Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Joy of Making a Plan Day 2 – Examine Your Student

Today is day two of our planning week. How did yesterday go? Did you get a general plan for when you will start and finish? I know it is difficult not knowing what the co-op schedule or the practice schedule will be come fall or even next spring. But reality is this: we can’t wait! If we used the excuse that we were waiting on this schedule or that schedule in order to make our own schedule then we would be waiting a long time! The beauty of making this schedule is that once you have a plan it is so much easier to be flexible, because you now know if you can or cannot do an activity. You know exactly when your scheduled times off will happen and yet, you can easily move a week around here or there.

I have my calendar completed with all the school days noted, vacations circled and holidays marked with happy faces. I know I have about a 4 week give or take on my schedule. This allows me such freedom to move things as needed. When I have a family emergency, I can easily take off that time without fear that we need to be completing school work. Instead we can focus on the matter at hand.

I had a friend that gave herself 5 personal days each school year. She used index cards. I use yellow sticky notes. I wrote “personal day” on each of my five sticky notes. I placed them on my calendar sheet. I allowed myself the freedom to use any one of my five personal days at anytime throughout the school year for any reason. These were not sick days nor were they field trip days. These were my personal days to use to allow myself a day off from teaching. Sometimes my wonderful husband would teach that day or we would simply take that day off for any reason whatsoever. It was like a little surprise I knew I could use at any time. This year, I am using them all at once – for the very last week of school. But…don’t tell my kiddos!

On to our assignment.


Student Assessment Sheet (Print one for each of your students)


This assignment will actually take a bit longer than just a day. You will use this sheet for probably a week as you consider each of your student’s strengths and weaknesses. Now, I want to caution you here. This sheet is for your use as you see fit. It is not something I have shared with my children when they were younger, but as they matured they each began to complete a copy in addition to my assessment.

I want you to think about your child’s strengths. What does your child enjoy doing? These strengths encompass all aspects of their precious lives. So include everything from “likes to organize toys” to “reading” to “public speaking” and “serving”. There is so much to include here that I want you to really spend some time thinking about each of your children as individuals. You might want to even ask your student what they think they are best or good at. You can write down their answers too.

Then I want you to think about the areas he or she needs to work on. Don’t we all have to work on something? God is trying to teach me something new every day! So consider all aspects of your child. Don’t make a list of things you want to “fix” this year. Merely see your child and address the things that need addressing and guide them.

While this might seem like a silly or unwarranted task, it is so important to address your child’s needs. This is so much more about parenting than simply homeschooling. Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to make your child the next “perfect homeschool student”. Enjoy your child right where they are, doing just what they are doing. Remember, this is your worksheet. Use this tool to your advantage.

And as a final reminder, I want to share with you the dangers of comparing our children to Susie Perfect’s children. Chip Ingram says that when we begin to make comparisons we have only two choices: superiority or inferiority. Neither of which are pleasing to God.

Enjoy your week of intense planning. I’ll be back tomorrow with another post and update you on our plans! You can always email me any questions you might have or post a comment.

Happy Planning!

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