20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

To Finish or Not to Finish?

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credit: Todd Wilson

The other day on Facebook I shared a graphic from Todd Wilson (the Family Man) and really truly loved the variety of comments from you all! (No really – I do!)

With the end of the year looming SO very close, there are days that we just want to be done. Finished. We are squeezing in testing along with wrapping up a few of the remaining subjects, but I will admit that it’s tempting to put one thing aside sometimes and call it good. 

And the truth is, we have done that in the past. (and our kids have survived). 

Despite there being 180 days of lesson plans or boxes to check off, there have been a few that we didn’t do every single lesson. Last year, a mere ten lessons from the end, one child asked if they could take the final test in the class and if they received a 94 or above – stop. Guess what? They scored a 100. Class over. (I’ll admit though, this is hard because I’m a girl who loves to check off boxes!)

The beauty of working 1:1 with our kids is we know when they have mastered something or need to focus in a bit more until they have. If it’s been mastered – it’s okay to move along. There is the aspect of high school classes to take into consideration (we have a level of commitment there we definitely need to hit in order to earn a high school credit), but if my 4th grader has mastered all the prepositions and can diagram and break down a sentence, I may not need to finish the last chunk of lessons when he already has the rest mastered. 

One mom mentioned: 

… most curricula was designed to include more in it than the average classroom/family could possibly do in a school year. In fact, some texts have directions for using a single textbook for at least two years of study. There are times we’ve taken two years to finish something, but there are times when we say that we’ve done enough and move on. (thanks Cheryl!)

Coming from the public school setting, that is so very true. No matter how much I may try to fit everything in, there is always more than enough to do. There are also days that we go off on rabbit trails and extend the learning in other ways. 

But on the other hand…

On the flip side of that, I love this comment too from another mom (Elizabeth): 

I see it as being a good steward of our finances and teaching the kids to be perseverant. I have done the hundreds of hours of research to determine which curriculum is best for the learning styles of my very different children. Then spent the hundreds of dollars that my husband has earned by sacrificing his time and talent away from our family…

The truth is – that resonates a lot with me as well! If the curriculum has been a great fit for our family, we need to remember that many of us have invested both time and money into our year – and it is important to follow through. I do think too that it is important to teach our kids the value of following through with commitments we have made. Sometime we don’t always like to do something, but it can be a matter of establishing good habits. 

My overall thoughts are this (and I’d love to hear yours too!) –  if you are feeling stressed out and about at your wits end, maybe even feeling like this year has been a flop and you are failing at this homeschooling thing… well, it ok to give yourself a little grace. I may just be time to put that history book aside and focus on getting the core stuff done. Or looking at the bigger picture – can you put the rest aside and pick up later? Or start fresh next year. Different states do require various things to complete the year, so take that into consideration as well. 

Maybe you need to take a day break and jump back in with a fresh focus to finish up the last bit with gusto. If one more worksheet might push you over the edge, maybe there is a creative way to finish out your year that both you and your kiddos can get on board with! Take that field trip and have fun together videotaping your kid’s thoughts on what they learned. Let THEM teach a lesson to you. (Check out this post for some ways to mix things up at the end of the homeschool year). 

The most important thing to remember is this: YOU know where your child is academically and what s/he does or doesn’t need to complete. Take the time to look back over the past year and honestly evaluate if you are good to go. Allow yourself grace if you are heaping guilt on yourself. 

It’s all about perspective and remembering what matters in the long run. :) ENJOY your time together with your kiddos! 

What are YOUR thoughts – every box checked or do you roll with it? 

 

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5 Things to ADD to the end of your homeschool year

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  • Homeschooling Succulents

    I don’t believe I ever completed a textbook in my public school career. Roll with it, they are designed to have more material than you can finish in a year. Don’t stress yourself!!

  • We school all year, taking breaks as needed (and a hefty few weeks in December), and it’s worked well because we’ve pieced together curriculum that just keeps going. But this is the first year we’re using a boxed curriculum for my 11 year old. New territory for both of us, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • Shannon Marie Federoff

    Former away-school teacher here…. also, please remember that many textbooks spend the first 1/4 to 1/3 of the book reteaching and reviewing the PREVIOUS year’s material (based on the assumption that children didn’t retain a lot of knowledge over the summer break and need a refresher). If you want to move faster, and know that your children are familiar with the concepts at the beginning of the textbook, skim through it or skip it.

  • Agree 100% – that is so much the loveliness of homeschooling too because we work very closely with our kids and know where they are. :) Thanks for sharing, Shannon.

  • ll

    We have never finished any curriculum. Never! I have six children, three have graduated. Two are in college, one is working. Yes, they have gaps. They are filling them in as needed- on their own. I don’t really care about finishing curriculum. To me, that is “doing school” instead of homeschooling. I’ve always used curriculum but more as a guide to help me…not a box to be checked. But that’s us- everybody has to do it their own way.

  • Thanks for sharing – it’s always encouraging to hear from those who have been through it all the way through! :)


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