I was so inspired by Kysha’s post on asking her kids for feedback that I built up the courage decided to sit our kids down, one by one, and ask their opinions about our school. I made no promises about any changes, but agreed to listen without interruptions (except for clarification), without judgment, and most importantly, without a need to be defensive. Posting my own thoughts and follow-up plans would be far longer a post than this already is, so I thought that I’d list their feedback, pure and unadulterated.
What went well:
I like math.
I like the wake-up and start time (between 8:30-9 a.m.)
I like the space we have school in.
I like drawing while listening to read-alouds.
It is easier to complete the end-of-book projects than one end-of-year project.
Grammar’s okay. “I like writing.”
I like spending time with Mom (but want more audiobooks–see below).
Pace of reading is good. “I don’t have to read too many pages.”
There’s a much more balanced workload after removing apologetics (on last year we had apologetics, character, and logic as outside reading).
I don’t mind reading character and logic (although I don’t understand what it is for).
The commonplace book is “okay. The [reader response] bookmarks aren’t helpful, but I understand the need to write about other things as opposed to simple narration.”
What could change
PSAT Review–not able to read and understand within the time allowed.
More audiobooks (easier to rewind tapes and relisten)
“I don’t like the books required for Great Books. The plots (although she could state each plot in detail) are too graphic.”
Grammar–“I need three days rather than two.”
Middle School (I must state here that our son is a man of few words, and I caught him on a day when he was unusually tired)
“I like the books we read.”
“I like the room temp and the space.”
What could change:
timing–would like to be awakened at 8:45 a.m., but get out of bed at 9 a.m.
“Could we have an earlier [lunch] break? I’m usually hungry before we take a break.”
in planners, write down items as I need to do them (for certain subjects, I intentionally write down ‘Review pages…,’ forcing the older two to look ahead and see what’s coming, then work backward–a necessary skill in higher academics)
“Is that all?” (asked three times).
Elementary School (I found this most intriguing from our very verbal six-year-old, who has only begun a five-day school week in this school year)
What went well:
The breaks are nice.
get to do “big girl” things, like grammar
science experiments, and the history book–“not just doing the projects, but knowing the stories”
What could change:
the order in which we eat “stuff”–“I’d like 1)sweet, then 2) juicy, then 3) healthy.”
instead of reading books, we could watch TV and DVD’s (I think this was about using more visual learning outside of a book)
would like more song books
use the counting bears (a math manipulative) more often
use the puzzles and other stuff from the learning box
“I want grades, even sometimes F’s. Good grades all the time gets annoying.”
want to be at the same table as [big brother and big sister]
learn more about our bodies
read 3x more of the stories like The Cricket in Times Square (“and I want a real [pet] cricket”)
more books to read, Bambi on DVD
use the map more and learn about America
no learning about tarantulas, but more about worms and trees
do more stuff like [big brother and big sister], like Character (and I want to dress up)
walk by the homeless and pray for them (emphasis on physically touching them and praying for them)
learn more about God
would like to wake up at 2:30 p.m.
plant some more things
There you, or should I say, I, have it. I learned much, but I’ll save it for part 2–what to do with all of this information.