Today's question over at The Homeschool Village is:
What grade would you give yourself and what grade did the kiddos give you!
At the end of each school year as I am filing away school papers and storing our books I take the time to do a survey with each of my kids. I ask them questions like:
- What was your favorite part of the school year?
- What did you like the least this year?
- If you could be the teacher what would you do differently?
- How would you make school more fun?
- Share with me a few things you learned this year?
And I also give each of them a strip of paper with the numbers one thru ten written down the length of the paper and a sticker. After explaining that ten means "I have the most awesome teacher in the whole world!" and one means "My teacher was terrible!" They always snicker at that one and then act like they are going to put their stickers there.
This year's surveys revealed that all of my kids loved our science and history lessons. Ben thought his math papers were too long, and Gavin thought math was just boring. Ben's suggestions were to have more breaks and less school days. Um, yeah, that's not going to happen, Ben. Gavin didn't think there were any changes we needed to make, and Luci felt the same way. They were all able to share a few things they learned. The rating strips clearly indicated that they all love their teacher and she was pretty awesome--with marks of two nines and a ten. High praise!
I am a little harder on myself, however. The grade I give myself, would probably be a B- or a C+.
The areas I always find that I need to improve are:
Organization--Implementing a filing system, or a way to keep up with the massive amounts of paperwork produced by homeschooling, isn't so hard. It's the follow through part that I get hung up on. The best filing system in the world won't work well if I let papers stack up in check-in boxes before I grade and file them. I'm doing things a little differently this year though, and so far it is working well. This is an area that I have to get right this year since I'll soon be heading into high-school territory. I can't imagine the nightmare that creating a transcript will be if I don't have paperwork in order.
Including the Fun Stuff--One of the advantages to homeschooling is being able to customize my kids education experience--to provide them with the right amount of information and give them fun and interesting ways to process and retain that information. The world wide web is overflowing with creative ideas to help homeschool parents do just that. By mid-year I'm finding that we are often so swamped with just getting through the core stuff that fitting in the notebooking, lapbooking, projects, and other experiences is next to impossible. I end up feeling guilty because out of the thousands of ideas out there, I might be using a fraction of a percent of them. I really want to start lapbooking with Luci this year because she just thrives on that kind of thing. My plan is to start slow!
Patience--Dealing with adolescent and pre-adolescent attitudes and five year old tantrums can wear me thin sometimes. When this happens it's easy to lose patience with my children. I never threaten to send them to school on the big yellow bus... but I can't say that thought doesn't cross my mind from time to time.