Benefits of Evaluating Your Homeschooling Efforts
This post is from our contributing sponsor, Time4Learning.
The holiday season usually marks the mid-way point or year-end for homeschoolers, depending on how you schedule out your year. It also presents a great time period for evaluating your homeschooling efforts. And even though holiday shopping, merry-making, and more shrink your available free time, putting aside a few hours could make all the difference as you continue your homeschooling adventure.
By holding a meeting with your children, reviewing your schedule, and assessing your curriculum, you’ll gain a better perspective on how effective your efforts have been and if changes are needed to improve your children’s progress. Let’s look at the benefits of these three suggestions.
Calling a Family Meeting
Giving your children an opportunity to discuss their daily homeschooling helps you better understand the pros and cons of your homeschooling techniques. After all, many parents become so busy teaching and taking care of other chores during the year that they rarely take a breath to realize the small changes that occur in their children’s learning styles.
You may think reviewing their grades will do the trick but that only tells part of the story. Ask your children about the lessons they enjoy and about the ones they don’t enjoy. You may find that one child who once loved science, suddenly dislikes it. If that’s the case, evaluate whether it’s the subject itself, the curriculum you are using, or even the manner in which you are teaching the subject.
For example, perhaps traditional methods using textbooks and worksheets have become uninspiring. If so, start introducing more lab work and other interactive lessons. It’s all about communicating with your children and giving them the opportunity to evaluate their homeschooling experience. Don’t forget, homeschooling affords you the luxury of changing things up.
Adjusting Your Schedule
With homeschooling, nothing is set in concrete — even your treasured schedule. If you are a homeschooling parent that regards your schedule as untouchable, consider relaxing it or tweaking it a bit. It could be just the ticket to boost your homeschooling progress.
Provide additional free time, wake your children up twenty minutes later, or forego the 30-minute drive during rush hour for a “so-so” elective. You have flexibility on your side, so why not use it.
Some parents even go a step further — they change their lesson time from morning to afternoon, or even reserve some work, say reading or writing, for after dinner. You may discover that your children thrive when they have lessons at different times during the day. Changing things up also prepares them for the unpredictable environment they’ll experience in the real world.
Altering Your Curriculum
If you find that your children’s learning styles are changing, altering their curriculum may help them learn more efficiently. As your children grow older, they start looking at their education differently. Some children become bored with it, especially if they’ve been using the same type of curriculum for years.
Lucky for you, every year more new curriculum options are introduced and you have the freedom to pick and choose the ones your children enjoy the most. And as the holidays approach, you may find great sales or even package deals, which will help keep your costs down. Review the options you can afford and then discuss them with your children. For example, web-based products provide a dynamic educational experience — the lessons actually resemble video games! Some products also offer you a few perks such as scheduling, record keeping, and automatically saving detailed progress reports on your children, which is especially beneficial if your state requires an annual portfolio.
Your children will also learn independently and the products run on laptops and tablets wherever the internet is available — which gives you and your child more flexibility!
Evaluating your homeschooling efforts provides you with the chance to enhance communications between you and your children, find their peak learning periods during the day, and discover curriculum options that most inspire them. That’s the gift of homeschooling, it gives you and your children the flexibility and independence to make the necessary changes that will bring joy and success during the school year.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]