Measuring Progress

The biggest challenge that most homeschool parents face is the anxiety that they can't know their child is learning what ought to be learned or at the appropriate pace. 

While we intuitively understand that inspiration-led learning is the core of homeschooling, we often dismiss or overlook it because it is hard to quantify. We find ourselves questioning whether it "counts" especially if it was not planned.

When combined, the three practices discussed here: Planning from Behind, the Narrative Sketch and the Scatterbook ground your homeschool. They make the learning that is often invisible visible, provide you a way to track progress over time, and capture what you yourself are learning on this homeschool journey.

So how do they work?

Planning from Behind

Planning from Behind is the practice of noting what you did rather than planning ahead to what you will do. It allows us to note these learning moments "confident that we ha[ve] been on task—deliberate, thoughtful—even if spontaneous." 

Inspiration grows because you plan from behind after some spontaneity has been given a chance to bloom.The goal is to pay attention to the way your now “seeded imagination” leads you to activities, book choices, and conversations that all count as valuable education. 

You gain creativity through observation as opposed to trying to forecast what will be interesting and creative in advance. 

Explore this practice in more detail in Julie's Coaching Notebook: Planning from Behind.

The Narrative Sketch

A Narrative Sketch is a written narrative of a single twenty-four-hour day in your homeschool each month which captures the activities, conversations, and learning moments in your family. Because homeschool is not confined to six hours of instruction, it’s important to jot down the events and conversations that occur even when “school” is not in session. 

Each month, you add one new narrative to the stack. In that narrative, you want to include conversations, outings, distractions, books, hobbies, trips to the store, games played while driving in the car or to kill time at the dentist, and any of the "designated" academic tasks your children performed.

The narrative sketch is written in your natural voice and allows you to record the current state of affairs in your family so that next month, you can add to it. Over time, you will see a portrait of your children's development both as students and people!

Explore this practice in more detail in Julie's Coaching Notebook: The Narrative Sketch

The Scatterbook

The Scatterbook gives you a place to collect what you are learning. It is a notebook (or collection of notebooks) where you collect information related to your daily living that you can then analyze at the end of each month to see if a pattern emerges that you can embrace and enhance in your own life.

The Scatterbook enables you to track your journey, to store your worries in a safe place for further reflection, and to keep all your homeschool aspirations and ideals together.

Explore this practice in more detail in Julie's Coaching Notebook: The Scatterbook

Go Deeper

Discover more in Julie's Coaching Notebook:

Read more in The Brave Learner:

  • Planning from Behind—pages 177-178
  • Narrative Sketch—pages 179-184
  • Scatterbook—pages 184-186

Posted November 30th, 2019
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