Sunday, April 18, 2010

Homeschool Survey of Kids

I saw this great idea at bbullard's site and wanted to try it with my kids. The idea is to ask the kids separately what they liked and disliked about their school year. They are free to say whatever they want with no judgments. Then their ideas will be taken into consideration for the next year (within reason, of course). Paraphrased from my notes:

Goldilocks (9)

What worked --   
  • I like Explode the Code.
  • I like piano lessons with Mom.
  • I like the Story of the World coloring pages.
  • I like FIAR and the FIAR field trips.
  • I "medium like" math but it is very hard.
  • I want to continue all the field trips and (out of the home) classes (swimming, art, bowling).
  • I like story time and library books.
What could change --   
  • I want more cooking time with Mommy.
  • I wish all of school could be easier so my brain would not hurt.
  • I want more worksheets and copy work.
  • I want seat work to take most of school time because it is faster than projects.
Tom Sawyer (8 next week)

What worked --   
  • I like nature studies and other hunts like the president hunt.
  • I like our Latin program.
  • I like piano lessons.
  • I like picture books of history and biographies more than SOTW.
  • I really like math games.
  • I like hands-on projects.
  • I like my schedule that tells me what is coming next.   
  • I like the museum art class and FIAR field trips.
  • I like swimming.
  • I like reading to myself (especially historical graphic novels such as Journey to the Center of the Earth).
What could change --   
  • I want more math games and math stories.
  • I don't like read-aloud books because it is so hard to concentrate.
  • I HATE narrating back.
  • I do not like Explode the Code. It is boring and a waste of time.
  • I do not like copy work for the same reasons as Explode the Code.
  • Stop making us leave the home in the morning before we get our school done so it can be finished all at once.
  • We need more science.
  • We need more art lessons and less music lessons. 
Little Red Riding Hhood (6)

What worked --   
  • I like history celebration parties and dressing up like historical characters.    
  • I like nature walks and our nature journals.    
  • I like Explode the Code.
  • I love FIAR books.
  • I love field trips and playing with friends.
  • I like SOTW coloring pages.
  • I love P.E. classes (bowling, swimming and ballet). I wish we had them every day.
  • I love tea time and snack time. I wish we had more snacks.
  • I like math stories and flash cards.
  • Horizon math is okay.
  • I like circle time.
  • Latin songs are so much fun.
What could change --    
  • I don't like reading lessons.
  • I want you to teach more Spanish and start teaching me sign language.
  • I don't like copy work.
  • I want smaller math pages (fewer problems on the page).
  • I wish we only did Bible time on the computer (children stories played on CD player on computer). 
My Reflections --   
  • I think Tom Sawyer is ready to move on to real grammar and creative writing.  Maybe that will reduce his stress around writing. I did not realize it was boring to him. I will look at our grammar programs and decide which one to move him into.

  • Is Little Red Riding Hood planning on become an ambassador or working for the U.N. as a linguist?!? She really seems to like the languages. I would love to bring sign language into our home. It is the only language that comes naturally to me.  I will look into how to add more Spanish and sign language into our days and keep up Latin. 

  • We will keep up the field trips, FIAR support group and some classes. The kids have done well in all of the classes we tried this year (regardless of special needs status), so I will be looking at cost and value more than special needs vs. normal kids next year. 

  • I suggested to the kids that we could listen to more books on tape in the car and have less of my reading aloud at home. I have noticed that they like to listen to Latin and poetry in the car. They loved the idea. Tom Sawyer said it was much easier to concentrate in the car. Look into books on tapes and make a list of what the library has.
  • I will have to think about narration and read aloud books for Tom Sawyer.  I think narration is a very valuable skill but one that really is causing Tom Sawyer problems. He does not seem to have any auditory learning bones in his body. Perhaps if he created his own picture from what I or a tape is reading and then narrated from his picture, it would help him. I wonder if he is too young to start learning note taking and then narrate from that. Think it through.

  • I find it interesting that no one mentioned educational DVDs. I wonder if they see that as TV time because it counts against their media time. Keep some educational DVDs, because they are good for visual learning and to give me a little free time when I must do something else around the house. 

  • Hmmmm! Tom Sawyer's desire to stay home and finish school in one lump is difficult. That will take some thought. Think of options.

  • Goldilocks wants school easier and more busywork  workbooks. She is my most learning-challenged child at the moment and has a low IQ to boot. She made some real progress this year on testing, however. She is a child who needs to be gently pushed but also needs to see her improvement regulary for her own confidence. Look at her suggested goals from our professional education tester and keep the learning bar high but within reach.

  • Keep what worked on the schedule!

Blessings, Dawn   



  1. What a wonderful idea! I think I will do this with my kids too. I have a pretty good idea on what they would say. TL has already given me some insights on writing. We're going to start IEW this week for him. I'm hoping that these teaching tools will alleviate the stress of writing. I was lucky to find the teacher dvds at the library.

    Have a wonderful week!


  2. Great idea! I'll be adding this to our end of the year reviews.


    Our Journey Westward

  3. I will have to try this!

  4. I am impressed with how much thought your children gave to their answers. I need to ask my children the same things.

    I know Joe has already told me he hates copywork this week, so I'm thinking about reducing that.

    Isn't it amazing how different children are? One loves ETC and the other doesn't like it at all. It's great we can adapt as homeschoolers and meet them where they are at.

  5. Dawn, I actually came by a few days ago and so enjoyed this post. I also loved how others picked up on your post and were planning to do the same with their kids. Asking our kids what they like and dislike about school--who knew, huh? (smile)

    I loved the "day in the life" post; if there is one thing that homeschool doesn't give us, it's a peek into someone else's school and day, to get a sense of whether we're doing it right (lol). Thanks for sharing. You always have the neatest stuff going on--I should be a student with you!