It’s that time of year, when we plan our homeschools, find fresh ideas, create renewed routines, and ask our kids what they want to do for the upcoming year.
In the middle of summer (okay, the end of summer this last year), I pull out the messy papers, the stacks of books the kids worked through last year. I take a look at my daytimer (and the kids if they’re teens) and I record what they did last year.
This is what I started with…a cup of tea…and appropriately named: a cup of courage for our homeschool choice.
And piles and piles of papers, notebooks, sketches, math workbooks, writing stuff, whatever they did this year on paper.
I culled much and kept plenty.
Tomorrow I will write a portfolio for each child, that includes…
But this will take me a couple of weeks of tomorrow mornings. I sort through everything they have written and read, and everything I’ve written in my daily and monthly homeschool planner.
Yup, I know: it’s a lot of work.
I do this for two reasons. The first is the most important reason.
- I see what we’ve been doing in the last year and I congratulate myself for an incredible effort. Who else is going to do it? Homeschooling is not an occupation that earns external awards, bursaries, scholarships, or renown. Built in self-congratulation (and the occasional jaw gaping are all I see for my efforts, oh, and interesting, engaged kids walking the path they were meant to live with my own awareness that I’ve lived a full, meaningful life helping them do just that. There is THAT).
- I’m getting into the practice of writing useful portfolios for my high school homeschoolers so they can plan for their potential post secondary years.
As I rummage through the past year’s efforts, I’m considering my next year’s homeschool plans:
- What will our routine look like?
- What activities will we include?
- What pursuits would benefit each of the kids?
- What will we continue and what will we change?
Instead of looking at the latest, greatest curriculum options (I’ve spent other years poring over catalogs and perusing curriculum fairs), I first consider my kids’ natural interests.
- When I’m not looking, when I haven’t organized a day or mandated screen limitations, what are they doing?
If my child defaults to reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, should I trade my prescribed reading list for her interests? Ohhh, tricky one. I buy those little graphic novels for my daughter’s Christmas amusement, but would not include them on an academic reading list. Since she reads and rereads this series, last year I found a Jeff Kinney unit study to incorporate writing stories.
- Should I trade my prescribed reading list for my child’s?
- I also want to continue what has been working.
Like Math U See curriculum. But tweak it to prevent monotony. Like creating games out of math concepts my kids struggle with. (Tried to do that with the Pythagorean theorem last year, ha, that was funny…trying to invent the Pythagorean wheel or triangle 🙂
Last year, my chess-entranced son took fifteen-minute morning breaks playing chess online. He also has a fascination with Lego (what a nine-year-old boy doesn’t). Sometimes he has Lego challenges to break up study days.
- Try something new to keep it interesting.
This year we’ll be incorporating book clubs from BraveWriter. Our thirteen-year-old will try another BraveWriter online class. Our fifteen-year-old will take a few BraveWriter classes on essay writing. Gotta get ready for SATs.
So let’s get homeschooling.
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