Summertime is planning season for many homeschool families. The slower pace of summer allows parents time to pause, reflect, and dream up all the ways the next school year can be the best one yet. Even for families who school year-round, the introduction of a new curriculum makes summer the best time to plan.
It’s an exciting undertaking, ripe with possibility, creativity, and newness. Before you fill your shelves with new books and craft supplies, here are six big-picture questions that will steer your plans in the right direction.
Before you map out where you’re going, take a glance back at where you’ve been. Ask yourself, “What worked last year?”
Perhaps you used a curriculum that really inspired your child. Maybe you started a new tradition that everyone loved.
Make note of everything that worked well. Take a moment to appreciate all that is already going right and aim to either continue or enhance these things next year.
What Didn’t Work?
Of course, not everything is going to be perfect. Ask yourself, “What didn’t go well last year?”
Did your children struggle with a certain subject or approach? Were certain routines more draining than beneficial? Did you get involved in activities that proved disappointing? Did you find yourself in a rut at any point in the year?
Make a list of what did not work. Determine why these things were not ideal and aim to adjust the year ahead accordingly.
What Are Your Children’s Strengths?
Time flies when you’re having fun, and those kiddos are moving through childhood at lightning speed. Be sure to notice those areas in which each child naturally excels.
Every child is different, and one of the best advantages of homeschooling is the ability to cater to the specific needs of each child and allow each to reach his or her potential. One way to do that is to understand and focus on their strengths.
What Are Your Children’s Interests?
Check in with your kids and make sure you are up to speed on what their current interests are and why. Perhaps they love Legos because they enjoy making things with their hands, or they love creating stories with the figures, or they feel accomplished after completing a challenging set. Dive deep to fully grasp why your kids are drawn to what they are. Engaging in the subject or activity alongside them should be an informative (and likely fun) exercise.
Once you know your child’s interests, you a draw upon them to explore any number of subjects in homeschool. With Legos, for example, you can use the pieces as math manipulatives, re-enact a book you read with the figures, or construct a marble run to demonstrate the laws of physics.
What Are Your Goals?
Before you fill in the details of the year ahead, think about what you’re aiming to accomplish. What experiences and lessons do you wish to incorporate into your homeschool? How would you like your family to feel about homeschool and learning? What would make you feel like your homeschool year was a success?
Why Are You Homeschooling Your Children?
Review why you’ve made the choice to homeschool in the first place. Why is this the best option for each of your individual children and your family as a whole? Perhaps, with experience, new reasons have emerged.
With this solid perspective, you’ll be better equipped to dive into the nitty-gritty, knowing better what to include and what to forego in the coming homeschool year.