I love summer: the beach, the sunshine, the lazy days, vacations, and chilling out. We do NOT homeschool during the summer, except for reading books. Here it is the beginning of August and it's almost time to gear up for the next school year.
Evaluate the Past Year
"The best part of this past year was history day," Shine shared enthusiastically. "I liked the Diana Waring tapes."
"I thought history was boring," Jimmy interrupted. "But I liked the food. (We had eaten our way through history with some delicious lunches at history co-op)
Look back over the past school year. What went well? What do you hope will go better next year? Pray about these things. Thank the Lord for all the great things that happened. Focus on the positive, not the negative. But, ask the Lord to show you how to be more effective in your homeschooling this coming year.
Jimmy really grew as a reader this past year, but I still want that to be a priority next year. Shine grew so much in the Lord and now I want her to start passing on what she's learned.
If reading was a weakness this past year, you might want to make reading a priority next year. If there was a lot of rebellion in one or more of the children, then relationships and child training should be a focus in the school year coming up.
Choose What You will Study and How
What do you want your children to learn this coming year? One year we decided that we wanted to learn about England and British history. Though I had been homeschooling for 12 years, we had never studied English history in an in-depth way. We were excited to learn about our "mother country." What do your children want to learn about? What are their interests?
How do you want to teach these subjects? Do you want to use traditional textbooks or on-line classes? Do you want to do a unit study with lots of time for open-ended studies?
We have made some excellent purchases over the years: Understanding Writing, The One Year Adventure Novel, The Mystery of History, Introductory Logic, and Understanding the Times. I have also purchased some duds, but we have improvised and made do. The important thing is that your children learn the material!
I make a list of everything we need to do in a week: reading aloud, hands-on fun, writing, learning independently, lessons, fields trips, coop, church, mentoring times, family worship, cleaning, and time to relax. Then I squish all this stuff into blocks of time (before breakfast, between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner). I use blocks instead of hours when I make my homeschool and personal schedule.
Now lay out your curriculum or unit study plans for the entire year. This usually takes me a week or two, but is worth every second. I can glide effortlessly through the year, with a plan in place. If we get a little behind, it's easy to catch up and get back on track.
Celebrate the Start of a New Year
Finally, plan a special way to kick off the year. Lunch at Pizza Hut or McDonald's, a movie marathon, a party with cake and balloons, or a fun field trip. Have a great year!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)