I have always loved the “Back to School” time in August/September. “Back to school” time to me means sharp crayons, new pencils, and any new gadgets that will make school just a little more fun and colorful.
We have decided to homeschool year-round. Taking 3 months off in the Summer doesn’t work for us and we like to take different breaks throughout the year. Even though we don’t take the summer off from school, this is still a great time to reflect on our school and change anything that isn’t working.
This isn’t the only time I reflect on our homeschool, though. You see, I don’t buy a box curriculum for my kids and do that throughout the year. That works for some families, but it doesn’t for us. Even when I was teaching in the public school system for 5 years, I didn’t depend on textbooks and curriculum to teach my students. I look at the objectives that my kids need to understand and then I look for material that will teach that best. We are more “eclectic” in our homeschooling style. I don’t subscribe to one type of style over another. I look at each of my children, think about how they will learn that objective best, and then I create the material that will work for them.
Like I said earlier, this isn’t the only time I reflect on our homeschool. It’s a constant moving target, it seems. Something will work for a certain child for a while and then that child changes (because he’s growing) and so I have to “tweak” what we’re doing. I want our homeschool to be constantly challenging our kids. There’s a fine line between pushing them to the potential that we, as parents, know our children can reach, and making things too difficult so they end up giving up.
Here are some questions that I ask myself as I’m reflecting on our school:
- Are each of my kids learning what they need to know in each subject area?
- Bible – Bible is always a “subject” in school. This is just so we are making good habits of reading the Bible daily.
- Reading Fluency – When they read out loud, do their words flow? Do they use appropriate intonation?
- Reading Comprehension – Do they understand what they’re reading?
- Are they developing into the person God wants them to be? Are there some character issues that need to be taught? (We deal with things as they come up throughout everyday. Sometimes is good to reflect on the child as a whole and see what they need help developing.)
- What needs to change?
- What is working?
- Can we do anything better?
There are lots of questions that go through my head, but these are the main topics of questions that I try to reflect on throughout the year. As all parents do, I want the best for my kids and I want our homeschool to work around how my children learn best.