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I can say this is the hardest part for the new homeschool year preparation as children and parents are the only living subjects in the process. Preparing the curriculum, classroom, and schedule can be managed without any complain or protest from the objects. Parents and children are the main components of homeschooling. Therefor we need to be really serious with this preparation of the new homeschooling year.
Is it important for children to know about the change of the academic year? I would like to say that this is crucial. By knowing about the changing academic year, children will know and feel that they grow and change through that school year. They can get motivated to get more mature and to improve their habits and manners. Here are some preparation that can be done to get a better homeschooling year
Evaluating the previous year
This is a very beginning step of Children and parent preparation. For younger kids, you might make the discussion adjusted to their age or skip this proses at all. Parents can do their evaluation by themselves. For elementary age children, parents can ask about which part of homeschooling time that children love in the previous year. For middle and high school age, the discussion might be deeper. Here are some ideas of evaluation:
- Oral discussion with children and have some mind mapping with them.
- Drawing/scrapbooking the great moments in homeschooling last year
- Drawing/scrapbooking the terrible moments in homeschooling last year and the lesson(s) you can learn from it.
- Make a comic of some interesting moments in the school year.
- Make a table of comparison of how children have changed from the beginning of the last year to the end of last year.
This evaluation can be done at the end of the school year or in the middle of idle day in the holiday. Get the right moment for you to discuss. It doesn't have to be a long discussion.
The main purpose of this activity is to know how children see the last academic year so that you can proceed to the next both academic or family planning.
Discuss with children about the wish you have for the year and ask them about theirs.
It is like the end of the calendar year, I think. You might discuss with kids about their wish in their grade level (if you have) or simply in the next school year. Discussion should be adjusted to the children ages. they can be like:
- What activities do you wish to do?
- What do you want to achieve at the end of next year? (you might connect it with children's extra activities, talents and hobbies)
- Is there any place that you want to visit to learn something? (you might go more specifically)
- How do you wish your lessons to be?
Turning the wishes to be goals
From the wish previously mentioned and discussed, you might work further into a goal or target statement. It doesn't have to be too fabulous. Sometimes a simple little goal like wake up in the morning at 6am can be a great way to work for. Older children can give a self target toward their achievement in any field, like: in 6 months I have to be promoted to level 3 in swimming.
The goals don't only work for your children. You might also give example to them, like: mommy will not yell and scream in 3 months. Your children can give you a control.
Write down your goals on a piece of paper and stick it anywhere you might read a lot of times.
Working together decluttering the studying places and tools
How lucky homeschoolers are to be able to get classroom wherever we are. Our kitchen, our garage, our garden, and our toilet can be our classroom at home. It is very lucky if you have special room or place to sit down, read, and write. Otherwise, you should have a crate or a bookshelf to keep your children's works and tools. Wherever your classroom is, working together with children decluttering (any) “homeschooling mattes” will increase children's sense of ownership toward the learning properties.
Involving Children in the Scheduling Process
For older children, how do you decide children's learning time table? Do you make everything for them or do you negotiate with them? This our first year to get children involved in the scheduling process. It didn't happen as what I thought previously. I gave them choices of learning subjects and also the requirement of the government. I was very surprised that they expressed their opinion about their time table very seriously. I really hope that their maturity will grow as well.
Choosing the extra curricular activities
Every year we have an evaluation toward children's extra activity:
- What do they feel about their achievement in extra activities so far?
- What makes children love the extra or why do children want to join the activities?
- Do children still want to continue the extra or do they want to change with another?
We have never demanded too much about extra activities achievement as we give priorities toward enjoyment for the extra activities. As long as children love it, we just keep them in the activity.
Making a list for shopping and shopping together
To give a sense of readiness to start the new school year, involving children in making a shopping list can seize their holiday mode toward missing the school mode. That's what happen with us. It is very hard to get children leave their holiday mode to start the new school year. Shopping some stationery with some fancy things and experiment materials will make kids miss schooling days.
Briefing before the first day of the year
This is a ceremonial event for us. In the briefing, we disclosure our holidays, curriculum, time table, classroom features, stationary, field trip planning and other new features we have in the coming years. You might also remind them about some chores and routine. Doing briefing will help the children in the new year orientation so that they can start leaving the holiday mode and mood.
Bring Everything Into Pray
It is really great to start new homeschool year by going to church or your place of worship. If you cannot follow the mass or other religious ceremony in your place of worship, you can make a special family pray time to thank God for the pass academic year and to ask for blessings from God for the coming year. All of the planning won't be able to work without the mercy of God.
By preparing both children and parents physically and mentally, the new homeschool year is going to be more alive as everyone involved are going to be more enthusiastic in learning.
To celebrate the new academic year, 2014-2015, you might get a FREE COPY of Student Planner, Homeschooling Planner, and 80 pages of combo camping unit if you subscribe over to my blog, Blessed Learners.
Reading this post, you might be interested To read more about the series of 5 Days of New Homeschool Year Preparation, please click the picture bellow:
Adelien Tan is a mother of three awesome boys and a wife of a great husband. They are a home education family who live in Surabaya, Indonesia, where home education is still very rare. English is her foreign language, but She tries to use it in blogging.