Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Goals as a Tool for Evaluation and Planning

Max and Luca on Max's first day of school.

At this time last year I was sitting down to write Max's scope & sequence - not quite knowing where to begin. "The best place to begin is at the other words, what is your goal?" were the guiding words of Sonya Shafer in Planning Your CM Education. So, using Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series, I looked at specific goals per subject, compared them to Sonya's suggestions, then changed or added to them to reflect our family's desires for our children.

Now that our school year is finished and we are putting together Max's portfolio I have found these goals key in evaluating our year and in planning the upcoming one. A few examples from Max's portfolio:

Max handles all the design aspects of his portfolio. Parents provide documentation and help in printing and cutting. I am learning to relax and enjoy the process.

Goals for Math:
-Develop habits of insight, accuracy and readiness.
-Train reasoning powers.
-Apply math in everyday situations.
-Become a confident problem solver.
-Make wise financial transactions.

Samples of work are slipped into clear pages following each subject. The photo is of Max and his friend Amelia having a "meaningful handwriting experience" while working on their newspaper. The headline reads: "The Dads are Missing!" They were eventually found.

Goals for Penmanship:
-Effectively and accurately communicate.
-Learn a beautiful style of handwriting.
-Have meaningful handwriting experiences.

Although we enjoyed great living books and Max was learning from them, I noticed in a few subjects that -- were we to continue on the same path -- we would be in danger of not reaching our overall goals. We are now making changes specifically in Bible, History and Geography. That's another post...


Jeanne said...

We don't 'need' a portfolio in our State, and I haven't bothered with one to date, but seeing your lovely scrapbook pages I can see that they will be a wonderful record for years to come. I love what you've done!

More importantly, it's achievable too, and since my creative skills are fairly rudimentary, I think I might actually be able to do this! I'm going to give it a try.

I've never seen Sonya's planning guide. Is it online or in a book? I'd like to read it. Sadly I've never put my goals for individual subjects into words either, although obviously I do have them. I can see this being a useful exercise as well.

Sigh I'm feeling tired already.

PS Love Max's tie in his pic!

Erin Neiner said...

This is looking GREAT, Richele (and max!). How exciting it must be to gather all your hard work and realize how much progress Max has made! I love your goals! So poetic in their entity! :)

Jimmie said...

I agree totally. End visioning is essential. Your goals are so practical and REAL. :-)

Richele said...

Like you, Jeanne, my creativity is not all-inclusive and we relied on my sweet friend, Erin, for help in making the fancy lettering. This has been an enriching family project and I hope it will be a tradition - I think we'll do it as a project in May during school next year.

Planning Your CM Education is available as an e-book, printed book and/or with a dvd of a planning seminar. I love that I can actually see the unfolding of the later years as well.

The poetics of the goals are due to so much reading of CM's writings :) and I've lifted her goal for geography practically verbatim.

Jimmie, I'm sure being overseas adds another element to having a further-reaching vision than just the year as well! Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

I am a big time goals person. It is so easy to get off track if you don't have a way to steer your energies.

I actually have a post simmering about this very thing for this week.

Love the portfolio.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Trinity Mommy said...

What a great post.. its hard to look ahead for me BUT I know that it is so beneficial!!!

Laura Lou said...

What are using for penmanship? I love the style and length of the lessons!

Let's say with a school year of thirty-six weeks, do you keep lessons from each term to show progress? I think my kids would love to make something like this of their own.

Great work!

Richele said...

We use Penny Gardner's "Beautiful Handwriting for Children." Mom likes it : ) She has recently improved upon it and put up some YouTube clips. You should head over to her site if you haven't in awhile. We just got "Recipes for Writing" at half-price, my frugal friend.

Richele said...

Oops, forgot to answer your second question. When I meet with the dept. superintendent, I have one sample from each term (sometimes but not always the exam is the example). I have the goals for that subject listed as I think it is key in showing progress in a CM education.

With CM it just can't be a test at the beginning to show how empty the bucket is and then a test at the end to show how successfully I've filled that bucket.

After I bring the portfolio home I include a few more of our favorite narrations or art work, etc. in that right-hand side. The kids get it out every so often to look through it. We'll do one with Luca this year as well.

If any of you do put one together be sure to let me know as I love portfolio-looking :)