by Christa Svoboda
[Editor’s Note: We are looking forward to Christa joining us at CHEA’s Parenting & Homeschool Conference, July 13-15 in Downey.
This is just a preview of Christa’s fun and encouraging heart that she will share with attendees this summer. Registration is now open.]
Friends, we made it to May! For most of us, that means we’re almost to the end of the school year! (I know some of you school year-round, but this will apply to you too.) Homeschool moms have a variety of emotions that surface when hearing those words.
“Hooray! We’re right on track here.” (If that’s you, you can bring me a coffee in your free time.)
“Oh man, how in the world am I going to cram three months of work into three weeks?” (You can’t and it’s okay. Keep reading.)
“It’s May? I’m still lost somewhere in winter.” (Come share that coffee with me!)
The reality is, time is going to keep ticking regardless of where our academics find us this May, but that is okay. Remember, God designed the seasons and knows that summer is around the corner. He designed your children and knew of their needs before you planned your academic year, and He knows you and will lead you to finish the school year well.
Now is the fun part. We get to seek Him before this final sprint. Just as we asked at the beginning of the year, “Lord, what do you have for me to teach these precious ones?” Let’s ask it again. After all, completing a curriculum does not equate to finishing well. It was never about the curriculum. From the start, the curriculum was a tool for us to use as we educate our children.
Just in case my philosophy on curriculum doesn’t allow you to relax a little, maybe my confession as a classroom teacher will. In my classroom days, I spent a year in elementary school and two years in middle school. I did not thoroughly complete every chapter in the curriculum texts I taught with. We didn’t finish the entire math book and we skimmed over portions of social studies and science while digging deeply into others.
Speaking of math, the publishers of our math curriculum say that we need to complete through lesson 100 to be fully prepared to begin the next grade level, yet our book has lessons through 130. Likely, completing your entire math book is not necessary either. With that said, in math there is a level that must be completed to move forward the following year, but look at what that is and make a plan to meet it. (If that plan means rolling a little math into the summer, so be it. You can still make it fun and fresh and pause for a breath for you and your child at the end of the year.)
Beyond math, you can plan a way to wrap up most work whenever you decide that beautiful “last day” of school is going to be. I look at it as a revised schedule for our end of the year so we can do whatever the most important things are to end well.
Don’t only plan to finish, plan to celebrate! God has done a great work in you and your children this past year. God had festivals built into the Jewish calendar for the Israelites to stop and celebrate and remember. And the Israelites teach us about stopping to celebrate and remember God’s goodness when they paused to build altars with stones of remembrance.
Your children have learned and accomplished so much this past year. This is a wonderful time to recognize their academic achievements, especially since our children don’t get “honor roll” or “student of the month” recognition as children do in a classroom. Beyond academics, I love the opportunity this time of the year provides to recognize the growth in their character and abilities beyond academics. (For example: a chore they have mastered, a skill in the kitchen, a helper’s heart, a brave spirit, etc.)
Will you celebrate with your homeschool community? Or will you plan your own family end of the school year celebration? Whichever it is, do not miss this golden opportunity to celebrate. Plan in advance what life-giving words you will speak into your children in front of your personal family or your homeschool friends.
And when those words of doubt come whispering to you in the late night hours, you can answer back with confidence that this was never about you finishing a curriculum or doing “enough.” It has always been about you seeking the Lord and Him using you to do His work.
Philippians 1:6 (NIV), “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB), “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV), “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
Christa always dreamed of having many children who she would school at home. Now she has six, aged 4 months to 13 years. A second-generation homeschooler, Christa received her master’s in elementary education and loved being a classroom teacher before beginning life with a new mission of motherhood. She recently hosted a podcast, Seek Wholly Living, where she had conversations with other expert moms who choose to pursue motherhood with hope, joy, and purpose!