I just finished Mystie Winckler's Homeschool Audit guide! I meant to do it sooner since we finished our 2015-2016 academic year over six weeks ago, but time got away. After completion, I feel this is one of those things that's better late than never. More importantly is to complete it before you start planning the upcoming year.
To get started, you should download the guide, then watch Myste's one hour workshop. If you watch the workshop, you'll want to download the chat log as well. If you don't have time for the workshop, the guide is quintessential. You can also read about Mystie's audit results here.
Auditing My Situation
My points seem a bit high at 42, which was interesting and relieving at the same time. As many other homeschooling moms, I have feelings of underachieving, like I'm failing my kids, and not doing enough. However, when I sat down and looked back at what we accomplished this year, I was amazed, scoring 16 points for each thing I taught separately....no wonder I'm exhausted! I will be looking at ways to combine subjects, foster greater independence, and possibly co-op some of these subjects for the upcoming year.
I also added 10 points for our struggle with dyslexia, which affects many areas of our homeschool. I scored 5 points for out-of-the-house activities including field trips, plays, Socratic Book Club, choir, art, and dyslexia tutoring. Ruben has since graduated from the Children's Dyslexia Center so this eliminates 2 days per week of running, which will be really helpful in the upcoming year.
Auditing My Year
Overall it was a solid year. I'm extremely pleased with Ruben's progression in reading and Riley's level of maturity in assuming greater responsibility within her studies. Both kids love history and literature so we will definitely continue to study most subjects using a living book approach.
One thing I need to work on is helping Ruben develop his interests, skills, and hobbies. In his free time, he's currently most interested in watching TV and spending time on the computer much to my chagrin. I will be looking for ways to redirect him, most likely by limiting screen time, so hopefully he can find a more constructive hobby of interest. A second area of struggle continues to be math.
Auditing My Schedule
Planning and scheduling are strengths for me. Because it's something I enjoy, I spend a great deal of time creating and organizing my plan. Unfortunately, I am not always the best implementer of my plan. However, having a printed plan, schooling four days per week, and giving Riley more independent studies worked out very well this year. We developed a habit of routine and the kids knew early on what was expected of them.
The problem is that I like to fit everything in a nice little efficient compact box. Sadly, due to the messiness of life, my best laid plans often run over the sides of that box. I love what Mystie said in the workshop about budgeting time. If you have three hours scheduled, then plan for five. This really resonated with me. In a perfect world, we could easily complete our scheduled plan in a short amount of time, but because of life's everyday interruptions...(two 3-year olds, being self-employed, etc.), I often felt pressured to hurry up and finish 'school' so life could take over. I will be sitting down to look at the specific time slots in our day in hopes of becoming more efficient and capitalizing on the best use of our time.
Auditing My Stuff
Most of our school stuff has a home so this wasn't a problem. We are fortunate to have a designated 'school room' on the back of our garage so I don't have to deal with school stuff throughout the house. However, being the bibliophile that I am, we have outgrown our space due to books. Now, you will never hear me say that one can have too many books, but I will say I don't have enough shelves/walls for all my books :) I need to find a way to either box some up and rotate or build more shelves. Truth be told, the clutter in our home is books and it actually felt stressful to me for the first time ever this year. Is there such a thing as book lover's anonymous?
Auditing My Flow
Because we educate using Charlotte Mason's method, which includes short lessons, time spent per subject is not an issue. Also, because we complete the bulk of our schooling in the morning in one chunk, there aren't a lot of transition issues. Although, I did find two big problems in this area. One being, getting Ruben started. He is not a morning person and really lacks motivation when it comes to academics because it's difficult for him...and no one likes to do hard things! This is a big part of why Riley asked for more independent studies. She likes to get up in the morning and get started on her work so she can have free time to pursue her other interests. As noted above, I need to work with Ruben on how to pursue a hobby.
The second struggle I found in this area is my need to follow-up to be sure that Riley has her independent work done before she goes off to 'play'. There were several times I found her doing crafts, designing American Girl outfits, reading a pleasure book, only to learn that she hadn't finished her math lesson or was saving an assigned reading for "later". As our kids become more independent, it's easy for us to back off and go tackle our list of 150 other things to do. However, I learned that I need to be more diligent in checking up to be sure that the independent work is getting done in a timely fashion.
Auditing My Relationships
The last part of the audit was the most difficult for me. I left several questions unanswered due to the fact that I felt these were questions that needed some pondering. Heart issues cannot be solved overnight. For the most part, I feel I have an excellent and healthy relationship with my kids. However, as a fallible human being, I want to be sure that my view isn't skewed. Also, because we're on the cusp of having teenagers, I want to seriously consider and be ready for come what may. Are conflicts avoidable when hormones are raging?...ahem. Ask me ten years from now.
Working through this audit has not only helped me pin point areas I need to improve on, but it was a healthy shot of reassurance to see our strengths and all that we accomplished over the past year. I believe my findings will be very helpful as I plunge into planning for the upcoming academic year.
Have you completed a homeschool audit? If so, I'd love to hear about your experience. Feel free to share in the comments...