by Katie Julius
It has been a long year. It has been a long school year! Even under normal circumstances, a homeschooling parent’s journey is filled with highs and lows. There are certain times throughout the year that many families find themselves struggling a bit more. The ‘post-spring break dirge’ as I like to refer to it, is one such time.
You’ve just had a taste of what summer holds – no (or less) formal schooling, warmer weather, a more relaxed schedule. But now you’ve got to buckle down and finish out those last few weeks. Summer is calling. It’s the time of the year when planning for next year is so much more appealing than finishing the remainder of this one.
So, how can a mom (or dad) get out of this funk to finish the year well?
Resolve to Finish Strong
It’s so easy when you are feeling discouraged to look for the easy way out. While every family’s circumstances will be different, I want to encourage you to resolve to finish the year strong. In Colossians 3:17, it says “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” This includes teaching our children, even when we’re tired at the end of the school year.
Be encouraged that you are not alone. Not only do you have the support of other homeschool parents, but you always have Christ to lean on to give you the strength. “I lift my eyes up to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2
Evaluate Where You Are
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably looking at the plans you made last summer for what you wanted to accomplish this year, and wondering what happened. We have all been there! We make plans for great projects, field trips, and a number of assignments we want to complete, only to find ourselves looking at half-finished books and never-completed projects once April rolls around.
To know how to best move forward and finish the year, you need to determine exactly where you are.
Once you have taken inventory of what you’ve done, it’s time to determine what you still want to (and can reasonably) accomplish. Be honest with yourself about what the coming weeks hold for your family. Many activities are starting back up now that the state is reopening. Year-end activities are fast approaching. Consider the commitments and events you have coming up and then plan how much you want to finish by the end of your last scheduled day
You Don’t Have to Finish Everything
This is probably one of the most common misconceptions among new homeschoolers. You do not need to finish your curriculum every year. I think back to when I was in high school. As the end of the school year approached, I would always look through the last quarter of a textbook that we would never even get to. This drove my “completist” personality a bit crazy, but it’s a great reminder to all of us that it’s okay if you don’t finish the entire curriculum as planned. There is comfort in knowing that the first few weeks of next year’s curriculum is going to be all review anyway. So if you skip it this year because you ran out of time, no need to worry! They’ll still learn it in the fall.
Choose the things that are important to you or that interest your children and do those things. If appropriate, you can plan a stopping point for this year and then resume where you left off when you start school again.
You and your kids have worked hard this year. You’ve done a lot. Plan a fun “end of the year” activity. It can be something as simple as a trip to your local ice cream shop to celebrate. It can be a fun field trip or even a planned family vacation. You can also reward yourself, as the teacher. Again, you can do something small like a special tea or coffee treat or a mom’s night out or even splurging on your favorite planner as you look to planning next year.
Allow Yourself to Plan for Next Year
If you are feeling that urge to abandon this year in exchange for planning next year, allow yourself to begin planning. If you need to, set boundaries for yourself. Only spend a certain amount of time each day. Satisfy that “itch” to plan. If you are constantly yearning for the future, you will be distracted from the task that you have at hand.
There are many things that can rob you of the joy of teaching your children at home, especially as summer beckons. Incorporate some of these ideas into your home school, rest in the comfort of knowing God will sustain you, and be encouraged that you are not in this alone. You can finish this year. You can finish this year well. You can finish this year strong.