certain you set some time aside to review your homeschool progress to see if a change in your schedule or curriculum should be on your radar.
It certainly makes sense. As one veteran homeschooler noted, “this time of year offers the opportunity for me to sit with my children and discuss how they’re enjoying their subjects and if there is anything we can adjust or do better.” The open discussion may bring to light some things you weren’t aware of.
The following are some ideas for your mid- or end-of-year homeschool review.
Homeschool Progress Review: Having a Family Meeting
Sometimes parents get so wrapped up in their homeschooling duties they don’t notice sudden or slight changes in their children’s learning. Reviewing grades seems like the obvious way for you to judge your child’s progress, but grades aren’t the lone focal point.
So once you set your meeting up, ask your children what subjects they enjoy and what subjects they don’t. Some children simply don’t like math or science or reading. You may already know that by their daily or weekly griping. Hey, almost all children do it. But give them a chance to explain what they don’t like about certain subjects. Obviously, you can’t just exclude those subjects, however, you may be able to make some adjustments in how they learn.
For example, using textbooks and workbooks for math bore some children. If you introduce a new math program that uses more visual and interactive methods, it could awaken their senses. The bottom line is communication. Give them a chance to offer their opinions and thoughts. They don’t have that opportunity in traditional schools and maybe that’s one reason why you started homeschooling -- to avoid the traditional methods and explore more dynamic ones.
Homeschool Progress Review: Changing Your Schedule
Sometimes shaking up your scheduling really energizes not only your children but you as the teacher. If you have a rigid schedule, loosen it up a bit. Offer more free time or time for experiments such as baking cookies or making a homemade pizza using measuring tools. Bring them on outside trips for social gatherings with other homeschoolers or to a local park for bird watching.
Some homeschoolers change up their schedule mid-year just to keep their children on their toes! Breaking up a routine is a good thing. After all, when your children hit the real world, things will come at them unexpectedly. Getting them out of their comfort zone helps prepare them for those moments.
Also, you may discover that your children process things better in the afternoon or even at night. Remember, flexibility is one of the biggest homeschooling perks. So tweak your schedule and discover what works best for your children. You may be surprised.
Homeschool Progress Review: Considering a New Curriculum
Every year, new curriculum programs become available for homeschoolers. And every year your children grow and change. As a result, what worked for them a year or two ago may not work as well now. The holidays offer the perfect time for you to investigate these new tools -- especially after you have sat with your children and learned their thoughts.
Some more dynamic programs, especially web-based products, offer scheduling, record keeping, and automatically save detailed progress reports on your children, which is especially helpful if your state requires an annual portfolio. They also provide a whole different learning environment. Children learn at their own pace by interacting with what seems like a cool video game. Characters come alive and make the learning experience fun.
Children can learn on laptops or tablets and use these programs anywhere and at any time. As a result, learning isn’t confined to a classroom setting -- it can happen any place where the internet is available.
The holiday season offers time for review and reflection. How do your children learn best? What part of the day are they most alert and ready to learn? What curriculum changes would give you all a fresh start for the new year? Then, focus on all the positives, especially how homeschooling has hopefully provided you with the flexibility and freedom to expand and improve your children’s educational experience.