Year-end Homeschool Reflections

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I can’t believe how fast this year has flown!  My kids all have their birthdays in a wad (November, 2 in December, and January) so it seems like all of a sudden they’re getting older.  As the end of the year approaches rapidly, I’m taking stock of how our year has gone, what I’m happy with, and what I want to change.

First off, it’s tempting to just look at academics, but honestly the most important strides we can make is in our character (mine too!).  While I don’t expect that my children will be perfect, I do expect them to progress in virtues.  For example, when I overhear my 10-year-old son asking his two-year-old sister which book she wants him to read to her, it makes me feel happy inside (not so much when same boy won’t play nicely with his eight-year-old brother).  But I know there are good moments and bad moments.

And the same goes for academics.  My oldest (10) has progressed so much in his reading and his vocabulary is amazing; his spelling, well, we might not talk about that, hehe.  But we’ll get to that. His math has really improved this year, also, with the use of some special programs, and I’m pretty sure he knows more history than most adults.  Of course, there are areas he doesn’t excel at, but that goes for all of us. No one is an expert on all subjects.

I completely changed how we homeschool this year, and I have to say I really like it. I realized I needed to just simplify everything and focus on the bare essentials.  For me, that means we heavily focus on reading and math mastery. Like Andrew Pudewa with IEW says, you can master those two subjects. Everything else should have a broad exposure, but you can keep learning your entire life on them.

And that’s exactly what we’re doing. My older son is a voracious audio book listener, and he has listened to a huge selection of wonderful books. Just recently he finished The Lord of the Rings and Journey to the Center of the Earth.  He loves adventure stories and devours all that information. It’s really funny sometimes when he pops out with a piece of information we hadn’t realized he’d learned!

We’re trying to work through learning disabilities with my younger son, and though I struggled to teach him to read, it has finally clicked!  Why?  Did I just keep plodding away and doing the same thing?  No, I kept reading about Dianne Craft and feeling this definite pull to try her right brain therapy with my son. It was a big investment for me in both time and money. But it paid off HUGE!  My son went from knowing zero words to reading his first page in two days of starting the program. Now one month later he’s 2/3 through the first 100 page reading book and telling me he loves to read. That’s in 1 month!  At the same time, I started my almost 5-year-old daughter on the program, and she has finished the first book.

So, my recommendation is get the tools you need to do the job. Would my son eventually have learned to read without this specialized program?  Maybe. But this took the frustration and stress out of it. Would my 4-year-old daughter be reading without it?  I doubt it. Does that matter? Well to her it does!  Because she loves it and pushes herself. I don’t want to push my children beyond what they can do, but at the same time I don’t want to hold them back.

Evaluate where you’re at right now. Are you happy? Are your kids thriving?  Do they lack something that would be a firestarter for them?  Only you and your kids can answer these questions, but I know for us just stepping back and changing the way we do some things has made ALL the difference!  It’s not too late to modify and make this year great!


Jenny Underwood is a wife to her amazing husband of 21 years and 4 lively children. She blogs at where she is learning that blessings aren’t always convenient.


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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).