Picture of school supplies in front of window, green background with darker green text

Was your last homeschool year successful? And how do you know? How do you measure success in homeschooling? And why should you? Does it matter? To succeed in our homeschooling efforts, we should reflect on the finished school year and consider how we did.

Why should you do a review or assessment of your completed homeschool year?

After a long school year, sometimes our first thought is to put away all those textbooks and workbooks, hide any unfinished work, and head outside to enjoy the summer. But wait! Before you do that, take some time to consider how the last year of homeschooling worked out for you. I understand that reflecting on the previous year may not be on your mind right now. Summer is calling your name, and there is so much to do! If it’s any help, you could do all this reflecting outside next to the pool! (Or beach, lake, or wherever your summer happy place is!) I’m sure you are asking me, in your head, why? Why do I need to think about this now? Let me give you some reasons.

How will you know if you succeeded at homeschooling if you don’t assess the year?

Of course, we all want to succeed at homeschooling. But how will you know success if you never measure, analyze, or even consider it? Consider this your homeschool mom performance review. Did you live up to the desired standard? If yes, good for you! If not, then why not? How can you improve your performance?

We can learn from our mistakes.

We are imperfect; therefore, we make mistakes, even in our homeschooling efforts. But don’t let those mistakes or failures define, hinder, or defeat you. Instead, learn from them. Let them act as challenges to you to do better. Learn from those mistakes or disappointing results.

This assessment provides a basis or standard of where to start for the next school year.

This review or assessment will provide a starting point for the fall. When we understand where or how we didn’t quite measure up to our standards, we know where to improve. Understanding what didn’t work out this past year gives you a head start on your planning for the fall.

Why should you do this assessment now?

Do this thorough review now while everything is fresh in your mind. If you wait until later in the summer, you will most likely have forgotten some critical things. Hint: Write down the things you were not satisfied with this past year so you have them to reflect on.

What should you look for in your assessment?

As you begin your school year review, you should be specific and targeted in your thinking. What things matter to you the most about homeschooling? What are your priorities in the homeschooling world? Those are the primary things you should consider.

Did you meet your goals?

When we have predefined goals, it is easier to determine whether we met them. So, did you have any goals for your children this past year? Did you write them out so you can easily look back on them? Did you meet those goals? If not, did you meet any of them?

Did your kids make progress?

The most important thing we should look for as homeschooling parents is whether or not our kids made positive progress. So, even if you didn’t meet all the academic goals, did your kids make progress? Are they better readers than they were a year ago? Do they have better math skills than when they began the school year? If you see progress, then celebrate. Hurray for all of you!

Did you complete the material you hoped to complete?

Did you adequately finish all the material you hoped to complete this past school year? Please note that I did not ask if you completed every textbook or workbook! I went to public school as a child, and I am sure we never finished every book! The real question is if you finished what you planned to finish. Did you stay on track with your plans?

Sometimes, life happens, and all our planning goes out the window. I am not shaming you for not completing your plans! I want you to think about whether you did, and then, if not, consider why you didn’t finish. Once you know how that worked out, you can better plan and prepare for the following year.

So, your year didn’t go as planned. Does that mean you are a failure?

You are not a failure! Get that out of your mind right now! Since when has life gone precisely the way we planned it to go? I must have missed those lessons somewhere because there have been many times when things didn’t go according to plan. (my plan!) Sure, we can be disappointed when our homeschooling doesn’t work out how we intend it to, but that does not mean you have failed!

Look at any failures or disappointments as learning opportunities.

Thomas A. Edison
Gena Showalter
Johnny Cash

You are not a failure! As you look at your disappointments from this past school year, see them as learning opportunities. Look at any mistakes you made as part of the instruction manual on how not to do something. Remember, your past (including this past school year) does not define you. We can learn from our past to rise above any perceived failures.

Don’t let those mistakes discourage you from continuing to homeschool!

Have you ever had a perfect teacher who never made an error in anything? No? Neither have I. We tend to be extremely hard on ourselves, placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves and then being overcome with guilt and sorrow when we fail to meet those expectations. Don’t guilt-trip yourself into quitting as a homeschooler. Readjust those expectations, seek help and support from someone you trust and respect, and keep on! Homeschooling is hard sometimes – accept that and go on!

Why did you “fail” in certain areas?

Why did you fail to meet your expectations or homeschool goals this past year? Was it because of you, or were circumstances out of your control? Understanding the reasons behind our perceived “failures” helps us cope better and learn what we need to change.

Did you not plan well, fail to homeschool consistently, or become lackadaisical with your schedule or routine? That’s on you. And you can do something about that.

Did you face unexpected circumstances during the last school year that caused major disruptions to your family, health, schedules, and well-being? Those are not on you! And that’s okay. You can only do your best – you are not supermom; you are human like the rest of us.

Seek grace, comfort, strength, and forgiveness from our almighty and loving God

We fail at something every day. And yet, our loving God never gives up on us. He constantly lifts us, supports us, and gives his grace to us. So, learning from his example, we should do the same for ourselves and others.

Lamentations 3:22, 23 (KJV)
Psalm 42:11 (KJV)

So now what? Start planning for the next school year.

You now have a starting line for next year. Make the most of your planning.

Use the findings and conclusions from your school year review as the basis of your plans for the next school year. Consider them as your base or foundation for the upcoming school year. Remember, all your disappointments or missed goals from last year are learning opportunities. Make the most of them!

List what needs to change and how you plan to do that. Be specific in your lists!

Are you a list-maker? I am! Doesn’t it feel great to cross something off your list? Each time you can check an item off your list, you feel accomplished! So, let’s build some accomplishments as you begin your fall planning.

Start by listing things you found from last year’s review that you need or want to change. Then, for each of those changes you want to make, write specific goals, plans, or action steps that you intend to use to implement your changes.

Next, you should list your goals for the next school year. What do you want your children to accomplish? Where do you want to see the most progress? And how do you intend to get from point A to point B? Having pre-established goals helps you determine progress and success. These goals will be your measuring and assessment standards for the end of the next school year.

Yogi Berra
Benjamin Franklin
Fitzhugh Dodson

Begin now to plan and prepare for your next successful year of homeschooling.

First, as we mentioned earlier, set those goals for next year.

Then, decide on your textbooks, workbooks, and any other curriculum you may need. Go ahead and order them! Don’t wait until the last minute because your suppliers will likely be swamped with orders. Get those orders in early. (Ahem, spoken from experience.)

What additional learning resources do you want to use this year? Locate those, source them, order them, find them – whatever you need to do. Are they materials from your library? Will you borrow something from a friend? Let me encourage you to figure out as much as possible before you need the materials!

Hey – I have something for you! A Free Resource Tracker to help you keep track of all those textbooks, workbooks, and additional education materials. Get your copy here!!      

light green background resource tracker mockup

List the school supplies you and your children will need for the upcoming year. That way, you’ll be armed with your shopping list and ready as soon as the back-to-school sales begin! Just a suggestion: if crayons or colored pencils are on your list, spend the extra dollars and get the quality brand. You and your children will be so much happier with them.

Even though summer is here, and the last thing you want to think about is more schoolwork, I encourage you to take some time to review your last year and start planning for your next year of homeschooling. Review and assess while your memories of it are still fresh. And start planning now so you don’t end up in a last-minute panic at the end of the summer!

William A. Ward

Happy Homeschooling and Happy Summer!

Carol Rhine Rhine Home School Services

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