Like you, I spend at least some time reading homeschooling blogs. Whether things are working or not, I’m always looking for new, fresh ideas to either improve things or totally revamp them if they’re not working.
I read this blog the other day. It’s about having parent-student conferences with your kids. I’ve done something similar to that over the years, but usually in the form of having my kids write down or tell me some things they want to learn about and then figuring out how I can work that in.
After reading that blog, though, I’m inspired to try something different this year. My oldest is starting high school, and despite the fact that he still tends to be unfocused and forgetful, as well as disorganized, I think it’s important to start putting more of the responsibility for his education on his shoulders, as well as teaching him more about taking that kind of responsibility. My youngest is even worse, but I think it can’t hurt to go ahead and start with him as well.
I like the idea of doing this because it’s more of an interaction, rather than a simple matter of them telling me what they want to learn and then I take that and run with it. They can still tell me what they want to learn, but I can have them help me and work with me to figure out what that looks like: are we incorporating that into other subjects, is it a subject all its own, how deep do we want to go, are there field trips to take, websites to visit, etc. They can not only make their own suggestions for how to do things, but do some of the research to figure out how and what we can do.
I also like the idea of checking in with them periodically over the course of the school year. I often find myself reevaluating midway through the year, and trying to decide – alone – what’s working and what’s not, what we need to change and what we need to focus more on. But again, with one in high school and the other in middle, I think it’s time to start including them more and hearing their thoughts on where they think we are at that point.
I may be a bit late to the game in including them like this. I don’t know. I do know that until now, they’ve both been so unfocused that to try to include them like this would have been far more trouble than it was worth. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not saying my kids are trouble. But with their lack of focus and difficulty in organizing their thoughts and expressing themselves, I know how it would have turned out before now. I would have been frustrated, they would have been frustrated, and we all would have walked away, irritated with each other and with no new information exchanged, and reluctant to sit down and try to do it again later. By waiting until now, I’m hopeful that we’ll all have enough patience, and that they’ll be able to stay attentive and organize their thoughts well enough that we can have a productive meeting that leaves all of us feeling like we’ve accomplished something.
I’m also planning to incorporate some discussion about the future with my oldest. I not only want to discuss how he’s doing with his academics, but also what he plans, or at least thinks he plans, to do in the future, so that we can plan accordingly. Periodic discussions will be hugely helpful for him, I think, allowing us to realize when we’re off track and get back on track before we’re too far gone.
I don’t know for sure yet that this will benefit us, but I definitely think it’s worth trying.
What do you think? Is it something you’d try, or do you feel that you need to be in complete control over things? Have you tried it before, and if so, how did it go for you? If you wouldn’t do it, what would you do instead?