Each child in a family is unique. So it follows that each one learns differently.
In our family we have a mix of kids with delightful strengths and weaknesses all their own.
I needed a way to keep track of their individuality and capabilities at the beginning of the school year so I could ascertain the learning and growth at the end.
As usual, my bullet journal to the rescue!
Personalize Learning: Who Are You?
At the start of the year I like to sit down and come up with a detailed description of each kiddo. I do a brain dump or mind map and then use questions from their preschool years that I really like. It asks all sorts of questions about what makes your particular child tick. My mind is cooking by then and I go from there, making a list of who that child is right now, at the start of the new school year.
This information takes up one side of a double page spread in my homeschool bullet journal.
On the other side of that spread I create a reference sheet. I like to get a better idea of what benchmarks or development I might expect in the year. I reference our state standards and some developmental milestone lists as well as check this series of books out of the library.
What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know (Revised and updated): Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning (Core Knowledge Series)What Your Third Grader Needs to Know (Revised Edition): Fundamentals of a Good Third-Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)Project Based Learning Handbook: A Guide to Standards-Focused Project Based Learning for Middle and High School TeachersThe Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing MindAges and Stages: A Parent’s Guide to Normal Childhood Development
I follow this format for each child and it creates a great map to personalize learning for our year.
Not only does this give me a nice snapshot of each kid, it lets me see where we travel through our year. It is a “living” document. It will change and get updated along the way as the kids’ needs and preferences change.
I have found this particular exercise really eases my anxiety if I get ramped up in our year and hung up on all the “shoulds”. It provides me a reference point to help in reflection.
Like I said in this Periscope last year, it gives me space to be flexible in our learning. I don’t have to be rigid in my plans if the educational goals I set aren’t carried out in the exactly the same way with each child–since they are each different.
Teach the Child You Have
When I can personalize learning of each of my kiddos, it takes some of my anxiety away as a homeschool mom.
And in this world of more and more, better and better, I like to keep it simple. I like to keep the plan focused. When I get a clear picture of the awesome kid in front of me (not the other homeschooler down the road) and know where his learning can or might go, the freedom of homeschool feels a lot less daunting, a lot more joyful and far more clear.