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5 Things to ADD to the End of Your Homeschool Year

With the end of the homeschool year in sight for many, there are days when motivation is running L-O-W and the desire to be done is on the opposite end of that spectrum. It may seem an oxymoron, but really, there are five things you can add to the end of your homeschool year that may help you finish the year strong!

 5 things to add to the end of your homeschool year from Homeschool Creations

5 Things to Add to the End of Your Homeschool Year

I know, I know. Who has time to add anything in? Right now, it seems like we are barely holding on. Distractions are running rampant (spring fever anyone?). Kids are gazing out the windows, wondering when all this book-stuff will be over with. Let’s face it. Years ago, when spring rolled around the corner, we were doing the same exact thing as students. 

Years later and even as the teacher I’m looking out the same window ready for the final countdown. 

Here are 5 things you can add to the end of your homeschool year to finish it off well. Maybe there are a some that you haven’t tried yet! 

A Different Location

Our schoolroom is quite honestly the last place we have been spending time lately. I know – that wonderful space we put so much thought and effort into. But it really isn’t going to waste! It’s easy to forget the world offers some wonderful places to stretch out and learn. A front porch swing is perfect for reading together. A blanket on the lawn in the warm sun is a great place to work on math. Swinging in a hammock means grammar time will go by a little more quickly. 

Wherever it is – outside or in- the world is at our fingertips. Maybe there is a fun playground nearby (hey, those public school kids are still in school and not hogging all the equipment) where you can sit on a bench and work on some math, take a 10 minute play break, and then get back to another subject. 

Fun Days 

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Make Fridays ‘fun days’ or start scheduling in some field trips. Often those are the first things we eliminate from our homeschool time because we get so caught up in the academic work that needs to be accomplished. But don’t forget, learning can happen anywhere. There are so many amazing educational field trips and just because they don’t fit in with a particular historical period you are studying or a unit you are learning about, doesn’t mean that trip won’t teach you and your kids a thing or two. 

Schedule an end of the year field day or plan some joint fun days at the park with another family – get out and enjoy your time together as a family! While you’re at it, be sure to plan in a celebration day too! Make banana splits for dinner or have a Wii night – let the kids choose how they want to celebrate the upcoming end of the year. Having fun stuff in place makes the time fly faster and keeps everyone motivated to finish up!

Flexibility

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to check off every.single.box in your lesson plans. Oh, a good plan is always lovely, but when that plan gets in the way of stimulating learning, it’s time to add in a little flexibility. 

Take a look at what curriculum still needs to be focused on, sit down with each of your kids, and see if there is a way to be flexible with what remains. Alternatively, ask your kids if there is anything other subject they are interested in focusing on the remaining time of school and don’t be afraid to switch it up and focus on a new learning area!

Incentives

It’s important to teach our kids that we finish what we start. Set a goal – and a reward – to the completion of your school year. It can be as simple as a trip to your favorite smoothie shop (especially when drinks are half-price in the morning) or an afternoon of bowling. As adults we work hard when there are incentives on the line and our children are no different! It’s not bribery, it’s encouraging them on. We don’t need to offer them all year long, but sometimes an added bonus is nice and makes us work even harder!

Encouragement

Who doesn’t love a little encouragement? While hearing something verbally is wonderful, sometimes having a written note to remind a child of a job well done can be an added reason to press in and keep going! 

Pull out that old set of notecards or print off some fun ones here. Stick them in your children’s books, bags, or under their plates, but remind them of the great job they are doing, how much you love them, and how proud you are of them. We all need to hear that! 

5 things to add to the end of your homeschool year


 

How do you keep your children focused

and finish the school year strong?

Tell us in a comment below!


 
Another few posts you may enjoy….Why Your Homeschool Needs a Rest Time….

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…and 10 Things to Eliminate from Your Homeschool.

10 things to eliminate from your homeschool

Every Mom Has Hard Days – FREE Video Series

The kids are behind where your school plans say they should be. Housework is completely overwhelming you. Dinner? Let’s just say it might not be balanced again. And attitudes are running rampant – from both the mom-end and the kids. 

We ALL have days like this. Trust me – the tears flow on my end and there are moments when I hide in the bathroom for a few moments to pray and gather my wits together. But I feel like a failure more often than I care to admit. 

