Are you overwhelmed at how to make a plan for the upcoming school year? Children grow and change so much over a year’s time. With a little bit of reflecting and planning our homeschool can grow with them.
One of my summer traditions is to take some time thinking back over the school year that just ended and make notes for myself. I consider our family to be year round homeschoolers, taking breaks as needed instead of an entire summer off; but with the onset of summer I find myself ready to pause, reflect, and redirect my vision for the next school year. If you would rather do this time of evaluation more often, that works too! Some prefer to reassess every three or six months, or at random times when they sense the need for some change. Do what works best for you!
There are FOUR QUESTIONS to ask yourself as you are both looking back and planning forward. You can jot down your answers on a sheet of paper or in a note taking app on your phone… or print out this FREE PRINTABLE to help organize your thoughts.
1. WHAT WORKED THIS YEAR?
There are always those things (no matter how small!) that really clicked in your home and are worth repeating. It was while answering this question that I realized how much I liked doing just one subject each day as a family rather than covering a small sampling of many subjects during our group learning time.
Maybe you’ve realized that every time you give a snack to a particular child doing math they have an easier time completing it. Or perhaps you enjoy doing a family read aloud time in the evening and its not something you even want to attempt during the daytime hours. If there is a certain book series or curriculum that your family enjoyed, jot it down here.
Anything that pops into your head as “good” is something to write down in this section. It will help you decide what to keep as you move into a new school year.
2 WHAT DIDN’T WORK?
Have you ever continued to do something even though it had never produced good results? When it comes to homeschooling, give yourself permission to just stop! Make a note of anything that just isn’t working for your child or family. It’s ok to quit doing the things that aren’t a good fit, even if it means stopping something that you’ve committed to or paid good money to purchase! Stewarding your family’s time well means filling it with the things that produce good fruit, and letting go of anything that doesn’t. Perhaps it is just your schedule that needs shifting around.
Maybe you’ve realized that your child does NOT do well with math late in the day and you need to make it an early morning priority. Or you may realize that a morning school time is not the best choice in your current season of life with little ones and you need to let everyone play in the morning, and do some learning time together in the afternoon while the toddler takes a nap.
3 WHAT DO I WANT TO REPEAT?
Now it is time to move into the planning stage for the upcoming school year (or the next six months or whatever time frame you choose!) Look over the notes you made in under “What Worked” and decide what you would like to continue. Jot those things down here so that you can quickly remember what you’d like to keep doing in the next leg of your homeschool journey.
4 IDEAS TO ADD/ CHILD’S INTERESTS
We can learn so much from examining the things that felt like a failure or didn’t pan out like we’d hoped. As you look through your “What Didn’t Work” notes, think about possible changes that you could make in your homeschool that would turn a negative thing into a positive one and write those ideas down here.
This is also a space where you can write down brand new things you’d like to try, and make notes on any interests you’ve seen developing in your child that you would like to intentionally encourage in the coming school year.
Once you have all your notes in place I recommend setting them aside for a few days. Share them with your spouse and your children. Talk them over with a like minded friend. Pray about them.
Now let’s have a little pause here for a quick reminder: YOU ARE IN CHARGE. Even when you make careful plans, choose a certain path, or commit to an activity outside the home, you have the right to make adjustments in the future. Remembering this will relieve all of the apprehension (and curb any unrealistic expectations!) you might be tempted to have while making plans. Call them your “working plans” if you need a little bit louder of a reminder. Working plans aren’t set in stone: they change as needed.
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