Every year, I evaluate what has worked, and hasn't worked, in our homeschool. All homeschool parents do this, in one form or another. I always have lofty goals, but don't always work towards them. How can I expect my children to, if I am not accountable?
Here are some general thoughts for the coming year, and I will post more detailed posts concerning subjects or specific goals as I get closer to what I want this year to look like:
1. My children ALL have been independent learners to some extent. What I mean by this is that, yes they have their "I just want to lounge and watch tv" moments, but by and large, I am fortunate that when they have free time, usually you will find them reading, creating something, drawing, outside exploring, or any other of a million things. They learn from all these experiences, all on their own, and almost always without any input from me. One of the greatest experiences for me, as a mom, is when they come to me all excited about something they learn, to tell me about it. I love this impromptu narration. Unfortunately, with three kids, I cannot keep track of all they learn on their own, to include in their portfolios at the end of the year. I need to come up with a way to have them document it. Even just a simple journal entry at the end of each day, describing some of what they did for the day. GOAL: Create an accountability process for self directed learning.
2. Family work (ie: chores)....this is a sticking point with me, because while I think that they are more than capable, for whatever reason, our family work tends to slide more often than not. It usually ends up with me "giving them what for", because my living room is a mess, yet again. This also falls back on me, for not being consistent, like I used to be. It needs to get better, like yesterday. GOAL: Set up family work chart (afternoon cleanups work best for us), and it must be adhered to by everyone, including MOM.
3. In all my years of homeschooling my children, I have always struggled with planning. I am a "fly by the seat of our pants" type of mom when it comes to school work. I am not sure where this dislike for planning comes from, because I really dislike being chaotic in our schoolwork...ie: digging for a book that should have been handy, forgetting to print out papers for our work. This accountability is totally on me, no one else. How can I expect my children to be independent, if I don't give them the tools to do so. GOAL: Use Homeschool Tracker religiously, to plan our work ahead of time. Keep hanging files of commonly used pages (notebooking, lapbooking, etc) so that they are always available for the children when the need arises.
4. Art is a passion of mine, and has been since I was a little girl. My father was really talented, and I am not great, but have had my bright moments. My children think I am talented, and lately I have had a desire to get back to this. What better way to pass on the love of art to my children, than to incorporate it in our "life learning", and do it as a family. GOAL: Incorporate a scheduled block of time for art each week, as a family activity.
5. Music runs in our family to some extent....Samantha has been singing since she could make sound. She reads music well enough (thanks to high school chorus for 4 years), that she does well with sheet music. Joe is unbelievably talented on the keyboard, self taught, ear trained, to play music. His own compositions are beautiful. Unfortunately for him, I have really dropped the ball in the "how to read and write music" department. I will be correcting this for sure this year. He could do so much more with his music if he could write his compositions down. Tom is not musically inclined to play an instrument this year (nor in the past), but does love music. He has recently begun singing out loud to his mp3 player (much to the chagrin of some of us, as he sings horribly off key lol, but he is too adorable to tell that to). It is just another step in his maturity, and self esteem building. A couple years ago, when he did a short stint in public school, he wouldn't even stand with his class during a spring music concert. He is horribly shy. GOAL: Incorporate a weekly music lesson plan into our studies, choosing one composer to study at a time (a week, or more long). Make sure that the resources are available, and time given, for each to improve their own individual skills in the music subject.
As you can see, this is just a small list, but these seem to be the major stumbling blocks in my mind right now. I am reading blogs, and any information I can online to find some things that will work for us, and hopefully provide more inspiration for me. As I tackle these individually, I will come back and share what I have found, or how I plan to move forward.