I have been homeschooling for over 15 years now. There is one thing I always do before making any serious plans for the next year. Most parents skip this step and I think it is the most important step to having a really successful year.
Before choosing curriculum, or planning anything really, I ask everyone about these 3 questions...
What did you love about homeschooling (or being in school) last year?
Get details! How did it make them feel? Was what they were studying interesting? Did they like how they studied it? Where they studied it? Who they worked with? Success leaves clues. Figure out what was working and why. Ask yourself and your spouse, too. What you find out could lead you to make very simple tweaks that could make this year absolutely amazing!
What was not so great about last year?
This question could also unearth some easy to fix issues. For us, one of our kids did not like when the dog was in the middle of things when we were working. Easy fix, but one even my child did not realize until we talked about it on purpose.
What do you want to work on this year?
This is the biggie for me! You will be amazed at the answers. When your child is empowered with their own education, they know when they need more in math or extra reading time. When they own it, they don’t fight you either. That is what we are aiming for in the long term, aren’t we? My goal always is to help create young adults who will make great choices about their lives. This is such a perfect place to start giving them a way to figure out what they want and need.
I often throw out one other question. Do you want to homeschool this year or would you like us to explore other options? I am still amazed that every year they choose to homeschool and thanked us for allowing them that option. This helps get rid of the grumbles about what they think is going on in the schools too. One of my children did opt to go to the local high school for choir, drivers ed, and speech one year. It was a great experience for her and us. It wasn’t one I would have thought of either.