As each year passes, my kids have more and more input in their education. In the early days it was mostly, "Which game do you want to play first, this one or this one?" But as they get older, they become more and more a part of the planning process. As I sort through curricula and gather ideas I run a lot of them by Kaytie and Nate. This year, they picked their own science because they said the one we did last year was too easy. So I pulled up samples of the two I was most interested in, had them read them over and explain which they liked better and why. They all four pitch in to help choose which artist, poet and composer we learn each term. They take turns picking memory work.
Some of their other comments made me shift the focus of our history plans, as well. Not drastically, just a little shift of focus from an entirely lit. driven plan to using a spine with our read alouds.
Both of the big kids will be doing work that they chose just for them. And recently, for Kaytie, I have given some things over to her completely, like her art. I show her a lot of different options, give her ideas and input and she decides which direction she wants to take and how she wants to get there. I buy her the curriculum and she implements it on her own.
I also like to ask a lot of questions. Such as these:
What did you like best about History?
What would you like to do differently in Science?
Do we need to keep saying the pledges every morning?
Do you feel you learned a lot when we did that project?
What are your best memories of the year?
What would you most like to change about last year?
Are you ready to learn cursive? (this was for Daniel)
And lots more.
But this is the first year I have been very surprised about any of their answers. Usually I know them well enough that I can predict what they will say before I even ask. This year, however, I was shocked when Nate told me, "I would like to do more hands-on projects this year for History." This kid is the reason I dropped most of our hands on stuff last year. Seriously, about the only thing I left in was science experiments. But I'm not sorry I did. Because now he knows that he likes them.
I don't follow all of their desires, or else we would never do any math, but I definitely involve them in the decision making and take their thoughts and opinions into account. And the older they get, the more responsibility I expect them to have.
How much input do your kids have in your school?