How easy it is to jump on the bandwagon, being motivated and invigorated by the idea of a new year – a fresh start – to start setting goals for 2010. But… in order to set realistic, and appropriate goals we need to assess where we are at first. We cannot set goals for our children for the coming year without first assessing where they have come from in 2009 and where they are at right now.

Therefore, my first task for this week, and probably next (considering the other projects I have happening as well) is to write up reports for each of my children. A few years ago the Education Department Moderator asked us for a report on each of our children. I decided then and there, that this year, I was going to write this report from my perspective instead of trying to jump through hoops and write it from the Education Department perspective. This meant I wrote it from a lifestyle/discipleship perspective, showing the Department how such a whole life approach covered all the subjects (and more) that they were looking for. The benefits of writing / reporting from this perspective were many:

  • It didn’t take me too long because I was familiar with what my family had done over the year and I used my own language
  • It covered far more than academics – it used real life – which educators like, they just can’t replicate in the classroom
  • It gave me a solid assessment of the year (ready to set goals for the next year), it helped me see our successes, rather than the feeling of failures that sometime evades my thinking!
  • It was a great report to give to the grandparents (even though they are supportive it is good to put it out there in a tangible way)

In the end, the report wasn’t just for the Moderator – it was for our own benefit as well. (By the way, the moderator loved the format, loved the content so there was a bonus too!)

Though the Moderator hasn’t asked for another report I am going to use the same format now as I look back over 2009, and take note of what we worked on, what we achieved, what experiences we had, what did/what didn’t work and what curriculum/resources we used.

My Report Framework simply follows the structure of my website, Lifestyle Homeschool.

  • I start with acknowledging where my children are at in the Development of a Learner sequence. This gives context to any study or lesson we may approach.
  • I then go through each of the areas of life and learning (the scope); Relationships / Responsibilities / Intrapersonal / Talents / Academics. I use the subheadings on each of the web pages to help me think through what my children have done or achieved in the year.
  • I look back through my diary to see the lifestyle activities we participated in and assess how that affected my children’s learning and development. Camping, Ag Show, Christmas Carols, Grandparents visited, Cousin visited, etc… I may not include every such activity in my report but I need to consider it.
  • I look back through the photos as well, as this prompts my memory – not only on the activities but the skills learnt during those activities.
  • For my older children I look back over their assignment sheets and Reading log for any extra information. I could also flip through each of the children’s diaries (these are to-do diaries, not personal journals)
  • I list all curriculum and resources that each student used – providing links where applicable. I considered this going the extra mile for the Moderator’s sake; it doesn’t take long to do and yet it was greatly appreciated.

Going through each of this information for each individual child takes some time – about 4 hours each – but I end up with a report about 7-10 pages long (as I take a new page for each category of life). It is a substantial report!

This is the first step in me setting goals and plans for 2010 (though believe me, my head is buzzing with ideas and plans! I just have to hold off and do things in their right order.)

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