Purposeful Planning for the WHOLE child
As a parent, you likely observe your child’s strengths and weaknesses in academics as well as other situations such as church and social opportunities. Our strongest qualities are often partnered with our greatest weaknesses. Establishing a pattern of intentional evaluation and planning creates a customized plan for developing the best in your child.
Academic, Spiritual, Physical and Social Maturity In your Child
Do you often wish you could guide your child to success in all areas of life?
Does your child need to develop socially by thoughtfully selecting new friends?
Does your Child require attention on an academic problem?
Does your child’s skills invite progressive opportunities to hone a skill?
Do you need to schedule a doctor’s appointment to chase down a mysterious worry?
Most importantly, do you need to cancel parts of your schedule to allow more time for reading and maturing your child spiritually? See the recent article on Spiritual Blooms.
As homeschool parents approach this time of year, students are being tested on standardized tests, ACT and SAT, and final exams. While we are attempting to successfully complete the spring semester, the final decisions about the summer and fall semester beg completion. Yet, decisions for your child are not limited to academic ones. If you are like me, planning can be overwhelming. As a mom and homeschooler for more than twenty years, I have developed a system that really works for us. If you need a new strategy for evaluating and decision-making, see if this idea works for you.
Assessing Child’s Strengths & Weaknesses
Effective planning involves assessment in both observing known behavior, and evaluating written testing. As a parent, you likely observe your child’s strengths and weaknesses in academics as well as other venues such as church and social opportunities. Our strongest qualities are often our greatest weaknesses. Knowing this proves both encouraging as well as disheartening. Annual testing aids knowledge of my student’s academic standing while pinpointing trouble spots. However, let me mention here that looking through testing results prudently requires pensive effort. For example, say your student scores poorly in grammar. Noticing that the student missed only 7 of the 20 questions may clarify this part of the test. Perhaps a yearly or biannual extensive evaluation on mastered curriculum best benefit both student and parent. End of the year evaluations in each subject are usually more useful in highlighting mastery and deficiencies. While academic plans often dominate a homeschool mother’s thoughts during this spring season, pause for a moment to think about all the parts of your child. If your child is in a traditional school setting such as private or public school, it is still extremely important that you access the results of annual testing. Know how your child is progressing or not progressing. Work to offer ways for your child to catch up in weak areas or move ahead where your child is gifted. Look at all areas of your child, not just the academics. Evaluate your WHOLE child.
Twice a Year Evaluations
This blog outlines an idea of how I look at my kids twice a year to see if all is tracking along with God’s best. Some of the ideas behind this came from Ted Tripp’s “Shepherding Your Child’s Heart” which I read once a year as a refresher. Before kids, I diligently used my Franklin Covey planner to assess myself in a variety of areas such as these. When I became a mom, I thought that looking through to the big picture frequently might aid me in doing the day-to-day with more meaningful action. Our family choose homeschooling for our family lifestyle. The following planning reflects the evaluation of the child including the academic growth. Adjust your planning according to your family choices and your own child.
Five Ideas for Developing the WHOLE Child
1. Locate a Place for Intentional Planning
This brainstorming stays behind a tab in my day planner. Other ideas would be in a file on your computer or in your desk area at home. Return two to three times each year to look over your child’s progress and re-plan for the upcoming season. The year seems to be broken into three parts for us–Fall, Summer and Spring. Each of these require a transition in the schedule, so rethinking these areas is part of the process.
2. Invest a Page which Identifies the Parts of your Growing Child
In order to flesh out this idea, the below example creates a page for two children. Personalize your child’s needs.
Child 1 Age 11, Entering 6th Grade
- Writing Bible verses in personal Bible journal in the morning
- Family Bible time
- Apologetics cards for speech club
- Serving in 3yr old Sunday school class, Car care for widows
- Recreation with Dad,
- Sports teams – Soccer, basketball
- Learning to cook
- Eating Smart
- Friend time
Child 2, Age 14, Entering 9th Grade
- one chapter daily
- Piano Lessons
- Voice Ensemble
- Language 9
- 1100 Words
- Writing Speeches
- Omnibus World History
- Personal Devotions
- Family time on Prayer
- Names of God
- Sundays Worship for kids
- Mission Trip??
- New Pediatrician
- Swimming (WSI)
- Driver’s Permit
- New Healthy Friends
(aim for two new friends)
- Contributions around the house
- (See Teaching Children Chores)
3. Review Written Tests
Written tests might necessitate a change in schedule more than anything. For example, say your student struggles with spelling. His/her scores show you what you already know in this subject. Perhaps his morning should begin with spelling. Instead of just doing what has been done in spelling, add another process. Mostly, math, Bible, spelling and music should be done first in any day.
If math is deemed behind, start doing mental math on car trips. ABeka has a fun set of mental math cards. We call out a serious of numbers with their processes and wait for the first correct answer. For example, 12+15-10×7-1divided by 8 =??? Six is the answer. See the car school blog for more ideas.
4. Pray as You Consider Each Area of Development
Ask God to show you what He intends for this season of growth.
Seek solutions to needy areas.
Pray for your child’s friends. Pray that your child will be a quality friend.
Pray for the new places where he or she will attend in the new semester. Evaluate where changes can be made.
5. Celebrate Progress!
These times of reflection give confidence that aimlessness is not behind the next step. Purposeful thought and movement always produces the best result. Ask God to help you visualize the needs of your child in the next growth period.
Plan to take your child out for a special time with their favorite food such as ice cream or sushi. With discretion, talk through all the progress that you recognize that they have made this past year. Share your dreams and plans for the upcoming months. Remember, you have prayed for God’s direction in your child’s future.
Communicating how precious your child is to you and God will motivate him as you inspire him to grow successfully as a WHOLE child.
More ideas on giving intentional home building in these two books:
Nurturing My Nest: Intentional Homebuilding and Custom Built Education
Hum of the Home: Routines and Rhythms of Homemaking
Join me for the companion podcast on home and family with my husband, Tim, on the Embrace Your Everyday podcast.
It is often hard to communicate true feelings. I started saying to my daughter many years ago that I was a lucky momma and I said thank you for being my little girl. She would always smile and give me a sheepish hug. She knew I meant it and told me so. I was blessed and I wanted her to know how special she was. She knows that she is special to this day. It is worth all the effort.