For homeschoolers it often seems that just as one year ends, you are already gearing up for the next year to begin. Ok, for most of us, we have been planning ahead for months, but we don’t admit that in public. It is a disease, I tell you!
After all, there are always new curriculums to choose from, but also things that we used that we would rather not do again. Just saying.
Some things work well and some things do not. Some things are great fits for one child and not for another. Some things are just plain boring and need to be exchanged for something more fun.
So how do you even get started with making decisions?
Here are some things that I have found work well for me to consider.
Did my child learn?
For those who keep track of grades, this is fairly easy to measure. If they are getting A’s you are probably safe. If more C’s are showing up, re-evaluate. If you are in the no-grade camp, ask yourself – does my child grasp these concepts? Can they explain or teach these concepts to another person? Are they confident with that specific subject matter?
Did my child have fun?
Yes, fun! One of the things I love about homeschooling my kids is seeing the smiles on their faces when they really are enjoying learning. For one child it may be retelling me their history lesson and for another it may be showing me their latest art project, but at the end of the day, my goal is to have seen a smile on their face and hear excitement in their voice. At least once!
Did I enjoy teaching?
Let’s face it, our kids will learn more if we enjoy teaching them. We, as their teachers, set the tone for their day. If we are having fun they are more likely to have fun. And quite frankly, to get through the year, you better hope that I am having at least a little fun.
Do I already own something similar?
It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting brand new everything each year. And I am talking about more than new pencils and notebooks. Between the shiny catalogs and the vendors at the conventions, you can easily be convinced you need it ALL! Stop for a moment before you buy that shiny new toy and consider if you have something similar that will work as well. Sometimes the tried and true products that have served you well for years are just as good.
Can I afford this?
Some curriculums out there are expensive and worth every penny! But there are also a lot of free resources available if you just do some research. If money is an issue for you, prioritize your needs and then do your research. Homeschooling does not have to break the bank!
Can someone else teach this better?
I believe with all my heart that no one knows your child like you do and therefore no one is more qualified to teach your child than you. But, I also believe that some are more qualified to teach certain subjects. Each year we look at the subjects we feel need to be covered and then decide if any of those would be better off taught by someone else. For some that may be upper level math, for others, Chemistry. Don’t be afraid to outsource subjects you are not comfortable teaching.
With a little thought and planning you can set your child and yourself up for a successful school year!