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A Review of Our Homeschool Year – What Worked and What Didn’t
Yesterday morning I officially declared our homeschool year “over”.
The truth is, we never stop learning (and I actually have some intentional learning planned for the summer) but it’s nice to have an official start and stop to the year. Plus, I like to start after the regular school kids and stop before them -because why not?! #benefitsofhomeschooling
I am really excited for the plans I have for our learning this summer (and into the fall) I’m making some changes and I think it is going to be so good. But before I go into them I wanted to do a review of the last year. This review is good for myself and it’s a good place to point people to when they have questions as to why we are making a few changes.
Whether you had a stellar year or a much-less-than-stellar one I think taking time to review the year is always a good idea. As you may be able to tell by the name of this site my goal is to be intentional with our learning and part of being intentional is taking time to think about what is and isn’t working.
Our school year actually started out with an attempt at following Charlotte Mason’s method but that quickly went by the wayside and by the end we were pretty much unschooling. (Though I still really love a lot about the CM method and do hope to follow it more closely one day.)
Let’s get into the details of what worked and what didn’t:
THINGS THAT WORKED WELL
I want to start by sharing some things that worked well this year, unfortunately I could only come up with two things for this list:
LUNCHTIME AUDIOBOOKS – we continued to listen to our audiobook almost every weekday at lunch. There are a couple of reasons we listen to audiobooks at lunch, one is so we can add more books into the day and the second is because my kids are big talkers and it’s nice to have them quiet for a bit. #momconfessions
WEEKLY RECORD – a few months ago I created a mini planner for myself and I have been using the weekly planner sheets ever since. They have been great for documenting the stuff we actually do (since I don’t like to make a big plan ahead of time).
THINGS THAT DIDN’T WORK WELL
During most of the school year this year things felt really good. We were quite unschooly and it felt like it was working for us. I even chose to not go to our homeschool convention because I didn’t want to feel like I needed to teach my kids in a different way, but taking time to look back on our year at the tail end of it I realized it was not the kind of year I want to be the norm.
A lot of my struggles this last year are my own fault, this winter felt long, dark and cold and felt like a true spiritual winter. It was hard to motivate myself to do the necessities, never mind teach my children well.
A few other struggles in our homeschool this year (most of which I am sure were directly affected by the place I was in):
TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME – it was a record breaking cold winter so I feel a little justified but it was still too much, I wish I would have done more intentional activities instead of just taking the easy way out and letting them watch something or play on screens.
THE KIDS BICKERED A LOT – prior to this past winter both my kids have gotten along very well, I mean, they are siblings so there have been squabbles but this winter was excessive.
READING STRUGGLES – my one goal for kindergarten for both my kids has been for them to learn to learn to read and so this was my goal for my son this year but it was a real struggle. He is a very smart kid and can tell you all about what a gyroscope is but when it comes to reading . . . I understand that he just turned six and boys are often later to learn to read but there have been some major red flags popping up so I’m currently doing some research to see how I can best help him.
LACK OF INTENTIONAL GET TOGETHERS – while we still saw lots of people this winter through church and hosted 20+ people in our home most weeks I do wish I would have been more intentional with getting together with more homeschoolers throughout the winter. This has picked up since it started getting warmer and made me realize how much I missed it.
ALL IN ALL
While there isn’t much in the “things that worked well” category and the “things that didn’t work well” is a bit depressing, I still feel like we are called to homeschool and I am looking forward to starting a new year.
I can see now that a lot of what didn’t work was that we left out some things that we really love and I have been working on creating some changes and have a bit of a summer learning plan I hope to share next week!
How did you school year go? What worked and didn’t work for you?
Sarah @ In Pleasant Places
I so appreciate this post – both your honesty and pragmatism. Was it this year you started the CM style of homeschooling that didn’t work? I love CM but my son rejects it. We lean between unschooling/relaxed homeschooling, which I do love (we used Five in a Row as our basis), but I do struggle with feeling like we’re not doing “enough”. Any words of advice? Thank you!
Hi Sarah – I totally get the feeling of not doing “enough”. I could probably list on one hand the things I actually remember from elementary school (in public school), not that I wasn’t taught stuff but 1) so much time is spent waiting for other kids and 2) the few times that what was being taught and me actually being interested in that subject were so few and far between. I think one of the biggest things to remember as homeschoolers is that if we can instill a love of learning in our children they will continue to pursue learning for their own enjoyment as they get older and anything we’ve missed along the way they can fill in the gaps for. I’m sure you are doing “enough”!