Yesterday, I finished teaching my 11th year of homeschool! It always feels so good to wrap up that last day of school. My children think they’re the happiest that school is over for the year, but we all know that no one is ever happier than the homeschool mama. 😉
I enjoy teaching my children and I enjoy them being home with me during the day for a multitude of reasons. But I also enjoy a break from the day-to-day routine of homeschool.
Everybody needs the occasional break – both physically and mentally – from the typical routine.
As my children have gotten older, I have discovered a good method of evaluating our homeschool year. Like most things I try to do, it is simple and there is not a lot to it.
This method, however, works for us!
➡ Browse through more Homeschool Helps posts here at Mama’s Learning Corner.
Homeschool Hits and Misses – My Evaluation
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When evaluating our homeschool year, I first carve out time to evaluate what has gone well for us this year, and what needs tweaking.
I ensure I have time alone, since this is something I want to linger over in thought. So often my thoughts are in 2-5 minute spurts due to someone needing my attention.
Such is life with many children and a busy household. 🙂
I start with a blank piece of paper – one side is Hits and one side is Misses.
Hits are those items that worked well for us this year. Misses are those items that missed the mark, and I either need to tweak part of it or delete it from next year altogether.
I evaluate all aspects of the year including: our school schedule, our outside activities, curriculum choices, completion of goals for each child, online or outside classes, the flow of our days, spiritual and academic growth and weak spots in those areas.
One of the more important aspects I evaluate is how thinly I was stretched as the homeschool teacher. More on that in just a bit.
My Homeschool Hits for This Year
Here’s a quick look at what went really well for us this year:
1.) American Government – My 10th grader had an amazing year in studying American Government! It was a highlight for both of us. I was incredibly impressed with BJU’s American Government Homeschool set. Even though it is only scheduled for a semester, I stretched that into a little over a semester. My son also attended TeenPact for the first time, which was nothing short of fabulous.
He finished up his American Government year with Hillsdale College’s Constitution 101 and then Constitution 201 to finish up the year for a whole credit.
The BJU curriculum paired with TeenPact and Hillsdale’s classes were a perfect fit.
➡ You can look at this curriculum in this post: 10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2020-2021
2.) Patriotic Songs study – During the last 7 weeks of school, I chose a different patriotic song for my children to learn. We are a Patriotic family, and I want to ensure those traditions are instilled in my children.
I usually tack one thing on after our Bible time each morning, and this was by far our favorite of the year! I’ll write an in-depth post on the resources I used and how I scheduled it. It would be an easy add-on for your homeschool next year, so stay tuned for that post!
3.) MPOA teachers – My older two children took 2-3 classes each with Memoria Press Online Academy again this year. Two of their teachers were true stand-outs. They are the type of teachers that have a passion for their subject and love to talk about it.
I, as my children’s homeschool mama, cannot be that type of passionate teacher for them in all subjects. I am not naturally passionate about math, for example, and they need at least a year of learning from a math teacher that lives and breathes it. That type of learning encourages confidence and the desire to do your best.
Thankfully, my older two children were able to get into a couple more classes with their favorite online teachers for next year. Yahoo!
4.) The Book of the Ancient World – My 8th grade daughter and I worked through The Book of the Ancient World by Dorothy Mills as part of her Christian Studies this year. This study looks at the various people groups of ancient times – Persians, Hittites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, etc.
This study was a clear and orderly presentation of these people groups and their role in history. The book is written from a historical perspective, and it dovetails beautifully with studying the Old Testament. My daughter and I both enjoyed the bite-sized chunks of information and the very reasonable work load of this course.
➡ You can look through our other 8th Grade Curriculum Choices for 2020-2021.
5.) Teaching Latin in PowerPoint – This year, I taught our Latin classes in a more formal way. This helped our homeschool by leaps and bounds! I put the lessons straight from the Teacher’s Manual on PowerPoint slides so we could all see the material on our big white board.
Being a mama of 5 has taught me never to say never, however, I will never go back to teaching Latin another way!
➡ You might be interested in: Why I Teach Latin in Our Homeschool
6.) My planning pages – My planning pages for each child continue to work quite well for our family. I make our weekly plan for each child on Sunday afternoon/evening. Admittedly, it takes up my whole Sunday evening, but I can’t fit this into my week in any other spot. I expect this to be the case with schooling 5 children, however.
It takes time to school them well, and that includes the planning piece.
My Homeschool Misses This Year
1.) Pre-Algebra – Pre-Algebra was an enormous miss for us this year. Not once, but twice! The two curricula we tried were painful, and my daughter really struggled despite much one-on-one teaching. I hate that it was such a bad math year for her, as math is such a dislike for her as it is.
I feel like I have a good plan to move forward with Algebra next year, so I’m hopeful the Math Ship can be turned around!
2.) My 10th grader’s science and math classes – My oldest son’s science and math classes were both scheduled as local, in-person classes. That was the appeal of signing him up with this particular instructor, who taught both of those classes. Due to Covid, the whole year was online.
The online only option did not lend itself to this type of instruction very well.
There were many aspects of this class I didn’t care for, and it was hard to track my son’s knowledge and progress. I have a plan for him to fill in his own holes in Algebra II and Chemistry this summer, to which he is very agreeable. Needless to say, I have a drastically different plan for next year’s math and science!
The last Miss has to do with me.
3.) I have been horribly overcommitted with teaching this year – Homeschooling my children is without a doubt my full-time job, and I make sure I treat it as such. This year, I have spent most evenings reading our literature or history or grading papers or working on Latin.
I have had minimal free time. I don’t say this as a complaint, just an observation.
And my children observed it as well. I heard murmurings inquiring as to my lack of free time, and questions regarding why I can’t do _____. Most often, the reason was because I had schoolwork to complete that couldn’t be pushed off.
I don’t want my children to perceive me or remember me as not having time for them, so I have started to make different arrangements in some instances for next year.
Schooling my children is a top priority for me, but it does not come at the expense of relationship with them. ← I’m writing that on an index card and putting it on my kitchen sink to read often, by the way. I sometimes get stuck in the weeds and need a reminder.
My Children’s Hits and Misses
During one of our last days of school each year, I take time with each of my children and have them think about their own hits and misses. Sometimes they readily have them in mind! Other times, I have to ask some probing questions to receive thoughtful answers.
I try to take their opinions and desires into account. I want my children to know that I hear them and value their review.
If it is a reasonable request – I’d like more crafts! – I figure out how to work that into the next school year. If it’s not so reasonable – Can I just type everything on the computer from now on? – then I have to shoot it down completely or brainstorm a way to partially accommodate their request.
I am always pleasantly surprised with their analysis and suggestions for improvement.
How do you evaluate your school year?