January is fast approaching. This is one of my favorite times of year because it marks the midpoint of the homeschool year. It's time to evaluate how the school year is going. I decide where we have met, exceeded, or fallen short of our plans. I often realize that the priorities and goals we set at the beginning of the school year no longer reflect the children I have now. My children have grown and changed. Depending on the year I may need to tweak things a bit or I may need completely new priorities and plans.
This week I think about each child as an individual. I want to make adjustments to our course for the rest of the school year. It is a simple process that consists of just three questions.
What are this child's strengths?
These areas are ones that I want to encourage but may not need to provide as much support. We tend to use our strengths out of habit. If the child's strengths are writing and art then I'll be sure to offer opportunities for them to use them but I won't prioritize one on one work focused on these areas as often. They don't need me right beside them every day for these areas.
What are this child's weak areas?
These are areas that a child needs more support, areas that they struggle in. In the example above the child's weak areas might be word problems and following directions. When they are doing word problems my one on one support and partnering can be the weight tipping the scale toward success. I can be their guide, their reminder, and their cheerleader. Effort put into practice in a weak area consistently will help it turn into a strength. Eventually.
What is ONE weak area we want to give priority to for the next several months?
I try to select one area that I think will make the biggest difference for my child to have support and to give some extra focus to in the coming months. Choosing more than that makes for an overwhelmed child, and an overwhelmed child shuts down. We have time. They do not need to master every thing in one month or year. Learning is a lifelong pursuit.
An example - My 7 turning 8 year old Oliver and I will focus on reading independence. He is so close to that crossover to being an independent reader. Becoming an independent reader will have massive impact on Oliver's ability to learn any time he wants to. It is a foundational skill.
I have nine children and seeing how they develop and learn in different ways and timelines is fascinating. Children truly are individuals. I am excited to see just what growth and changes will happen with consistent, focused effort in one weak area.
Do you do a mid-school-year evaluation? Will you be adjusting goals and priorities for the next few months of learning?