Friday was the homeschool audit workshop and we had a great time! You can still sign up and get the download and replay so you can work through your previous homeschool year and your own feelings and responses to what did and didn’t get done. Then, based on thinking through what happened this year, we can start working out solutions and strategies for next year based on our own real-life situations.
I thought I’d share some parts of my own homeschool year audit and some of the strategy solutions I have brainstormed based on that audit.
Auditing my situation
I scored 18 points for myself. I then assessed that probably I felt like I had 15 points of resources to spend on average, maybe 17 on a good day. I always felt like I fell short, but not as much as in other years - and I deliberately set up my school year schedule and what we were doing based on what I knew
I could stick with. I said 'yes' to doing things with people more than ever because I knew the shortcut to consistency for myself was accountability.
It worked well, though it was exhausting. I might not have been as exhausted if I didn't commit myself to those things, but those lessons also would not have been done half as often as they were. It was worth the trade off to me, particularly because that kind of commitment is the sort that expands my capacity by forcing me to build consistent habits. The exhaustion was the same sort that comes after interval training: the growth of stronger muscles.
Auditing my year
I was very pleased with the progress I saw in each of my children, the responsibility they started showing (borne out of a difficult year in that respect the year prior), and the interests they displayed.
The things that dropped off were the things I did not check up on. For example, I thought they enjoyed the exercise of illustrating a selection from their assigned lit book but stopped asking to see it after the first term. I found out in the fourth term that both boys had stopped doing it. My fault. Consistency in checking is vital - I knew it and I still let it slip.
Auditing my schedule
Having others come do over half our school with us helped tremendously. It helped me stick to my plan because someone else showed up. It helped me keep my house more in order because people would be coming over. It helped me bring my teacher-mode to the table more consistently and it helped my own kids bring their attention better - it was a class, not "just mom."
Our checklists also worked well, but only if I actually checked them. However, I was consistent in actually printing them and getting them to the kids, so that was a big improvement.
I felt that too much of our day was committed, though, and we didn't have enough down time, particularly for the introverts of the household (myself included). That meant there wasn't regular, reliable free reading time - and that's not ok.
I'm arranging next year to still rely on the accountability that comes from working with others but having all those things finished by lunch.
Auditing my stuff
Stuff is always the constant frustration. There's so much of it, especially with more students plus a toddler-preschooler.
The most common supply-related hiccup was pencils. Everyone has their own, color-coded mechanical pencil and it works wonderfully when they put their pencils in the easy-to-reach, right-in-the-most-convenient-place pencil jar. The pencils themselves and the policy was great. This was the year I insisted upon them keeping track of this one single thing and having to find it themselves if they misplaced it. I did a lot of impervious holding-of-the-line
- which included nobody being allowed to use someone else's pencil. We'll keep at it next year, but I'll add an alarm for our school days for EHAP time that includes "check all pencils are in the jar."
I also need a more obvious way and place for kids to turn things in when they are done. I'm thinking a magazine holder on the counter. I also need a scheduled spot in our morning (or lunch time) to check all work that has been turned in. A magazine holder could go in an obvious place on the counter during the school day but be put away when it's not needed.
Auditing my flow
What I actually needed in our flow was more consistent and reliable one-on-one time, especially just to check in with my older kids. I struck on a plan right at the end of the school year that seemed to work for us: I'd take one child out at a time and we'd "get steps" together down the street. I could ask them about what they were reading, if they were having any difficulties, what's on their mind, and since we were also getting steps, narration didn't drive me up a wall (it usually triggers all my worst impatience; seriously, listening to a rambling narration is torturous to me, yet I know it's vital for them).
For next school year I'm blocking off time for one-on-one spelling with Ilse, one-on-one handwriting with Knox, and "narration with steps" times for each child. It might not happen everyday, but a few times a week will be better than nothing.
Thinking through how things went this last school year so I can plan a more workable next year is invaluable. I highly recommend it.
Get your own free Homeschool Audit Guide!