What do you want to achieve during your school year? My number one goal was that my daughter would have an improved attitude. My second goal was that she would be more responsible. When she was in school, I would have to remind her to turn in her work and complete assignments. She lacked the intrinsic motivation to stay on top of her school work.
The first goal (an improved attitude) was realized in year one. It didn’t take long for her disposition to become more positive without her peer influences. I made it a point to add prayer, affirmations and journaling to her overall lesson plan. She now has a prayer journal that she writes in unprompted—on her own.
The second goal (exhibit more responsible behavior) was slowly realized and came to fruition fully in year two. For the most part, when she is assigned work, she completes it on her own. She sometimes gets agitated when I remind her, saying “I know, I know”. Responsibility extends beyond academics. I praise her when she helps with her younger brother, pays attention to cleanliness and just does what she is supposed to do.
It took longer to see improvement in the next goal. (improved writing and math skills) She still struggles with writing because of her hearing impairment. But her writing has improved. Her math skills have improved immensely. In school, she would often stare at her math assignments unable to even begin solving problems. Now she is knocking the problems out.
2. Decide how you will grade/ measure progress.
We work on a mastery method in math. That means she must remain on the concept until she is passing assignment with at least 80 percent accuracy. In school, they have an allotted time to work on each concept, whether a student grasps it or not, they move on to the next concept.
In other subjects like social studies and science we explore the concepts and lessons with less focus on mastery but to make sure it is introduced.
I assign reading and writing often. She has to write about the books she reads along with her structured writing curriculum.
In Bible Studies, we focus on scripture memorization, lessons and life applications.
3. Select your curriculum / tutors/ resources
During the school year she has private tutoring six hours per week; 3 days a week for two hours. During the summer she has tutoring two days per week. I listed my curriculum choices on another post. This is where you decide and explore what works best for your child.
4. What will your schedule look like?
Tennessee law requires homeschoolers to have instruction time 180 days a year for at least 4 hours a day. Yes, you read that correctly. A homeschool day can be as short as four hours. Most days our structured academic time is between five and six hours. In the summer, she has four hours of instruction at least three days per week. We take breaks here and there but for the most part, we homeschool year round.
5. Have fun but remain accountable.
Accepting complete responsibility for your child’s education is a huge task. We enjoy sleeping in and not having to participate in the hustle and bustle of the morning rush. We like being able to take mid-day trips to the gym to satisfy her P.E. requirements. We eat out for lunch while others are in school. But we get the work done too.
6. Connect with other homeschoolers. The Memphis homeschooling community is booming. There are groups you can connect with on social media. There are also co-ops, tutorials and support groups. Once I coordinated the standardized testing for the Memphis Homeschool Area Association. It was a very positive and eye opening experience. Many homeschooling parents assisted and participated as we worked together to provide a structured but low pressure environment to gage our children’s academic progress. I proctored the tests for the first graders. To see first-hand how smart and adept the children were reinforced my belief that homeschooling was indeed a viable education option.