It’s that time of year.
The finish line is so close yet so. far. away.
May is always hard. Really, it starts the middle of April for me. So what’s a home schooling mom to do when she is running out of get up and go? When the thought of another home schooling day just makes you want to run errands and call it a “field trip”? When the kids are taking longer and longer to complete their work, and finding more and more things to distract them?
Switch things up. Take a load off. Hand over the reigns.
I actually did this last December I tend to suffer from the same malady that time of year too and the kids really liked it. Last December I planned out the whole month I usually just do a week at a time and then made each kid their own December List. It had all their assignments listed by subject for the whole month. They were given the freedom to complete their work however they wanted. Our routine was tossed out the window and it was each man for himself. Oh, the beauty of independent learning!
Here’s how it is working for us this month: they check off each completed assignment and then I initial it once I approve it. They grade their own papers, except tests, but everything has to be shown to me so there is accountability. Also, things like their daily reading and french lessons are done a little differently. I simply have bullets printed on the page and they have to fill in the date and what time they start and stop. With reading they write in what page they start and end on, as well as what time they start reading and what time they finish. I have placed one bullet for each remaining school day so each bullet must be filled in with a different date, and once again, it has to be approved by me to officially count.
Last December it really was amazing to see how motivated they were and how they would make their own plan for getting everything done. It added a new enthusiasm that the end of the year can definitely lack. Plus, handing over the reigns to them was great for me too. I was still right there with them, available for any questions or help, but they got to be a little more in control, and I got to focus on some projects of my own.
They still did science and history together every afternoon like usual. We take a break for lunch and then when it’s time to start back to school, we begin with science/history. We kept this one thing in place because we all do it together.
Outside of reading and french, which are tied to specific dates, the kids can complete their work whenever they want to. They can stick to one assignment per day or they can work ahead and finish early. It is entirely up to them. Now, if I notice that they aren’t grasping concepts didn’t have any problem with this in Dec. then we will stop and work things out. This is why every assignment still has to be signed off on by me.
For my youngest, who isn’t entirely independent learning yet, we have finished some of her “subjects” like handwriting, phonics, and reading comprehension, and are replacing these with other things she enjoys. Like simply reading out loud from her library book to me without having to answer questions after, and writing letters to friends and family or creating stories instead of a handwriting lesson or phonics. Things that feel less like school, but are still good practice and learning.
Also, I am letting her decide what order we do her math and language arts in. You can read more about our typical routine here.
But what if your kids are younger and aren’t quite independent learners yet? No biggie. There are a ton of different ways to switch things up at the end of the year. Maybe move your “classroom” to a different part of the house. Have your children teach you one of the subjects. Put the textbooks aside and work on one big project instead. Most of what is learned at the end of the year is relearned at the beginning of the next year anyway so why stress about it?
Do you burn out at the end of the year? Do you have something that helps you finish well? Please share.