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HOMESCHOOL RECAP: WHAT I GOT RIGHT (AND WRONG)

Doing a homeschool recap every school year is important because every year is different and every school year has high points and low points. It’s all ok because we learn from them both–what to do better next year and what to keep doing next year because we killed it in this certain area already. Sometimes we skip to the next thing so quickly, we forget to reflect and remember what we did right–or wrong. I think it’s important though, to our growth as homeschool mamas, to evaluate and figure out how to do better next time. We’re our own best gauge as to where we need to go from here. So here’s my reflection…A homeschool recap is important! Not every homeschool year is created the same. Some years are better than others, but the key is to learn from mistakes and make them better for next year. Here's what I got right (and wrong) this school year.

Homeschool recap: what I got wrong this homeschool year

I learned that my self-discipline directly affects our homeschool productivity…and I was seriously lacking in this area. 
I’m not sure if it’s the spread of kid ages I have or if it’s just getting older and more lax about things, but I seriously lacked self-discipline in several areas. This, I realized, affected our homeschool days so much. Things I struggled with were finding a good morning and evening that I would stick to consistently. I did shape up my morning routine at one point and it made a world of difference. Now that summer is here, I’m finding I need to re-evaluate and get after it again.

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Sidenote: here’s what makes up my perfect morning routine, in case you’re interested.

I had a hard time figuring out the perfect balance between working here on the blog and all that entails, taking care of the house and meals, and fitting in all the hands-on stuff I like to do in our homeschool.

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Taking care of myself in the sleeping/exercise/and eating well areas also lacked a lot too. I was much too sporadic in all three of these–there was never a consistent self-care routine going on.

I found that when all this was out of whack, it was really hard to have good homeschool days. It was really hard to lead my kids through the day when I wasn’t even leading myself very well.

I didn’t check in enough on math.
I don’t really like math all that well. So, as you know, what you don’t like does not get the focus. With our math, I give the kids a quick overview of the lesson each day and just let them complete the lessons on their own–if they have questions, of course, they’re free to ask, but other than that, I’m pretty hands off. I have the kids hand in their work when they’re finished and I try to make sure and check it at least twice a week, just to make sure there’s no major troubles.

Well, around the beginning of April, I realized my twice a week goal had been failing pretty badly and I had collected a pile of math on my desk that looked like I had a class of 50 students. When I went through the stack, I was bummed to see that there were several lessons where there were some troubles and I had overlooked it mostly because I just didn’t want to spend much time here.

We didn’t read as many books together as I would have liked to.
Reading together is one of my very favorite things. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint why exactly, but we really didn’t read much as a family this year. While my kids did read a lot of great books on their own, I want this to be different next year and get more up to par with our read alouds. IMG_1448

What I got right this homeschool year

I knew when to put things down for the time being.
There were several things that I just let go this year and it felt good and right. We picked up a unit study in February and put away the Story of the World for the year. Two years ago I probably wouldn’t have done this. There were a few other things I changed up and I’m so glad I did.

I encouraged lots of individual reading.
For as much as we lacked in reading aloud together, the kids made up for in reading individually. They read a TON!

We went on all the field trips and saw all the productions we could. 
This was our first full school year in Minnesota and we had so much to see. And we did! We went to museums, saw beautiful art, went to so many plays, parks, and new areas we never knew about. It was a great year in exploring our new city! IMG_1394

Lessons learned

Here’s what I learned this year, what I’m going to keep up with and what I’m going to aim for next year.

  • Use my time off of school this year to really invest in myself–get more sleep, exercise a lot, eat well and really get into a good groove. I’m hoping that by committing this summer to taking care of myself more will pour over into the school year.
  • Pass off some of the math. It’s not my thing and when other people can do it way better, why not? My oldest will be doing math with a co-op group, I’m 80% sure my rising 5th grader will be doing math via a computer math program and that will just leave my 3rd grader. I can handle correcting one set of math problems.
  • For read alouds this coming year, I’m picking them all ahead of time. We’re also going to skip our normal spelling books and just pull words from our read alouds. I actually already have a list of books we’re going to read together from September through May next year!
  • Individual reading was a win for us this year. I’m going to give my kids each a reading list again this year.
  • We still have SO much to explore in Minnesota, so we’re getting a jump start on field trips this summer and we’re going to carry it through the school year.

This long, hard look is so important. Now I feel like I can look ahead, set goals, and start planning for next year. Every step counts.

Happy homeschooling!

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4 Comments

  1. Alicia your honesty is so encouraging! I have lived in the Seattle/Tacoma area my whole life and I have not explored it nearly enough. How do you decide where to go? Does it always go along with a lesson? Just would love tips and tricks for exploring your own city ???

  2. It definitely helps to reflect! We struggled with reading aloud as well – I always have big plans but it’s so easy to let that slide – and I’ve had a list compiled for awhile. So I’m going to take your suggestion and go ahead & get the books. My oldest will be doing math at co-op, too (I’m so relieved!) and we will continue with Kahn Academy online for the youngest.

    Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

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