Four Things to Evaluate in Your Homeschool Before the New Year Starts

I love the week between Christmas and New Years Day. We aren’t doing school. Usually Jason is off for at least part of the week. The kids enjoy just hanging out and enjoying Christmas presents. I try to take it easy and have a break myself. But one thing I do try to make time for as the new year approaches is to evaluate how things have been going and consider what’s going well and changes I want to make in the new year.

The new year is a time of promise, a blank slate, a new start. And even though we homeschool on a traditional school schedule, the start of a new year is a great time to evaluate what’s working, what’s not, and what things I may need to change.

Four areas of homeschooling to evaluate before the new year
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Do you want to take advantage of the start of a new year to reflect and make changes? As you head into a new year, take time to evaluate these four things.

Is your schedule working?

I don’t know about you, but too often for me I find that, although we homeschool, we aren’t, strictly speaking, at home very often. We’re running from co-op to social group to extracurricular activities. And in the midst of the hustle and bustle we aren’t getting much done in the way of actual schooling.

While I appreciate the value of learning and socializing with other homeschoolers, and while I do truly believe that learning can happen throughout everyday activities and not just during “school” time, I also know that life can get a little too busy. That’s why I like to evaluate our schedule at the start of the new year. Is it working? Do we need to cut out any activities? What changes, if any, do I need to make?

Do you need to make changes in  your curricula?

One of the awesome benefits of homeschooling is that we can adapt the curricula we use to fit our families and each individual kid. Even though we follow a traditional school schedule in our homeschooling, the changing of the year is a good time to evaluate our curricula to see if any changes need to be made.

Is your curricula working for you? If it’s not, consider a change. Sometimes you may want to scrap a curriculum entirely and sometimes you can just make adjustments in the curriculum. As a caution, before you make major changes, this post has some good tips that may help you to avoid an expensive mistake.

Are your lesson plans working?

How is your lesson planning system working? Do you have a system? A new year is a great time to make changes in your lesson planning system or to create a new planning system entirely.

Ideally, you want a lesson planning system that doesn’t leave you struggling for hours each week to make your plans. And you want a system that is easy to use, so that you can actually stick with it. If you’re struggling with this and know you need a change, check out Creating Homeschool Lesson Plans That Work, an ebook and free lesson planning system.

What behavior or academic needs do you need to address with the kids?

Homeschooling allows us to have one-on-one time with children who have academic needs. If you have a child who is struggling, use this evaluation time before the new year to come up with a plan to help. Maybe it’s a curriculum change. Maybe you’re doing too many other things and you need to focus on academics more for a time. If you need more information or help in homeschooling a student with specific academic needs, HSLDA has some great information on their website.

Although it’s great to have an opportunity to work on academics with some individual attention to a child who needs it, it’s also valuable to take time to focus on a child’s behavior one-on-one. Sometimes we’re hesitant to use “school time” to work on behavioral issues, but the hearts of our kids are even more important than their academic achievement. The season of change as we move into a new year is a great time to consider whether there may be a need for a focus on heart issues for a time.

Four areas of homeschooling to evaluate before the new year

As you enjoy some time of rest before the new year begins, take some time to evaluate these things in your own homeschool.

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