Not only do kids grow physically during the school year, they can change a lot academically and emotionally too.
Reassess Your Homeschool Mid-Year….
Whether you homeschool with a rigid schedule or you’re more casual about learning at home, mid-year can be a really good time to assess how your homeschool is doing. Here are five questions to ask yourself.
1) Am I Missing an Important Subject?
Last year, during our mid-year homeschool assessment, I realized we needed to reintroduce penmanship. The boys had gotten a little sloppy with their work, and it was time to practice again. I quickly downloaded copies of Write Through the Bible (the cursive edition), stuck them in 3-ring binders, and got the boys working on handwriting that very day. It couldn’t have been easier. Thankfully, I can now read their writing again.
Ironically, I think we often miss the most important “subjects” in our homeschool. We can get so focused on math, spelling, and reading that we can miss sight of some of the reasons homeschooling is an awesome opportunity. That’s a whole ‘nother blog post, though.
2) Do I Need to Schedule My Days Better?
We’ve been homeschooling for seven years now, and scheduling has always, always been an issue. When the boys were young, I scheduled school before and after lunch and that just wasn’t practical for little people. When I cared for my toddler nieces, it was a challenge to schedule a read-aloud time with the boys and potty-train the girls at the same time. As a work-at-home mom, it seems I need to examine my schedule frequently to make sure I’m making deadlines and using my time wisely without encroaching on our homeschool.
Mid-year in your homeschool is a great time to examine the decisions you’re making. Do you need to get up earlier? Is it time for an older child to become a little more independent in his studies? Do your kids need to get some good exercise after breakfast before school starts? Maybe you need to plan your curriculum in bigger chunks of time and commit to sticking to a plan?
3) Am I Caring for the Meals and the House?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t function well in a mess. My husband also seems to appreciate a home that isn’t destroyed. Keeping a clean house and feeding the troops can be a challenge when everyone’s home all day long. The best way to ensure that we live in a pleasant environment than to set a routine and get the kids involved. It’s good for the kids, too, to learn to clean and cook!
My boys get up two hours before school starts each morning. After breakfast, we work together on the chores. It’s a great way to ensure that everything gets done. After school we pick up. I start dinner at 430pm every day. If I can, I make a double batch and freeze half for a day when I’m not feeling well.
Meals and the environment of your home are an important part of your homeschool. Do you need to tweak how you’re caring for your family?
4) Is Our Curriculum Working for Us?
We originally started our homeschool using Singapore Math. It’s a fabulous program, I researched it thoroughly, and I loved it. After a couple years, though, one of my boys cried through math. Every. Day. At first I thought the math was too hard for him or he didn’t understand some crucial point. It turned out, he’s a naturally gifted math-whiz and the methodical, spiraling nature of the program was frustrating him. He needed something faster and harder–something he could pace himself. I had chosen a wonderful math curriculum–it just wasn’t right for my child.
Mid-year that year we switched to Life of Fred. It’s an unconventional, narrative, hilarious math program. I was nervous about taking the dive into such a novel way of learning math, but I found wonderful reviews by parents who were doctors and engineers so we tried it. Not only did the tears stop, my son began excelling at math, moving ahead quickly and researching college-level mathematics in his spare time.
The great thing about homeschooling is that you can tailor your curriculum to your children. If you have a teen that needs handwriting practice or a child that needs a faster or slower math program, you can make the change.
5) Am I Training My Children in Scripture?
I can’t think of anything more important to study with my children than God’s Word. It seems like it’s the easiest subject to let slide, isn’t it? Don’t leave your child’s training in Scripture to happenstance or abdicate your responsibility to the church. Please make sure you’ve scheduled time to go through God’s Word together right into your homeschool day.
I’ve found that scheduling Bible Road Trip right at the beginning of our homeschool day means it will get done. We’ll all be ready at the same time, and we devote the beginning of our day to reading the Bible, praying, and notebooking about Scripture. Later in the day the kids can work on other aspects of the program like Scripture memory, special projects, literature, or crafts–but we read Scripture right up front in the morning.
Do you need a program to help you go through Scripture with your kids in a scheduled, engaging way? Check out Bible Road Trip before you go!
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.