They say a little introspection is good for a person, it is an even better practice for a process. A process like homeschooling! At the end of every school year, I meet with each kid (usually on their birthday day out) and have a little chat. It is similar to how you would do an annual review at a job. It gives us some valuable information about our children’s mindsets and their hopes and dreams. While we don’t always do exactly what the kids wish, it does often inform at least the extra things we focus on throughout the academic year.
1)What do you want to learn this year? I feel like you have to start with the blanket question even though you rarely get many answers to it. My kids this year gave some interesting answers. My 14-year-old wants to be a better storyteller. She did a writing course this year but she felt that focused on grammar and now she wants to focus on the art of storytelling.
2)What is 1 historical or scientific event or time period do you want to learn more about? I know that may sound like an odd combination but science discoveries and events often go hand in hand with history. I got a unique answer this year from my 12-year-old son when he said he wants to learn more about the Crimean War. The only thing he knows about it is where it took place. This won’t inform the year’s history but I will put together some books and a little unit study on the Crimean War. I don’t know much about the Crimean except Florence Nightengale and Gallipoli so I am excited to learn about it too.
3)What skill do you want to learn? Skills can be academic or not. Both girls want to learn how to speak Spanish. I also have 2 children who want to learn to make dinner. We also have a smattering of bike riding and photo editing too. These may not all seem academic but they are life skills and are just as important.
4)What is something about school you didn’t enjoy this year? This is their opportunity to voice their complaints. Sometimes your response may be the fact you know they don’t like something but it is just a hard fact. But you may hear something that you can adjust or compromise on. You may also hear something that you didn’t see coming. This is how I found out that my 2nd oldest has been struggling with the process of writing more than the answers back when she was in 2nd grade. I hadn’t realized just how much she was struggling and so we were able to work on some things that really helped her that year.
5)What is one thing (or business idea) you would like to make this year? We are big believers in entrepreneurship and creation, so we ask this as a hope, not a demand. Many years I get an “I don’t know” but sometimes… I actually have some that want to write more blog posts and monetize them.
5 simple questions can give you a lot of insight into the minds of our children. Insight is the thing I think that we parents hope and pray for more than anything. It also can help give you a much happier and more educational academic year!
This is part of my series on 10 Days to a Better School Year series! Check out the rest of the series and all the bloggers who are participating in the 10 Days of Tips series.