How Do You Measure Success (In Homeschool/Homepreschool)
Posted by homeschoolmentormom on February 4, 2012
(Note: This is a previous post that I updated.)
This morning I wrote a submission for a blog that asked the question, “what makes your home learning method unique?” The question had three parts to it:
1) What makes your method unique—how does it differ from mainstream, curriculum-based methods? (Using the 4R’s as the foundation to all I do.)
2) Why did you choose this path? (Brief answer: Because I believe in a balanced, whole-child approach that makes the main thing the main thing–versus methods that concentrate almost exclusively on one area of child development—usually academics.)
3) How do you measure success?
Number one and number two were self-evident and easy for me to answer. The last question, “how do you measure success?” was way more difficult. Here is my (final) answer:
Like most other homeschool moms, I write out yearly goals for my children, However, the real measure of success is not as simple as a completed math program or a high test score. Instead, I ask myself the following questions:
-Am I keeping relationships at the center of our home and our homeschool/homepreschool? Do I prioritize my time to reflect the fact that relationships (with God and with family) are the main thing?!
-Are my children growing in their relationship with the Lord? (Knowledge, understanding, wisdom, character, holiness?)
-Do my children want to please God?
-Do my children hunger after God’s presence/God’s Word?
-Is our parent/child relationship strong and growing? Do we really talk to each other (conversation–a back and forth proposition?)
-Are the relationships between siblings/extended families strong and growing?
-Do I spend time playing with my children (entering into their world?)
-Do I make the time for relationship-building activities?
-Is our daily routine helping our days run more smoothly?
-Has our routine helped us develop helpful habits?
-Can my children depend on the security of “what comes next?”
-Does my routine include short lessons alternated with play breaks?
-Have I included the “fun stuff” (art, music, nature walks, play, PE etc) in our plan, so they are not overlooked?
-Do my children have plenty of free time for creative play and outside play?
-Am I watching my children for signs of readiness before introducing something new (interest/curiosity, developing abilities, natural/independent learning?)
-Do I decide what to teach my children strictly according to someone else’s list or timetable (scope and sequence–“what’s expected,” age-by-age), or do I let my children’s own maturity/abilities/interests guide me?
-Do I follow my children’s lead when teaching something new—keeping lessons short and fun (game-based) and stopping if my children express frustration/disinterest? (Note: Balance this with the knowledge that as children grow older and their abilities increase, they will have to learn some things that they may not want to learn or may not be interested in. After all, who asks to learn long division?)
About Reading Aloud:
-Do we spend lots of time reading aloud and discussing what we read/have learned?
-Do we read a variety of different types of books aloud (depending on age: picture books, storybooks, biographies, poetry, historical fiction, non-fiction, etc?)
-Do we have a variety of different types of books available in our home for our children to choose from/read/browse through independently?
-When I read aloud to my children, do I take my time and enjoy it, too? Do I use expression (making silly sounds and different voices/accents as appropriate) or do I speed through, just to “get it done?” In short–do I make it special?
About Academic Goals:
-Are my children achieving reasonable (developmentally appropriate) learning goals, bearing in mind that the abilities of normal children vary greatly from child to child?
-Am I challenging my children without pushing them?
-Do I remember that most people expect far too much of young children, and not nearly enough of older children? Have I adjusted our expectations/learning styles/curriculum accordingly?
I could share lots of other things that I want my children to achieve—spiritual skills/knowledge, physical skills, skills related to specific learning/academic areas, life skills, etc….and as I stated, I do make yearly, detailed lists of these items for each child. But as I thought about how I really measure success, I realized that the main measure of my success as a homeschooling mom continues to be centered around the 4R’s. It seems to me that when the 4R’s are kept in mind, the rest falls into place naturally. With the 4R’s as a foundation, the needs of the whole child are addressed (including academics.)
Yes, I definitely believe there is more to measuring homepreschool/homeschool success than simply measuring what our children “know” academically (ABC’s, 1, 2, 3’s, test scores, etc.) True, test scores are important, but they aren’t “the main thing.”
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matt. 6:32
Live the 4R’s!
© 2010, 2012 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.