The following is a post by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera.
In our family, we have tried many school year schedules.
We’ve tried summers off, summers on, occasional month long breaks and once, a 6-week-on-one-week-off rotation that I never successfully kept track of, meaning that often it was more like 8.5 weeks on, followed by 1.5 weeks of too many DVDs (them) and too many novels (me).
And so please know, that I am not suggesting that you change your school schedule in any way. If you have found something that works, and doesn’t leave your family with a mess of library fines, then carry on!
But, if you follow a more traditional school year, the end is near, my friends. And that’s something fun to celebrate!
And so, I recommend the following to make the last few weeks of homeschooling, you know, ROCK:
I remember my grade school teachers leading us outside a few times a year to hold a particular lesson in the grass. The change of scenery awed us into quiet, and we would sit rapt, wondering how the formerly cranky Mrs. L had suddenly gotten so … AWESOME.
I’m not ashamed to say that we had the same response in college when a cool professor would announce we were all heading outside of the classroom.
There is just something about being in nature, especially after so many weeks indoors, that can reinvigorate students. And teachers.
Plan a field day
Spring is the perfect time to plan some sporting activities. And a field day doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A local park is a great locale – even a backyard will work.
And a fun field day doesn’t have to be all about athletic competition. In fact, some of the more fun pursuits often create better memories – egg-and-spoon races, three-legged races, etc.
Plan a BIG field trip
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the opportunity for mid-week adventures. Museums and zoos aren’t nearly as busy, and often there are really great bargains available.
Through membership with our local science museum, we are allowed free admission to many other museums across the country, as long as we’re willing to travel a bit, and for us, that’s what spring, the end of the school year is all about!
Consider what’s working
Right now, you are in the thick of homeschooling. You’ve probably learned this year some things that really work and some things that really don’t.
Don’t make yourself crazy, but do take a few notes for next year. Because you also should …
Plan for a REAL break
Breaks are so important for homeschooling. They give us wonderful perspective, and a chance to start fresh again.
So even if you only do periodic breaks, or even if your summer break is only a few days, be OK with the too-many hours spent at the park, or too-many afternoons reading in the grass, or whatever else spells R-E-S-T for your family.
And finally, celebrate!
Our kids are amazing. And we are so lucky to be on this journey with them. So plan a special dinner, or a little family award ceremony to wrap up the end of the school year.
Sure, you can congratulate your kids on finishing a math workbook or learning 35 sight words, but think outside the box too and celebrate who your kids are.
Did they learn to tie their shoes this year? Ride a bike? Did they lose a first tooth or get their braces off? Did they start a comic strip, or start beating you at chess?
Those are all BIG THINGS, and they are worthy of hugs, high fives and perhaps even cupcakes.
So get celebrating, because before you know it, you’ll be starting another school year, and wondering how this summer went by so fast.
How do you celebrate the end of the school year in your family?