Evaluating Midyear: Homeschooling

writing hand

Each year about this time I look over what we have done in the beginning of the school year and try and figure out what we have accomplished and then work on a plan for what still needs to be done.

Looming in my mind are the thoughts about the importance of finishing that 7th grade science book or whether that child understands what he is reading. Is he “getting” it?

What has he learned so far this year and what else would he need or like to learn for this year?

If you have read my post before you know that I make a plan at the beginning of each year. More like an outline of what I plan to accomplish.

This time of year JANUARY I reevaluate that plan and decide:

  • Was it a good plan?
  • Was I was off the mark in what I thought each child could accomplish?
  • Was I asking too much of him/her?
  • Was it was too easy, should I have asked more of him/her?

THEN the hard questions…

  • Will I have enough to put in a portfolio for the state or is this one of those years where we have to push through a ton of school work at the end of the year to get “enough” done for the state office?
  • Did I think more of the stuff that needed to get done than I did of the child himself who was having to do all that stuff?
  • Do I have that child best interests at heart?
  • Do I have his future goals in my mind while working this plan?

Well, this year we did not accomplish as much…

OR SO I THOUGHT.

It surprises me each year around this time.

I look through all the work the children have done and I realize…

Man, they did a TON!

I am thankful we have accomplished so much and also relieved that there isn’t a crazy load of work that still needs to be accomplished.

My plan for this coming semester:

Princess, 3rd grade:

  • ART: Let her work on her art book as much as possible as she loves art.
  • MATH: See if she can get those multiplication facts memorized.
  • WRITING, SCIENCE, HISTORY: Write one more science and one more history report for the portfolio. She needs to work on not using so many capital letters within her sentences.
  • OTHER: She really enjoyed that horse study, maybe we should keep working on that or has it been enough and just let her enjoy horses on her own.

Collector, 7th grade:

  • MATH: He is doing really well and just needs to keep working consistently through his workbook. He needs to be reminded he is amazing at math.
  • WRITING, HISTORY: He needs to write one more history report for me for his portfolio. His paragraph writing needs a bit of improvement. Remembering that one topic per paragraph and keeping all that topic together in the one paragraph.
  • SCIENCE: He loves his new science book and is working through it well. The fact that he is sharing information from his chapters as he is reading them means he “gets it”. This is called narration or narrating his lessons, it shows comprehension.

Pilot, 9th grade:

  • MATH: All set and going strong. Learning a lot this year and remembering most of it. Having a great time also with his arduino board.
  • WRITING, SCIENCE, HISTORY: He needs to write 2 more reports. One report for science and one for history. When writing he needs to have the quiet and the time to think about what he wants to write. He gives up before he has the chance to get his thoughts on paper if there is too much happening around him.
  • OTHER: Really think he would enjoy doing that “Pilots Weather” book for science, either at the end of this school year or for next semester.

Tech, 11th grade:

  • MATH: He is just starting his college math course and is a bit nervous. I am sure he will do fine, it’s just getting used to a new teacher online. He has done plenty this year and this will be a great end to his junior year.
  • WRITING, HISTORY: His college writing course took care of most of the writing required for this year. I will need one more history topic report from him for his portfolio. he can choose the topic.
  • SCIENCE: Biology is going well. Need to order those specimens for dissection so he can finish up this course on time.

So that’s my plan, well actually their plan for this semester before our lives get busy during the summer.

  • When do you reevaluate?

  • What does the rest of your school year look like?

Ours is pretty straight and on course which shocked me completely.

BUT Happy, this mom is HAPPY!

Scheduling Our Homeschool Year: Part 1

math

There have been lots of questions lately about how we schedule our homeschool day. With 6 kids schooling at home now it could be rather hectic, but its not. The grades I am leading this year are: 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 1st, and 1 is a freshman in college.

 

Here is how we do it, both ways…

Most of the calmness comes from my planning for the year in the summer. I make up a plan of study for each child before school begins and then use that to set up a hanging folder with the work I will require of them each month for the year.

If you have been following this blog then you may remember the post about how I plan out my year. Here is a link to that post.

That truly helps when I am getting the papers reading to go into the hanging folders.

 

Handling Paperwork to Send to the State…

Using the plans of study that I created for the state office, I collect all the papers I will have them do for the year in… let’s try MATH for an example.

math.jpg

If I was going to have my 1st grader to the following topics for the year:

  • Counting
  • Beginning Addition
  • Subtraction Facts
  • Measurement
  • Money

Then I would print up a page for each of these topics from the internet. I would collect each one of these pages and put a paperclip on them and put them in that childs hanging folder.

On the counting worksheet I would write September, and write October on the Basic addition worksheet, November on the Subtraction facts worksheet, December in the Measurement worksheet, and January on the Money worksheet.

When the month of December comes my 1st grader will do the Measurement worksheet (along with the worksheets for each of the other subject areas).

Each of the subject areas also have packets of pages printed up for them and I just have the children do the collection of pages that say December during the month of December.

This was I would have pages dated from throughout the year that correspond directly to the list of topic I stated I would do this year.

 

What do I do the rest of the month?

So when planning out my actual year for what the children will do from day to day my planning is different.

I still have the different subject areas and lets stick with MATH again just to keep things simple. We will also stay with the discussion of my First grader.

So, my First grader has done her packet for the month of December and now has the rest of the month do work on what?

During the summer I looked at what she had accomplished in her previous years math book and found that she was just under halfway through it. (In her case she had started the 1st grade ABeka Arithmetic book during her Kindergarten year so I had not planned on her being able to finish it.)

math

I know I want her to continue working on this workbook to completion. She has about 200 pages left. I plan on her doing about 20 pages a month to complete the book by the spring.

On my notes for her schoolwork I write: Math 20 pages a month

If she did not do well in math I would have her do less, but she loves math, math comes easy to her, and she loves working in workbooks. So, the plan stands.

 

What about an older child or one that has a tough time in Math…

Lets take another child. This child does not find that math comes as easy to him. He did not finish his 6th grade math book last year. This year the goal for him was to finish that book and then start the 7th grade book.

This would normally mean doing about 5 lessons a week but it takes him longer to complete a lesson due to math being not a subject he finds easy. So for him I have him do 3-4 lessons a week but sometimes less if he seems to be having a difficult time.

We use Saxon math for the older children and the 1st grader will eventually be doing Saxon math also. My 7th grader is working through Saxon 6/5  right now and thankfully is almost finished. (affiliate link)

math

So on his plan I wrote: Finish Saxon 6/5 start Saxon 7/6 try to get to lesson 60 (which is halfway through the book). For him no number of lessons are listed but maybe this year math will click with him and he will whizz right through the book, you never know.

For me it’s not that they finish a certain book in a certain year, but that the child understands the material. He will make it into Algebra 2 and complete it but it may just take a while.

Hoping that was a bit helpful. It really is just taking the child from where they are and looking ahead to see what you think they are able to accomplish in a year and writing it down. Around the middle of the year, evaluate and see, is your child going to accomplish what you have on your list. If not, was your list to huge or is the child having trouble with a concept and you should slow down for a bit.