It might sound a bit odd to write up homeschooling goals in January. However, I think it is a perfect time! We do “school” all year, and I find that I am constantly revisiting my plans for the year. I would love to say that I am great at picking out the entire curriculum and planning out the year, but I have come to realize it is better to go with the flow. We add in things and we take things away, I will realize that a book is just not doing it for us, or the kids want to spend a large amount of time learning about bugs and I have to supplement. Making new goals when we turn the calendar is always a good idea for me!
We love projects. I am assuming that most kids do. Projects mean freedom and also typically include a certain amount of mess (are my kids the only ones drawn to all that is messy?!). Last year I read Project Based Homeschooling. I really enjoyed the book, although aimed more at classrooms than homeschoolers. The underlying information of allowing kids to fully explore something that interests them, giving them the tools to do it, and encouraging them to finish what they start is extremely appealing to me, and also seems to work well for my kids. However, we haven’t done nearly as many projects as I would like.
It seems like the rest of school gets in the way. I am not entirely sure how to fix that. I am still planning on the kids doing math and reading and writing, but figuring out a way to do it in connection with their projects is a little difficult – mainly because my kids are still so young and need my help. I can’t send them off to research something when they are learning how to read. Instead, I think I will try and dedicate specific time in the day, or maybe weekly, for the kids to work on their projects. I want them to be available to the kids whenever the mood strikes, so we will probably leave them out on the large table we have in their play room, which will mean it is out of my sight as far as mess goes!
In addition to projects, I want to work more on units. The kids are frequently coming up to me asking about something, this morning it was the life of a bug, and often I give a quick answer to the question and move on to “more important school things.” But, I definitely don’t want to kill that curiosity. I think that in conjunction with the projects, units would be a good idea. It can still be the “interest-led” learning that I love for my kids, while being able to focus on certain ideas or subjects that they have questions about. I don’t want to necessarily direct projects, but at 5 and 3 I am sure they could use a little encouragement.
OK, so attitude is probably not what you think. I am not talking about a “bad attitude” towards school or the kids. Nope, I am really talking about my attitude on how the kids work through school. Oftentimes I find myself telling Emma the “right” way to do things, and I am trying to stop that. Obviously I know there is a correct way to write letters and 2 + 2 only ever equals four, but I need to let my girl do her own thing instead of immediately jumping in to tell her the way to do it. If she fails, and asks for help, that is one thing, but I should at least let her try! I do at some things, but I want to have a better attitude about this overall. She is learning and has to have the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.
What about you? Do you have goals for how the rest of your school year is going to go? Things you might want to change or mix up? home school, public school, private school, anything goes!