I plan the bulk of our homeschool curriculum once a year in July, but each January it is time for our mid-year review. The whole process of our mid-year review takes only 1-2 hours. The intent of our mid-year review is to look at the following with regards to our home school:
What has been working well?
What needs to be improved?
What needs to be removed from our curriculum?
Is there anything new to focus on?
What specific needs does each child have over the next few months?
I write out my own reflections on the previous semester, and then think about each child's current interests and ways that I can direct our schooling to make the most of those interests. Then I meet up with each child for individual mentoring conversations to discuss their goals and desires, needs and wants. Through the process of mentoring conversations, I am able to give my children the opportunity to take part in the direction of their educations.
This gives my children a sense of ownership over their own educations.
2018-19 Midyear Review: Things that Are Working Especially Well
Astronomy Unit Study
Last semester, our science focus was on Astronomy. I specifically implemented a combination of astronomy field trips, hands-on activities, videos, and read-alouds. We went to star observations at the local university and astronomical society, built a paper model of the solar system, watched a few space-related movies, and read lots of astronomy books, including biographies of famous astronomers.
This combination of approaches and materials seemed to be really engaging for my kids. We finished our Astronomy; for the coming semester, we will be focusing on Earth Science. I will make sure to include a similar combination of field trips, hands-on activities, videos, and read-alouds since that works well for my kids.
When we need a little physical activity, or just a chance to re-connect, my kids and I have been doing AcroYoga. My son, especially, loves AcroYoga and generally requests to do it a couple times every week. AcroYoga has been a great addition to our homeschool this year.
2018-19 Midyear Review: Things That Need to Be Changed
Our schedule has been too full for the last few months. With lots of field trips, play dates, classes, and other activities, we have not had enough time to be at home and do our usual school routine. While we have enjoyed the many worthy activities we've been doing, our life has felt hectic and my kids have complained that they missed being able to do more school time (wherein they take turns choosing which curriculum resources/activities we will use).
Additionally, my husband has been struggling with some health problems lately, so I have needed to shoulder more household and familial responsibilities. Plus, I have recently joined the Board of Directors for the Raw Milk Institute. I've been feeling like my own time and energy are stretched too-thin.
I am going to purposefully reduce our scheduled commitments and outside-the-home activities for the coming semester. This will give us a chance to focus more on our school time, relaxation time, and family relationships.
2018-19 Midyear Review: Notes from Mentoring Conversations
My kids each chose to fill out a homeschool compass for the coming semester, to aid us in discussing their current homeschool needs and wants.
11&1/2 year old daughter Alina
Alina identified the following needs and areas of emphasis for the coming months:
Alina needs to have more time with Mom, more free time, and more board-game time.
She enjoyed our family Christmas recital so much that she wants to continue to learn songs on various musical instruments (such as glockenspiel, violin, and dulcimer).
She aims to practice cursive writing more.
She wants to have a Mom & Me Book Club.
Nearly 9-year-old son Ian
Ian identified the following needs and areas of emphasis for the coming months:
He needs to have more foot rubs, school time, board-game time, and reading time.
He aims to learn more tricks on his scooter and bike.
He is excited to try the local homeschoolers Parkour class.
Importance of Midyear Reviews
For the last few years, I have found the mid-year review process to be an important part of our homeschooling. It gives me good insight on where to focus in the coming months, and it reinforces that my kids are in charge of their own educations. It takes only 1-2 hours, and is definitely time well-spent.