Evaluating Your Homeschool Year with a Positive Lens

a bright red saucer with a mug of coffee sits atop a spiral bound notebook

We’re getting close to the finish line! The air is starting to smell like summer, and the cluttered bookshelves are looking more neglected as we’re spending more time outdoors with our composition notebooks in the sunshine. Even if you homeschool year round, the spring gives an aura of finality to a school year. Outdoor activity speeds up while academics slow down. The excitement for summer mounts day by day!

Sometimes we homeschool mamas get a anxious at this time of year. We might be looking at our physical or mental lists with dismay at all the unchecked boxes: 

  • We didn’t get to Shakespeare again this year.
  • I guess we’ll start cursive next year.
  • That box of science supplies still sits unused in the homeschool cupboard.

It's easy to neglect evaluating what we did accomplish while we fixate on all of our deficiencies!  Because I'm a lot like you, dear reader, I know that you did a lot of great things. Here are ways that to evaluate what an awesome year you had.

List The Books You Read

This might be tricky, but make a list of all the books you read this year. Go back through your lesson planner, ask your kids, look at your library account, and check over your bookshelves. Reading is learning! Looking at a meaty list of books will buoy your pride in what you’ve covered this year. 

Purge Curriculum

While you are going through your piles of curriculum, deciding what to reuse for younger children, what to resell and what to add to your home library, note the sheer volume of material you covered with your children. Think about all of the topics and fields of study you covered: what periods of history, what branches of science, what forms of literature, etc.

It's okay if you didn't thoroughly cover everything under the banner of physics. (That's impossible anyway!) You will come back to the topic in future years! You laid down another layer of learning for future exploration. You are making forward progress.

Go Through Your Phone Photos

Evaluating Your Homeschool Year with a Positive LensWe have our mobile phones with us all the time, right? And we’re usually using them to take photos of the fun things we do with our kids. Go through your images, and sort them into a folder specifically for the school year. Pretty soon you’ll have a collection of photos that visually document what you’ve done with your little learners this homeschool year.

If you’re on Instagram, scroll through your feed for the year and tag your field trip and activity photos with a unique hashtag. (I might use #hutchinsonhomeschool2015-16, for example.) Then look at everything you've labeled with that particular hashtag and beam with pride. You did all of that this year!   

Ask Your Children

Sometimes our kids have a better recollection of the highlights then we do. Their thoughts offer a unique perspective on a yearly homeschool evaluation. Ask what was their favorite field trip, book, project, period of history, etc. Besides celebrating all of your milestones, you will learn valuable insights about what made the biggest impression on them.

Also ask what their least favorite things were. This may seem negative, but often this discussion will remind you of strides that chidren have made over the course of nine months. A reluctant writer may still dislike composition, but he has managed to write quite a few high quality essays anyway. That's a victory to happy dance for!

Take Notes

Look at the notes you made throughout the year on whatever kind of homeschool planner you use. If you’re already at the end of the year and you haven’t recorded anything, just use your personal calendar or the teacher guides in your curriculum to jog your memory of what you’ve done. Write it down and visualize the great things you’ve covered.

Evaluating your accomplishments will help you see what you’ve done well and what you can work on next year. Use this list as you shop for new books for next year too. Celebrate the things you did well, and set reachable goals to set out to do the things you want to for next year.

Request a BookShark Catalog

About the Author

AliciaAlicia Hutchinson is the homeschooling mom to four.  She and her children love reading and history and exploring outside. They are just settling into their new home in the Minneapolis area, where they just relocated from North Carolina.

You can read more about Alicia and their homeschooling adventures, current projects, and thoughts on motherhood at her blog Investing Love.