A Simple homeschool evaluation can help you solve a multitude of problems, from scheduling and planning to fitting in extras.
To do this, you need to assess your learning, your schedule, and all the places you currently spend your time during your homeschool day.
Evaluating your homeschool is not something you will do once, but it is an ongoing process. And, that’s a good thing. Your life, family, and homeschool are fluid, changing just like the people in it. Your homeschool schedule has to accommodate this or it is always going to feel overwhelming.
Assessing often will ensure that your days stay simple and enjoyable.
Once you’ve identified where all the time is going and made a time budget, the next step is to cut out what’s not working and figure out how to organize what’s left.
A simple homeschool evaluation will help you simplify your days by helping you identify what’s necessary on that schedule and what’s not.
Evaluating Where You Spend Your Time
To start, look at where you currently spend your time.
Are you involved in too many activities? Do you spend half the week in the car driving to those activities?
What about the in-between times? How many subjects are on your schedule each day and what happens during transitions?Is a huge chunk of your day spent switching from one subject to the next and preventing you from being able to just flow through the work?
This was my problem. And, my turn around came when I started to think of our school week as one long day.
It was a game changer.
I schedule fewer things per day, but we tend to do them longer. And, this has done two things:
First, It visually reduces my stress level by not having a mile-long list of things to tackle. And, it also cuts down on transitions and wasted time, helping us focus.
Second, each subject has the potential for deeper learning. While a lot of subjects scheduled for one day can look productive it doesn’t necessarily translate into more productive learning. Spacing it out a bit will make your days feel less choppy and give it a better flow. And, your kids will gain a deeper understanding of topics presented in these longer doses of time.
Check out the first post in this series, Treat Homeschool Schedules like a Grocery Budgets, that talks about creating a time budget for your homeschool schedule.
Identifying What’s Working & What’s Not
Look at the current schedule. Is there anything that sticks out to you as a problem?
Be honest with yourself about what’s working and what’s not. Do you hate your writing curriculum? Face it and make a decision to either pitch it or try something else for a designated amount of time.
Is your child fighting against a particular subject? Find out why. What in particular is the problem?
Subscribe to our mailing list or if you’re already subscribed, get them in our free resource library, to grab the child interview. This portion of my Simple Homeschool Evaluation will probe your child’s thoughts about problem areas in your homeschool schedule.
Asking and taking the time to answer these questions will help you figure out what needs a revamp or what just needs to go.
To Cut or Not to Cut
When evaluating your homeschool schedule, it’s also important to take into account likes, dislikes, personalities, and learning styles.
When your days become a chore because you or your kids are bored or uninspired by what’s on the schedule, it’s hard to get started and stay motivated to do the work.
The exciting thing about homeschooling is that it can look different in every home. It is a unique learning environment made by and for you and your kiddos.
But, it’s also your home and your life happening simultaneously. Integrating your families hobbies, passions, and unique learning needs will create that simple schedule that feels effortless.
Here are a few things to consider when deciding what things you can cut out of your homeschool schedule.
Find out what you love
Think about you, Mama. You are the rudder of this homeschool ship and the quickest way to suck the joy out of homeschooling is to fill it with boring tasks you hate doing. One of the ways I simplify my homeschool is by adding in things I enjoy. Because let’s be honest, as homeschool parents we don’t get a lot of free time to pursue our own interests. For me, I love art, so I include it as much as I can in our days. And, when my kids are doing art projects so am I.
If you love to cook, then you should try to make that a bigger part of your homeschool. Teach your kids how to prepare Grandma’s famous pasta sauce. You’ll be doing something you’re passionate about while passing on a legacy. But, it’s also science, math, and life skills.
Find out what your kiddos love
You probably already could make a huge list of things each of your kids is interested in. But, take time to really think about these things and write them down using my Simple Homeschool Evaluation.
We have the chance to tailor-make our children’s learning experience. I use a lot of child-led learning in my homeschool. Designing activities around what my children are excited about is a no-brainer. It makes my life and homeschool schedule simpler.
I love to watch them dig deeper into topics they’re excited about. It takes the pressure off me to come up with ways to make topics more interesting. And, it also allows them to be part of the process, giving them a voice in their own learning.
Look at personalities
Is your child shy? Or, are they bound for Broadway? Have that in mind when planning activities.
You know them best, think about where they thrive and shine and how you can create and schedule activities accordingly. Design your days with their unique personality traits in mind and your children will flourish and your days will get easier.
Look at learning styles
Does your child like to sit and do detailed work? Or, can you not even get them to sit in a chair during school time? I have one of each. Instead of planning two different schedules every day, I do a lot of unit studies to accommodate both of them.
Think about the major learning styles, tactile/kinesthetic, visual, and auditory and how you can incorporate more chances to use those in your days.
My son is very hands on and loves to tinker and build. So, I make sure he does a lot of projects. My daughter is a budding artist, so I make sure there is a lot of drawing in her days.
They both are auditory learners as well and so read-alouds work great for that.
Your situation will look completely different from mine, but taking a few minute to consider these unique learning situations will help tremendously when deciding what should stay and what should go from your current schedule.
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Organizing What’s Left
So you’ve got your time budget, and you’ve assessed your schedule and cut out anything that wasn’t working. Now it’s time to organize what’s left.
How do you still include all those “subjects” you feel shouldn’t be missed?
There are a few simple ways to do this. Check out the next post in the series: 10 sneaky ways to find more time in your schedule.