From Teachable Moment, June 1998:
" 'Making a list, checking it twice, going to find out who's naughty or nice', ooh, it's time for end of the year evaluations! This is the time of year when we start wondering if any progress was made at all. Did we just stand still, go forward or (surely not!) go backward?
We always start our homeschooling year by making a list of areas each person wants to learn about. We post it on our bulletin board and refer to it for the first few months.
This process of writing things down never ceases to amaze me. I can write a shopping list, arrive at the shopping mall, realize I left it on the table at home and still proceed to remember most of the items on the list. However, if I just list items in my mind and try to remember later, my success rate is much lower.
This same phenomenon applies to our homeschooling list. We forget about it during the rest of the year (yes, I know it would be better if we didn't forget about it, but this is what really happens in our home) and look at it again at the end.
Here's the amazing part- we have always covered almost everything on our list. Somehow, we naturally wander into the areas. In addition, we have always added a few more. The list serves as a reference to check our progress during the year.
We also list a few goals for each child that we feel they're capable of accomplishing that year. By plugging in a few minutes each day on these goals, we also see them realized by the end of the year.
Matthew did learn his consonant sounds and is writing small words. Lindley was able to master her multiplication tables and her desire to write is blooming. Shelley and Jared have progressed in Spanish and Algebra and have performed a number of community service hours.
As we check our lists this year everyone has definitely "been nice". It helps us to see that progress has been made and gives us hope and courage for the next year. As we go through the summer, the kids will be thinking of what they want on their lists for the coming homeschool session. "
2012 update: Okay, the Spanish didn't stick with them, as it didn't with so many of us. I took it in high school and college and can recognize many written words, but forget the speaking and hearing part of it.
When I look back, it all went by so quickly! So please allow your children to pick out some areas of interest and put that into the curriculum too. Keep the joy of learning going!