For the Orr household, Christmas break marks a midway point for our school year. While many families choose to school year round, we opt to have a break during the summer months, so we push through the entire fall, and by December, we’re ready to relax!

The challenge for our family is staying on pace so we can enjoy a treasured time of rest. I ask myself things like, “Have we completed all the lessons we should have completed?” and, “Will we finish our notebooks on time?” Some years the answer is yes. Some years we struggle.

The key to making progress is not just about finishing book work and checking boxes. If your children are learning, you are making progress. Here are a few ideas to give you peace in knowing that you are doing all you can to ensure your students are shining bright and will continue to progress through the spring!

Guess Who!

Do you remember the game Guess Who? By asking a series of questions, players were able to narrow down a choice of characters until finally determining who was the chosen individual.

Choose characters from a semester of history, literature or science and ask your student to guess who or what you are referring to. It is a good way to refresh after a holiday break or test for comprehension prior to ending a semester.

Scope and Sequence

By reviewing the scope and sequence of your curriculum you can easily determine the material that was covered and any areas in which practice is still needed. It is also reassuring to see all those concepts that were mastered.

Many times, finishing the work in a workbook isn’t as important as making sure the child understands the skill.


If you feel like the curriculum you began the year with is holding your progress back, or if your student just isn’t clicking with it, it’s ok to consider changing mid-year. While sometimes this is not an economical choice, it is possible to begin something different in January.

My suggestion would be to talk with someone using the curriculum you are considering to gain feedback on the product. Remember that not all curriculum cover the same information with the same scope and sequence, so be certain to compare what you’ve already covered or are lacking and begin in the appropriate place.

Talk About It

One additional way to gauge the success of your first semester is through conversation. Talk to your children about the things they enjoyed during the fall semester.  By asking your child to tell you what they enjoyed, you will have a glimpse into ways to improve their learning environment.

If you want a snapshot of their educational success over the semester, try reviewing the semester’s materials orally. Discuss in detail what they learned, were surprised by, or enjoyed the most while working through the fall.

Take a Break and Learn

Every parent has at one time felt like they were so rushed to “finish the book work” that they neglected to evaluate the progress and quality of learning. Schedule time to stop, think, visit, and enjoy the gift of homeschooling.

Want to learn more about how to encourage the “smart” in your child? Dr. Kathy Koch of Celebrate Kids will be a key note speaker at both of our 2017 Conventions. Join us to learn how every kid is a smart kid!

For more tips and information on educating your children, check the information pages on the THSC website. Our goal is to walk hand in hand with you down the path to triumph.