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Awe, the holidays. Time with family, time to slow down and appreciate all the important things that we have in our lives. Usually the last week of December is a quiet time in our house. We often, then find some time to get together, as a family, and do some talking about family things and our homeschool.
Once January rolls around, we are looking towards the new year and thinking about our goals for our homeschool, and how things have been going so far. Some years, we do a re-evaluation more formally. That is what we did one year, when my daughter was a senior in our homeschool.
That year, we sat down to do our winter reevaluation, going over the homeschooling courses and activities for we had done that year. Some of the courses and activities we definitely planned to keep, others we considered dropping or adjusting, if they were not such a good fit.
It felt good to work this out together. And by doing this, we energized our homeschool! Here's what we covered for our....
Senior Year Re-evaluation
Homeschool Course Goals - We talked about what needed to get done, in relation to college entrance requirements, for her last semester of homeschool.
One of my teen's colleges required either Physics or a math related course like Statistics. My daughter chose to do the physics, and we used SOS from www.aop.com for that. We liked the lessons in SOS, and the videos that they included in them.
When questions came up, my teen used their tutoring service, which was available by the 1/2 hour, but this was not free. We decided to look for other tutoring help online for the rest of the year. Along with that my daughter had English, social studies, and two electives to finish.
For English, we were doing our own homemade course in American Lit, which I will be sharing about more in another post. Anyway, it was going well. The hardest thing for my teen was learning how to do a detailed bibliography for her research paper.
|Making your own English Course|
For social studies, we used Oak Meadow, and we liked their American history course, and then picked activities from their curriculum that interested my daughter. I like their activities as the are very creative and worthwhile. They offer used curricula through Amazon, called Oak Meadow Seconds.
Our colleges wanted to see their applicants doing a solid year of study during senior year, so we added in two electives, even though she had enough credits already to graduate. One of these was video making, which was so FUN to help her with.
The other elective was also homemade, and we called it College Planner. I noticed that a lot of public school teens had a course by that name on their transcripts, so we decided to make one ourselves. Our colleges accepted this as a high school credit.
That way, my daughter earned credit for her SAT prep work and other college related activities, like working on her personal essay, filling out her applications, etc. We just kept track of all the hours, for one semester, and the credit was accepted by her college.
Balancing it out with PE, bible study, and down time for my daughter was critical.
Curriculum - Some curriculum we definitely planned to keep, such as our Switched On Schoolhouse (SOS) courses, from www.aop.com. We had made switches in math curriculum last year, from Teaching Textbooks to SOS. That helped her with math retention, as SOS had more repetition of key concepts, which was helpful for my teen.
Study Schedule - At this point, my teen drew up her own study schedule, based on a list of assignments that I gave her at the beginning of the week. This should help her prepare for college studies next year, when she will be even more independent.
Activities - Do we have enough, or do we have too much? We decided to not do one activity, Mock Trial, as things were just too busy. She also decided that irish dance was a little too much, and decided to drop that for the rest of senior year.
We continued with Youth and Government (Y and G), as it was my teen's favorite activity, and she loved learning about politics. She also could list it as a leadership activity on her college application.
My daughter's Y and G delegation was full of homeschoolers, and most groups meet at their local YMCA. Below, they are meeting to practice their debate skills.
Youth and Government is a YMCA sponsored activity that hosts a "mock legislature" every year, where teens gather at the state capital, from around the state. The teens write their own mock bills, debate them, and then work to pass them in their mock legislature in May. There are lots more leadership activities in my 100 High School Electives post.
After the intensity of all of this planning work, we piled into the car, and headed out for a road trip with our cameras.
It was a glorious, clear, blue sky day, and we wanted to take advantage of it. And going on a drive has been a great way for us to have 1on 1 "down time" together! We stopped by this beach....
This river was nearby....
I am hoping for many more excursions like this, with my senior this year.
It is such a wonderful way to be renewed, especially during the winter months.
And after the work of re-evaluating!
Update - My daughter, a junior in college now, is going to be doing an internship in politics, something she became interested in during her homeschool years. It will be so fun to see, re) how she likes it, and where that may lead her as far as a career goal. And we are still taking mini-road trips, I am so happy to report that!
So for another fun thing, she and my hubby went on a holiday boat trip recently, as is our tradition, for some dad and daughter time. I went to the neighborhood bonfire with church friends and saw them at the dock, afterwards....
After that, my daughter got this photo of us...
To encourage other families with college bound teens, I just finished my very first book called Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.
Homeschoolers are being widely accepted by colleges, especially when they have good course descriptions and quality reference letters coming along for the ride. How to do those, the way that the colleges want to see them, is included in this book:
Kindle is on Amazon
"Have you wondered about how to calculate your teen's GPA, how to assign credits, or how to create a transcript? It's all in there! The included downloads are wonderful resources as well. Thank you, Betsy, for writing this amazing book. Once again, you've set my mind at ease!"
.....from Kelly Maddeck, President of Washington State's Homeschool Support Association
I wrote this book in an effort to help homeschoolers with their questions about college prep and how to share their student's accomplishments with the colleges.
Do you like to do a winter re-evaulation? What do you do when you feel a need to be renewed? I really do love hearing from you all, in the comments. Connect with all the other great posts in the Homeschool Mother's Journal here.
Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,