It’s so easy to let the “I’m not a good mother/wife…” rant cycle through my head over and over. Maybe you feel the hashtag #momfail should be added on to your entire day. 

(Can I encourage you in this area???)

As much as we feel we fail our families and ourselves over an over again, it really isn’t true. I know that it is so very hard in today’s Pinterest-heavy culture to get caught up in what we are not, rather than focusing on the truth of who we are as moms and women in Christ

That’s why I am SO excited to share a brand new and FREE video series from two moms in the trenches – with 8 kids and almost 20 years of mothering experience. Together they’ve put together an encouraging three video series for moms called “The Truth About #MomFail Culture: 10 Things You Need to Hear on the Hard Days”.

These moms understand how tough days can be! While they won’t solve all the problems you may have, they CAN offer a fresh perspective and encouragement from another mom who really gets it.

Each video is short – around 10 minutes, and you can watch it on any sort of device and whenever you’ve got a few spare minutes. To watch the free video series, just click this link and enter your name and email to sign up. You’ll get access to the first video today, and then one per day after that.

And meanwhile, if you need some encouragement right now, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll pray for you today! You don’t have to say why – just say, “Please pray!” Hang in there, momma. You are NOT alone and I’m giving you a hug from here.

 

Small Progress Over Time…

progress in small way adds up to big improvement - HomeschoolCreations 

The past few years have bee exhausting at times. As much as I try to remind myself every child learns at his own pace, there is always a part of me that has felt like I’ve somehow missed the mark. Not done enough. Am failing as a mom and teacher. 

Mentally I set goals and even wrote a few general ones down at the beginning of the year for Kaleb’s reading, but day to day it was hard to see progress being made. And it was frustrating (for both myself and him) very often. 

“Daniel’s Duck” was one book on Kaleb’s list to read this year, and this past week he read a large chunk of the book with little pause. A page with this much text would have completely overwhelmed him only a few short months ago. He has taken huge leaps in the last bit and I am so thankful to be a daily part of it (even when there are days that have me wondering if I am failing my child).

Every day sees progress in some small way that over time adds up to improvement. It’s hard to see at times, especially when we are a part of the small steps leading up to those larger strides. Yes, it requires perserverance and sticking through those (maybe many) rough days, but progress is being made. 

Can I encourage you in this, if nothing else, today? Bit by bit, step by step. When it’s overwhelming, when you are tired, and when you are uncertain – the things you are pouring into your child’s life and heart are taking root and growing. Be faithful – and encouraged, parents. You ARE making a difference in your child’s life.

 

 

*If you’d like to see our reading list, feel free to have a peek here. We very highly recommend All About Reading as well.

When You Just Want to Cry

If there’s one thing I can tell you for sure, there are days when homeschooling makes me want to cry. There are also days completely unrelated to homeschooling that make me want to cry. Parenting is tough. (Can I get an amen?)

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Some days there is a whole lot of back and forth between the kids. And by back and forth, I mean of the “not kind” variety. They are quick to get offended, but equally as fast to dish it out when the mood strikes. (Before I pick on the kids too much, that also happens in adult life too.)

Some days there are bright shining moments of laughter and camaraderie between the kids. Hours are spent together without one unkind word. The moments we all long for as parents.

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Today was a gorgeous day outside – almost 80 degrees and a much needed break from all the yuck and snow we literally had falling last week. The kids all headed to the backyard and set up their hammocks. Laurianna brought out her guitar and while I was sitting on the back porch, the sounds of all four kids singing together began to float through the air.

I’m sitting on our deck crying (happy tears). The kids have all their hammocks set up in the backyard, Laurianna has her guitar, and together they are singing and worshipping. You all. THIS. Yes, we did math and reading today, but ultimately this is what makes my heart the happiest. There are days when they fight. Or love fiercely and deeply. They are passionate kids and so full of life. But these – these moments are the ones that last and will be remembered, not only in my momma heart, but for years to come.

Posted by Homeschool Creations on Wednesday, 9 March 2016

(feed readers can watch the video clip here)

I sat on my deck crying. Happy tears.

You all. THIS.

While we did all of our schoolwork today, crossed the various subjects off our list, and it all looks good on paper, THIS is what makes my heart the happiest and means more than what any test or piece of paper can say.

