The buzz about choosing new curriculum for the next school year is already around me, tempting me into the world of All Things New and Shiny. Meanwhile, I'm just trying to make sure we finish the math books by June!
Although the thought of new books makes me giddy, finishing a school year and planning for the next one can feel overwhelming. Everything sounds exciting. How do you wade through the myriad of options to make a good curriculum decision?
Before you enter a buying frenzy, I encourage you to take a few moments to reflect on this past school year. Looking back to look ahead is always helpful as you set new goals.
Make sure you plan for the school year you actually want to have. Here are 7 key questions to help you evaluate your year and lay plans for the coming one.
Love to learn?
1. Are you and your children enjoying the learning process?
2. Are you making progress?
You can monitor progress through several avenues:
- your own observations of work from the beginning of the year to now
- conversations with your children about what they are learning
- math and reading assessments
- standardized tests (though those tests are often not the best markers of what a child has learned)
What's Your Style?
3. What have you learned about your children's learning styles? How do they seem to take in information and remember it? What motivates them?
4. Where did your children excel? How can you build on these areas and maximize them?
5. Where did they struggle? What resources can you bring in to alleviate and help?
Independence? Schedule Changes?
6. What level of independence are your students ready for as they study? Who needs the most attention? Which subjects require more one-on-one help? Do you need to make some adjustments in your schedule to make the days flow more smoothly?
Top 5 Goals?
7. If you could pick 3-5 areas to focus on this year, what would those be? They may deal with academics, character, experiences, or other types of growth. Think about each child and consider what they need most next year socially, spiritually, academically, etc. How can you plan your year to prioritizes those specific goals?
Once you've taken some time to reflect, grab your spouse and spend some time thanking God for what He has done in your family over the last year, and make goals for your new year. When my husband and I discuss this each year, it usually involves ice cream late at night so we look forward to these Very Official Meetings.
Pray for your family and the opportunity you have to invest in your children. Then start looking for the curriculum that fits your learning/teaching style, values, and goals.