Every January I usually set aside some time to take “inventory” of where our “little” home school is at. I often start with examing if I am still meeting the codes or requirements for homeschooling in Georgia. There are several great web sites to help you with this.
I also use January as my month to determine what I will do for standardized testing. Our state requires testing at least every three years. I typically have them tested each year so that I can work on any deficiencies that the test may uncover. I also use the test to help me make decisions about next year’s curriculum. I use the test as a tool in conjunction with what I see them doing daily. I try not to put too much emphasis on any one method of assessment. I know many homeschooling families that are very opposed to these tests, but I feel that I need this type of testing. At times, I am so close to “my situation” that I can’t see the “big picture” of my child’s education. The danger with standardized tests is the emphasis that is put on them and the fact that it is a measurement of a child during a very short period of time. This is exactly why the test should simply be used to give parents a better idea of the “big picture”, and not solely relied upon to make decisions.
Third, I usually try to “review” the curriculum that we are currently using. This kinda gives me a little January pick me up – if I hate the curriculum that we are using – I can decide to dump it for next year! This gives me consolation in finishing up the current year with something I dislike. I will typically ask myself these questions about the curriculum: Is it keeping the children interested? Is it meeting their educational needs? Is it too hard or too easy? Was I able to organize and manage it well? You can use these questions in conjunction with the results of their standardized tests to make decisions about the next year.
During this month – I try to get an idea of where I want to go with our curriculum for the next year – this allows me to keep my eye out for sales and discounts. Everyone loves to save money – especially me! But this also enables me to order or pick up what we need for next year a bit at a time – Definitely a budget saver!
Just remember – as a home educator you have the right to determine which curriculum you feel meets your child’s needs the best… and enjoy every precious minute you have with those children. They will be grown and gone before we know it!