And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, April 11, 2016

Wrapping Up the School Year

We've got just over a month left in our official school semester. It's time to evaluate what has worked well this year, what hasn't worked well, and what we will change for the fall semester. This is always a season when I spend time reflecting and planning. I'm not sure my husband and parents understand when I go off on tangents about the past performance of the kids and their futures. It's hard for them to fully grasp that I need to plan the next semester while thinking ahead to the next few years and processing what they've done in the last few years at the same time.

What Has Worked Well This Year

We really got settled into our new home. While our schoolroom still needs a little tweaking, we are moving in the right direction. In the next few months, I need to get a new desk for myself and my space. Another thing that worked well this year was changing the way Speedy organizes his school work and books. He's done well with the new system and likes it better. I've talked with Apple about coming up with a new system for her for the fall. The current system she uses worked really well for lower grades but I think she needs something more streamlined for 7th grade. I also want a system that will continue to move her towards independent study and personal responsibility. One thing she needs to really learn in the fall is how to keep her notes neat and easy to access.

We started memorizing Scripture in January. It is an area that we've only dabbled in over the years. This has been a REALLY great practice for all 3 of us. It is something I wish I'd done more of in the past, but I will certainly continue in the future. We are currently working on a couple of review items that will help us continue with memorization and Scripture work. Look for those reviews coming soon!

We have tried several new curriculum products this year through reviews that the kids have enjoyed and/ or I think provide big benefits. You'll see some of those when I do a new curriculum write up for 2016-2017.

Something else new I implemented this year was written weekly schedules for each of the kids. Apple's went into an old planner I wasn't using. Every Monday she'd have a new week's worth of work written into her planner so she could check it off daily. Speedy would get a printed sheet each week with the same information. This has given both kids an opportunity to see their daily goals and to check them off as they go. More recently I put both kids on a time schedule. We haven't used that schedule enough to know if it will be a success for one or both of them. I think it will be something we implement in the fall but maybe not in the form we are using it right now. I think doing certain subjects at certain times has pros and cons.

What Hasn't Worked Well

Somehow, somewhere we derailed and have had trouble getting back on track. This semester we've had many more loooooong days than normal length days. Our state requires 4 hours per day for 180 days. We normally can finish "seat work" in less time than that. We generally use our Fridays for home economics, outside play, educational games and movies, and so on. We also do some work all the way through the summer which accounts for some of our required hours. So in general Monday through Thursday, I'd expect our work to take 3-4 hours. We've been far exceeding that more days than not. Some of it has been spring fever. Some of it has been a lack of motivation. That's one reason I put both kids on a time schedule. I've got to continue praying and doing some research to find better ways to keep us on track next school year. Since I work from home, it's imperative that I have time to complete that work!

I've always had my kids re-do any problems they've missed on each and every subject. I'm afraid that's led them to not trying as hard the first go around as they could. I am currently testing a new method around this. I'm not sure I have the correct key just yet, but we won't be doing it the same way we've done in the past.

What We Will Change

In the past, I've always purchased a giant stack of curriculum for each school year. I love new curriculum. It makes me happy. Now that I'm reviewing more curriculum and of course Speedy can use many of the same items Apple used in recent years, it seems like a waste to purchase so many books. So I am working hard to plan our next school year using resources we already have. I'm excited about this although it is requiring a little more planning on my part. I'm also really nervous about planning for 7th grade! How do I have a 7th grader?!?!

For the last 2 years, we've been home bodies. Well not really because we are always on the go! However, we haven't been involved in any classes or co-ops or groups in over 2 years. That was a season that we needed, but I think the kids (and I!) need some regular outside the house study time next year. There are several opportunities in our area. Some are out of the question because of distance or cost, but I'm looking for one that will work for all of us.

Have you started to reflect on this school year or look forward to the next one? I'm a natural planner so I actually enjoy this process. I'm looking forward to getting my 2016-2017 planner so I can really dig in and plan!

I can't believe we are so close to the end of the alphabet! These next few are going to be tough! A HUGE thank you to Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude for hosting this round of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Make sure you read the other "W" posts this week.

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