I love what Lindsey said on Facebook when I shared the above video with you all:

“The most important and life long lessons don’t come from pencil and paper.”

There are days when the kids fight. Or love each other fiercely and deeply. They are passionate kids and so full of life.

But these – these moments are the ones that last and will be remembered, not only in my momma heart, but for years to come.

What is the Ideal Homeschool Day?

the ideal homeschool day quote

We were supposed to have school today, and even though we did some school, there is always a part of my brain that thinks if THIS much isn’t done, or if we end before THIS time, we didn’t really do school. Not all my boxes were checked off and pages completed in the correct sequence. (gasp!)

Am I the only one that wrestles with this?

Ironically, as I was listening to a podcast this morning, they were talking about this very thing. What I do know is the kids had a lot of fun today, my hubby was off work, learning was involved in various forms throughout our day – and that’s ok.

All that to say, this last week has been a humdinger of mental overload. Between my mom having surgery again last week to check out another suspicious mass (it wasn’t cancerous – thank you, Lord!) to an abundance of close family members having some major health issues and a hospitalization, my brain truly wants to not work hard at all. There has been a whole heap of unpleasantness happening and frankly it feels overwhelming during many moments of the day.

Let’s face it – all the overwhelming stuff, it isn’t in my plans (and I’d really it rather not be, if we’re being honest). This isn’t how I envisioned our life, our homeschool time to be. Sometimes that is more unsettling to me than others.

There are the moments that I need to remind myself that it is OK to step back, recoup, and relax for my sanity – and my family’s. One portion of Teaching from Rest really resonated with me and I wanted to share it so you all can get a peek into my thoughts too:

“’The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.’(C.S. Lewis)

We are … meant to recognize every facet of our day as coming from the hand of God. It all passes through His fingers first, and He uses it to make sure that we lean hard on Him.

Surrender your idea of what the ideal homeschool day is supposed to look like and take on, with both hands, the day that it is.”

– Sarah Mackenzie, Teaching from Rest

In the days, weeks, and months to come there will be ample opportunities to lean hard and surrender (I know I can count on that). And I will. I must.

This goes far beyond just our homeschool days as well, although they are definitely intertwined. Here’s to letting go of my ‘ideal’ and recognizing each day for what it is.

Life Lessons from an 8 Year Old

Life lessons from an 8 year old - Homeschool Creations

Our 8 year old has been running around the house with his left arm in a cast. This same boy was immediately concerned about how breaking his arm would affect his swimming. (Side note: I am NOT a parent that would push him to participate and say he has to swim – it was all boy wonder asking!).

His main concern immediately after breaking his arm:  Could he still swim, even if he had a cast on?

The doctor was able to set us up with a waterproof cast and made sure he could bend his elbow, and aside from a little initial discomfort that was relieved by filing his cast, he was good to go. Over the past two weeks he has been attending practices, working hard, but a little discouraged since he has been at the back of the line. Swimming with a cast apparently isn’t easy. (Who knew?)

This past weekend we had another swim meet where he was given permission to compete – and the boy was THRILLED. Even more so when he placed first in all three of his events, taking time OFF his freestyle and getting his best time ever!!!

Yeah – there may have been some hollering over that one!!

And you know, it’s been at the front of my mind all week. How often do we get easily discouraged in a situation and think we’re stuck, can’t change, can’t do any better – and stop putting effort into something because the odds look like they are stacked against us?

I know I’m not alone in this one! Whether getting frustrated in an area of homeschooling, a part of parenting, pushing aside projects that are just too overwhelming because it isn’t one of my ‘strengths’ – well, it can be all too common in life to stop pushing and just give up.

What would happen if we still, despite our circumstances, choose to look at a situation in a different light? Push through the hurt and the obstacles in an attempt to overcome? Do even better than we imagined? Sometimes putting out the effort is hard, but we have to take that first step in order to get moving in the right direction.

How much would things change?

Funny how a simple little cast can shed light and expose areas in my own heart that needed a little prodding. All thanks to the arm of an 8 year old.

Is there an area of your life that you feel like you’ve given up or are discouraged? Can I give you an little encouragement today – keep trying. Take that first step – and know that I’m cheering you along (and myself too!).