How to End the School Year off Strong!

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Can you believe another school year is almost done? This past year seem like it passed by faster than normal. I've noticed that as the kids have gotten older, the years go by quicker. 
Maybe, it's just me realizing that our homeschooling days are numbered. 
Of course, it could be that the year blended right into 2020 and we were extremely busy with changes within our household. Remodeling the downstairs and moving in my father-in-law was a big undertaking we faced this year. It was for the best though.

I have to admit, the kids and I are ready for this school year to be over. We need a break and some down time. They have worked hard with their schoolwork and all the other work that has happened over the past few months. Change can be good, but it can be difficult too. 

Every year as we get to the end of the school year, I always look back over the year and ponder many things. Like...what went right, what went wrong, what worked, what didn't work, what we enjoyed, what we didn't enjoy, what I would do differently, and everything in-between! It's hard being a homeschooling mama and a regular mama. I think we often feel a little more pressure than other parents. We worry more about are we doing things right, have we done enough, and did we screw them up! I'm not saying other parents don't worry about those things too, but as the teacher and parent, we have a little more added pressure or at east it feels that way. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change a thing. I have enjoyed the last 14 years! 
Homeschooling has been a true blessing to our family.

So as we get closer to the end of the year (2 weeks left), I feel the need to sit down and reflect on this past year. I definitely want to finish the year out strong. What parent doesn't? I'd be lying if I didn't admit that there have been many years when I just wanted to throw in the towel and call it. 
In fact, I know we've done that in the past  and we've also schooled year round to catch up. 
Some years, I'm a little crazy while others I'm laid back. 

So how do you finish the year strong and not STRESS out? 

First off, you don't have to compete the entire curriculum for the year to be a success. I think a lot of new homeschooling families feel the need to finish it all because that's what was expected in traditional schools. I have to admit that in my early years, I did finish everything, but then I remembered that we didn't finish it all in school and we turned out O.K. So now, like many veteran homeschooling families, we work until I feel satisfied. I look at the entire year and see what they have accomplished and what they may have missed along the way. I tell myself that there is always next year. Let's face learning is a never ending process. Even as grown adults, we are still learning how to do things.

Second. for goodness sakes do not compare your family to regular school, private school, or other homeschooling families. There is no one way to teach a child. Each child learns differently and at their own pace. One of the many advantages of homeschooling is that we can do school at our own pace. Have an early reader...go with it. Have a struggling reader, know that it while all click in time. Trust me, I've had both situations and it all works out in the end. I promise! I love how my kids have been able to grow and learn own  at their own pace. Michael loved science and was grades ahead in science for years. He loved everything to do with animals. I used this to my advantage. Fun math games involving animals, reports on animals, lapbooks on animals, experiments involving animals, etc. Having the ability to gear subjects to your child's interests only allows that child to flourish. 
Allow your child to be who they are. 
Don't compare them to the neighborhood kids. Don't let others put self doubt into your head. You are not failing your kids. You are watching them learn and actually enjoy learning at the same time.
You can't ask for anything better.

Lastly, be sure to look at your child as an individual. See how they have grown over the year (I'm not just talking about height).  What have they accomplished, what have they learned, what subjects did they enjoy, what were their favorite books, what projects did they enjoy, and what field trips did they love? More importantly, look at what they didn't enjoy. Ask yourself (and them) why didn't they enjoy those things. Figure out how to change those things. Now of course, this has to be done within reason. If your child hates math, you can't just drop math, but you can figure out a way for it to be more pleasant for them and you. No need to add any more gray hairs than necessary. 

Just one more piece of advice on finishing the year out strong, don't forget that learning happens everywhere and at anytime. Do you have a vacation planned this summer? Maybe a few weekend getaways? Learning can happen there too. When the kids were younger, we visited Cataloochee, North Carolina. While there we did a little road loop. They had various buildings from years ago. A one room schoolhouse was a favorite of mine. 

When we stopped for a picnic lunch, we were given an opportunity of a life time. Elk had recently been reintroduced into the area. While eating, we say 3 elk walk out of the woods. We were able to observe them in the wild. While we were watching, a park ranger drove up. He gave the kids an impromptu lesson all about the elk with props! He had their attention. They loved it and he enjoyed sharing his knowledge with two eager kids. They still talk about it to this day. 

So if you haven't finished that geography book or science text. It's perfectly fine. Don't stress, Mama! I promise your kids have learned so much throughout the year and there will be plenty of opportunity for more fun learning this summer.
Relax and enjoy the summer!

Till next Time,