How is your homeschool year going? Have you stuck with your original plan or have things gotten off track? To make sure your homeschool year is as successful as you envisioned, it is important to complete a homeschool checkup in the middle of the year!
As we go through the year, our days and weeks start to deviate from our original plans. Certain subjects might fall off our schedule because they just aren’t working. We may no longer be following the schedule we set up in the beginning. School work may be all over the house instead of staying in the classroom as we vowed would happen.
The middle of the school year lines up nicely for many of us with the start of a new calendar year. It is the perfect time to step back and do a homeschool checkup. To take a few moments and compare the current state of our homeschool with the one we planned and pictured at the beginning of the school year.
Here is a plan to help you take a look at each area of your homeschool to see what is working and not working so that you can make adjustments for the rest of the school year. Make sure to grab the FREE printable checklist at the end to guide you through your checkup!
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Including Your Children in Your Homeschool Checkup
First, decide how you would like to include your children in your homeschool check-up. It is always good to find out how they feel the homeschool year is going. However, don’t ask them any questions that you are not ready to follow-up on. For example, if you don’t have the budget for new curriculum, don’t ask your children if they want to change curriculum!
Think about whether or not your school area is working for you.
Do you have enough space?
Does each child have a good work space? (One of mine has recently asked to have a smaller space so he is less distracted.)
Do you have a good place for doing group work, projects, experiments, etc.?
If your answer was “no” to any of these questions, can you make some reasonable changes to make your space(s) work better for you?
Classroom Clean Up
What does your school space look like? If it is like mine, it needs a really good cleaning this time of year. Set aside a few hours to go through all the books and papers in your school area.
Divide your space into manageable areas and tackle one at a time. My areas are 1) small classroom, 2) shelves in big classroom, 3) group table, and 4) floor.
This is a good place to include your children. They can apply the following steps to their own papers and materials, too.
1. Get rid of any papers and materials you don’t need any more.
2. Straighten all of the books and materials you do need. Do you need a new system for organizing them? Sometimes a set of stacking file trays or a new shelf make a world of difference. Expandable file folders are a favorite of mine for organizing papers and materials. And the cart with drawers below holds all of our curriculum and learning materials!
Some of our favorite storage options:
4. Give the area a good dusting and vacuum. This is an area of the house I definitely neglect when doing my regular cleaning!
Pull out the original schedule you made for your homeschool year and compare it to your current one. Or, if you don’t have a current one, write down what a typical week looks like now and compare it to that beginning schedule.
How did it change? Was this a positive or needed change? Or did something get off track and you want to return closer to the original schedule? Is the current schedule even working right now?
After you answer these questions, write out or type up what the new schedule will be and hang it in your school area for all to see.
Next, consider if your children are developing their skills as anticipated. Think across all parts of life.
Academic life: reading, spelling, writing, math, etc.
Soft skills: organization, time management, listening, problem solving, self-control, etc.
Life skills: hygiene, completing chores, cooking, manners, etc.
If not, why do you think this is? Do you need to dedicate more time to developing some of these areas? Or maybe expectations need to be adjusted in these areas? If there is a significant gap in expected skills and actual skills, you may want to pull in a professional to see why that is.
Think about what methods you have been using in your homeschool and whether they are working as planned.
You may want to skim through the Seven Methods of Homeschooling to help answer this question.
Also, think about whether you are using textbooks, living books, hands on learning, documentaries, online schooling, or a combination of all five and whether they are working for you. Maybe some are working better than others and you want to shift more subjects to that type of method.
You may want to read through What is Your Child’s Learning Style? to help you determine what would work best.
First, check and see how the list of subjects you are working through compares with your original plan. I pull out our original plan that I outlined in: A Simple Way to Plan Your Homeschool Curriculum.
Did any subjects fall off your list of planned subjects?
Was this intentional?
Should they stay off or do they need to be added back in?
If you are going to add them back in, first determine why they fell off of your schedule in the first place so you can make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Are there new subjects you want to add?
Or maybe you want to switch subjects now? For example, did you spend the first half of the year studying art and now it would be good to do a music study the rest of the year?
Notes I made about our subjects:
Now, that you have made sure you are including all the subjects you want to in your homeschool, decide if you are happy with the curriculum you have picked for each area.
Is there any curriculum that you will finish early? Will you just start the next level or take the rest of the school year off from that subject?
Is there any curriculum you want to change?
If so, what problem you are hoping to solve with the next curriculum? Think about your budget and whether you can afford to change curriculum right now.
You may want to consider switching to a class online or outside of the home if a subject is not going well.
Final Homeschool Checkup
Are there any other changes you want to make for the second half of your homeschool year?
More or less field trips?
Join a co-op? Or leave a co-op?
Take some classes outside of the home or change up extra-curriculars?
Remember, the goal of this Midyear Checkup is to be as intentional as possible about creating a successful second half of the school year. It is NOT about creating the perfect homeschool environment. We all know that does NOT exist!
Download the Checklist