We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Homeschool Resolutions for 2008

Generally, it seems to me, homeschoolers tend to make their homeschool resolutions at the beginning of the school year rather than the New Year. I'm no different, but the New Year lends itself to a reassessment of how the school year has gone thus far. It's a good time to review the plans you made in the heady "homeschool convention" days of summer, when everything seemed possible! For the past 3 or 4 months we've plugged away more or less successfully, so where are we now?

Are there areas you've succeeded and want to ensure you continue that succees? Areas where you'd hoped to do better and need to recommit yourself? Things that have been troublesome that need to be addressed? Unexpected triumphs? Unrealized goals? Unrealistic expectations?Sometimes a review helps clarify where you've been particularly successful or not and why.

I'm going to spend this last week of our homeschool holiday break giving our last semester a good look. Then I'll be making the needed adjustments as I begin preparing for our school to resume on January 7th. The following are some of my thoughts on areas you might want to consider as you reassess your family. The areas our family needs to recognize successes or struggles are in ITALICS and our resolutions are in BOLD.

Goals for the entire family: Those goals that have slipped by the wayside or ones I'd like to institute. - In the past Hubby has been able to lead this each morning (or most mornings), but this fall that seemed to fall off a bit. So, we will recommitt ourselves to that. Also, we are going to begin incorporating Morning and/or Evening prayer from our "Anglican Family Prayer" book. We resolve to make daily family prayer and bible reading a priority.

School "flow": How does your day and week routine flow? Are there consistent bumps in the road? Are there techniques that have helped your days and weekls move along smoothly? - We've done a better job this Fall at keeping a regular schedule each week for school. However, our daily routine needs to be readjusted. One major change I'm making is me getting up and dressed first thing each school morning. In the past I've often found myself in my PJs still at mid-morning. I resolve to have myself completely dressed and ready to greet the children each school day.

Goals for each child: Those goals you've set for each child. Have you made good progress up to this point on these goals? Has one or more been supersceded (necessarily or not)? Do you need to rethink this goal or recommit to it? - My goals: Eldest (DS 10)- to become comfortable writing independently. He's coming along nicely with help for both of us through Classical Conversations "Essentials Program". Middle (DS - 8) - to bring reading up to a level of fluency rather than decoding. He's also coming along nicely, but I've slacked a bit in our goal to read a little each day. I need to recommit to this as I see the regular practice (even if it is only a few minutes) helps him immensely. Youngest (DD - 5) - to give her regular practice in "basics" of Kindergarten. Due to her eagerness, this has not been a problem. She requests to do her "school" every day! I resolve to continue the daily writing with DS - 10, daily reading with DS -8, and daily basics with DD - 5.

Concerning Co-op participation: Have you participated at a level appropriate for the needs of your family? Taking seriously your commitment to the program and/or maintaining the primacy of your homeschool needs? - We've been involved in Classical Conversations. I'm pleased with the interaction it has provided us and the structure and accountability. The program relies heavily on the parent to set the pace and our group does an excellent job of encouraging the parent in their teaching role. This has been a great boon to us. I've been able to enjoy the aspects of the program that enhance our homeschool, while not feeling pressured to take on more than we need. We resolve to maintain an appropriate activity level within our Co-op that maintains the primacy of our homeschool.

Outside classes: Have you overcommitted yourself, children or family? Is there one child who needs special attention in this area? Are there classes you'd like to seek out for your children? - My eldest is involved in karate and drama. My youngest is taking ballet. They both love their classes and these have not interfered with our homeschool. My middle also needs some outside art classes. I'm going to recommit to finding a class for him or making time to do the Mona Brooks "Drawing with Children" course I already own. I resolve to seek an art class for my middle DS.

Family activities and outside responsibilities: Where do you feel you need to be more or less involved? Are there activities you'd like to take on as a family or ones you've taken on that need to be assessed? Do these activities contribute positively to your homeschool or do they detract? - We've been particularly busy with our church the past 3-4 years. This year my husband's and my responsibilities have come to a close. We've been very slow to take on new responsibilities. It is a struggle not to take on more, but we are being very deliberate in what we choose to participate in or not. We've definitely noticed a lessening of the stress-level! We resolve to continue to carefully evaluate each activity and how it affects the homeschool and family.

Chores: Where do you see failings or successes? Do some chores need "refresher courses"? Do you see some of your kids slacking off in certain areas? Are you slacking off in your direction of chores or in your own chores? Are there some chores that seem superfluous? Are there some chores that need to be added? Do you need to consider a new "system" or just buckle down with the one you already have? - I've decided to make some chores "required" to recieve a minimum allowance and some chores optional (as a way to earn the rest of their "allowance"). We resolve to re-address the issue of chores and allowance payment and to incorporate a system that ensures a minimum allowance with the chance for extra earning.

Goals for the teacher: Where do you need support and/or encouragement? When or how are you "feeding" yourself? Are you allowing yourself too much "self"? Where do you need to recongize a sacrifice is needed on your part? - As I stated earlier, I need to be up and ready to greet the children each school day. I also need to have a plan for regular daily prayer and bible reading. In addition to these daily needs, I need to improve my "Mother Culture" through book reading, lectures, cultural events, entertainment, fellowship and "personal time". I resolve to develop a list of "Mother Culture" ideas and consult it to plan daily, weekly and monthly "Mother Culture" time.

I'm sure there are other areas you might consider reviewing. If you have areas you'd like to share, I'd love to hear! Leave a comment! If you blog about it, leave a link, too!

1 comment:

At A Hen's Pace said...

A great idea, Kerry! I've been sort of in the midst of doing a review since the beginning of December, and a couple of major implications are coming from that. I'll be posting about them soon!