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With a pen, lesson plan book, and a cup of tea, I went to sit in the sun on a beautiful spring afternoon. We had just finished a term homeschool and I was about to complete end-of-term evaluations.
This is not an activity I have always done, but term evaluations have become an invaluable part of our homeschool routine. Before planning the next term’s details, I sit down to evaluate how the term went. Below are five of the reasons I make time to evaluate our school year.
5 Benefits of Term Evaluations
1. Reminds me to look beyond the academics
It is important to teach our children the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic), but there is so much more to education than academics. Educating the whole child also includes training in life skills, habits, character, and discipleship. We should help our children develop a love for learning and strive for excellence.
2. Helps me take a step back and see the big picture
Sometimes the curriculum needs to be tweaked or changed completely. Other times our schedule or habits might be causing stress that affects our learning time. Open-ended questions in the term evaluations help me look at the bigger picture and ask if our schedule is too busy. It also provides an opportunity to evaluate areas of strength and weakness in our curriculum, home environment, and habit development.
3. Allows me to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses as the teacher
Let’s face it, we, as the parent/teacher, set the tone of our homeschool. If I am struggling to maintain my habits such as timeliness or joy, I will probably see similar issues in my children. Questions in the reflections allow me to look at what I am doing well and areas I need to improve. I have found this to be so helpful and also great encouragement! Most of us can identify our faults quickly, but we often struggle to identify our strengths. When I answer these questions, I am prompted to look at both.
4. Provides an opportunity to celebrate
We do not always accomplish as much as I think we should but we can celebrate what we did achieve! For example, instead of finishing the book, we had deep discussions about ideas in the book that led to further study. Instead of clipping along in the math curriculum, my daughter camped out and mastered some concepts that had been a little shaky. These are huge accomplishments we should celebrate! If I were only evaluating test scores or checking off assignments I might miss these.
5. Helps me formulate practical action steps to move forward
The practical, Type-A side of me loves this last benefit of term evaluations. It’s great to look at all of these great benefits and be reminded to focus on educating the whole child, but if I don’t do anything about what I identified, what good will it do? Throughout the questions, I am prompted to identify specific changes I want to make. After completing the evaluation, I can make a list of these changes and determine how best to implement them into our homeschool.
Term evaluations should be an integral part of your homeschool routine.
They can help you maintain focus on why you homeschool and on educating the whole child. If you would like to incorporate term evaluations into your homeschool routine, I encourage you to check out The ABCs of Looking Back and schedule some time for a parent-teacher conference. You and your children will thank you.