As my 17th year of homeschooling nears its end, it remains clear that each year is still a learning experience both for students and parents. Now is the time to closely examine your homeschool year, discover your successes and failures, and make appropriate changes for next year. Take a close look at the following:
Families with full curriculum providers will want to examine the curriculum for next year. Did everything work well this past year? Sometimes schedules need to be tweaked a bit to get student work in the mail on time. Don’t be discouraged as small scheduling changes on your end can sometimes make a big difference.
There is a bit more work involved for homeschoolers who design their own curriculum. I begin in early spring to plan my students’ curriculum for the next year. This gives me all summer to gather texts, plan their coursework in each subject, and write daily assignments into their planbooks. The important revelation for me in designing my own curriculum was that the course of action that worked for one child might not work for the next. Be flexible and be creative.
Scheduling your students’ time, as well as your own, allows greater flexibility within your home and school. Independent-working older students, as well as younger children, will benefit from a structured home environment.
Homeschoolers must look outside the home for many of their children’s extracurricular activities. The important thing to remember regarding these extra activities is the word “extra.” Don’t let them take over. The key to balance here will be found in scheduling. Three of my five girls still take dance lessons. My son takes guitar at the same studio. It’s a scheduling nightmare, but with a bit of creativity, we always seem to work it out.
Look at your homeschooling “space.” Is it conducive to study? Although we used the kitchen table for many years, I now find my schoolroom to be invaluable. It’s bright, sunny and home to 2 finches, 2 cockatiels, 5 guinea pigs, 4 lizards, 1 hamster, 2 mice, and 1 ferret. All the computers are in this room as well. Each student has their very own “space,” with room left over. It’s near the kitchen, another plus. Conducive to study? Not always, but it is the most used room in the house at all hours of the day and night.
Group morning prayer, daily mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and the family rosary are all wonderful ways to unite family members in praising God, but don’t try everything at once. You will soon see that your family’s prayer life is the key to homeschooling success.
The best thing about the close of one homeschool year is the start of another. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination.