Reflecting and Evaluating Last Year
It is that wonderful time of the year! Surrounded by a mountain of home-education books and homeschool curriculum, I get to plan next year’s homeschool… and I love it!
I think all homeschool mums out there can understand the excitement of new curriculum and new plans with “This year is going to be different,” ringing in our ears.
However before I jump in and get too excited, I realised it was important to really reflect on last year before I make the same mistakes again.
To reflect on what went well….and what did not!
I would advise every homeschool mum to do this.
Don’t get carried away and start planning next year, no matter how tempting, until you have evaluated last year.
I would recommend you get the kids involved too. Ask them what did they enjoyed learning about, and what did they dislike.
I have learnt so much from this little exercise; not just about my homeschool, but also about the way my children learn and about the way I function too. What is important to me and my happiness?
Here is my reflection and evaluation of last year:
Evaluation of our Homeschool 2015/2016
In 2015/2016 I was homeschooling two boys: a 5-6year old (K5 in U.S. or Year 1 in the U.K.) and a 3-4years-old (Preschool). This blog-post will focus on my elder son, as the youngest did very little structured schooling this year.
Child’s Learning Style
I realised that my eldest son is highly self-motivated and my interference in his learning can actually hinder his progress! He only needs to be given the resources and gentle prompts , and he will learn on his own. He learns and retains the most from his own reading.The best thing about this self-directed approach is that it encourages his love of learning and allows him to take control of his own education.
However…he is only 6! So I have to find a balance next year, allowing him more time and control in his education, whilst at the same time making sure he has a firm foundation in the basics.
Facts, facts, facts
He LOVES facts and figures, and has recently developed an interest in science. So this coming year I need to encourage this interest and develop a really engaging sciecne curriculum for him, that will cover things he is interested in, as well as introduce him to new concepts.
As we are starting history this year, I need to find a way to utilise his love of facts, in our history lessons.
Need for structure
Although he enjoys learning independantly, he also benefits from having routine and structure in the day. It is important to him to know what to expect that day, and what is coming the next. This coming year, I have bought him his own academic diary, in which I will write out the lesson plans briefly, so he knows what is coming.
I struggled this year in establishing consistent routines. This is something that I NEED to address this year for his sake. insha’Allah.
Needs fun and silly too!
Because of his personality, it is easy for me to forget that he is only 6 years-old and enjoys doing silly things too! This coming year, I want to incorporate more fun activities and experiments into his curriculum.
It is also important for him to blow off steam! He needs to run, jump, do ‘kung-fu’ moves, just like any little boy! So this year, I have to schedule in outdoor/free time every day….without fail!
My recent discovery of the Charlotte-Mason approach to homeschooling had me trying shorter lessons with my son.
These worked very effectively as he knew that he had only a short amount of time to learn/do the material and he really focused during this time. In my head, because of my experience at mainstream schools, I thought that a lesson ‘needed’ to be around 40 minutes long….but why should it be! Who says it has to be!
When you are working one-on-one, shorter lessons are actually very effective. This coming year, I will be shortening lesson times in all areas.
This last year has been massive for me, in terms of self-knowledge and feelings of self-worth! One of the things that I realised about myself, is the need to be creative!
This coming year, I hope to utilise my creativity to create an awesome science curriculum for my son, and well as doing some great crafts to go along with out history and Islamic studies.
I’ve also realised that I am a control-freak! I need to relinquish this control over my son’s learning, and allow him to dictate the pace and content of at least some areas of study. It’s going to be hard!
He’s doing ok! Alhumdulillah! Socially, academically, emotionally…he’s fine! mashAllah.
Part of being a homeschool mum…nay….part of being a mother period, is that we worry and we fill our thoughts with guilt. “What if I hadn’t done that…” or “Maybe I should have done it like so-and-so”. I realised that I shouldn’t compare my child, my home or my homeschooling to anyone else. It does nothing but fill you with guilt or helplessness.
Allah does not judge you by other people’s standards. He only asks you to do your best with the tools he has given you.
Alhumdulillah we are doing well, and I pray it continues.
There is often a feeling amongst some home-educators that if you are using a tutor or sending your child to classes, your not really homeschooling “properly”! Of course, this is nonsense. There is no “proper” way to homeschool.
My son seems to really enjoy the variety that external teachers brings to his education. He attends a number of co-op classes, which he seems to be doing very well in. I have also found private tutors to help with languages (not my strength), and he loves those classes. So my feelings are that perhaps I should continue with these classes, and perhaps even find classes outside the home.
So you see, this short exercise in reflection, that took only 10 minutes to think through, has brought me so much clarity for next year’s plan, and stopping me from repeating the same mistakes. If you are homeschooling your children, I would highly recommend that you do this too!
Are you starting to plan your next year of home-education?
How do you start the planning process?
What worked well for you last year, and what changes will you be making this coming year?
Id love to hear from you!
Please share with me in the comments below 🙂
In Part 2 (COMING SOON), I will go into details about how I plan out our school year, and the books and resources I use, as well as my planner and all that ‘good stuff’!!!
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In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love
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