How does a somewhat exhausted, mentally drained homeschool mom find the energy to finish the school year STRONG?
Oh, it's very easy to START the school year strong.
Finishing strong is another story.
This year, as I sat and looked at the calendar for April and May, I realized we have a lot to get through, but it's all GOOD, and (surprisingly) our whole family is energized for the final push towards the finish line.
I don't feel like this part of the year has been as successful in past years, and I can pinpoint the reasons why. This year is just a different ballgame, and I'm actually looking forward to these last 4 weeks of school -- looking forward to FINISHING STRONG.
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Steps to Finishing Strong
Be organized: We share a family calendar through our iPhones and this ensures that no one misses something
Get REST : This is especially important for MOM... our house closes shop around 9-10 each night!
Keep a Schedule and Commit to WORK: Yes, I know that one of the benefits of homeschool is sometimes sleeping in, but with the volume of work my kids have right now, they are waking up to alarm clocks for the next few weeks. We work from 8:30-3:00 (sometimes later for Anna) and stick to what is on the planner for each day.
*One of the biggest benefits of our family being involved with Classical Conversations is the accountability and motivation it provides. I believe in the Classical model and appreciate having everything laid out as a GUIDE by CC. In the Challenge years, accountability to the tutor and peers is also extremely helpful. We are finishing strong because material is being learned until the very last day of class!
In our homeschool this week we have enjoyed seeing all of the birds come back to their feeders on our deck. Grant works right by the deck windows and can tell each bird by their song. I LOVE THAT! His math lesson each morning is punctuated by bird identification!
He is working on memorizing the Preamble to the Constitution with the Preamble Scramble, and also reviewing all of the other areas of the memory work. We watched a video about the Okefenokee Swamp and the Olympic Rainforest. We have also been reading out of the Kingfisher Book of Great Boy Stories each night.
We've diagrammed our last week of sentences for Essentials and are reviewing our grammar charts. Maybe you will think we're crazy, but Grant and I are going to MISS Essentials each Tuesday. I am so thankful for the gift of our tutor and how she makes grammar fun and engaging.
Tinker Crate took center stage this week with a project about hydraulics. We LOVE the Tinker Crate! With the 25% off sale going on right now it might be a good time for you to try it - I think it is a great summer learning activity for kids.
Anna has three more weeks of Challenge B and they are BUSY weeks. She is memorizing parts of the Periodic Table of Elements and completing an Adopt An Element project. She is also preparing for Mock Trial (what a HUGE undertaking, but much fun!), which has included extra study groups at the library. Finally, she is editing her short story and working on designing a cover and formatting the story. Somehow, in addition to her work, she is reading incessantly. She really enjoys reading about history, which prompted my post this week: Historical Fiction for Teen Girls.
Give your kids an outlet - With everything that we need to complete, it is important that my kids have an outlet. Both of my them love music. Playing piano actually relaxes them (plus I know it's just great for them in so many areas). Grant also enjoys basketball, riding his bike, and just about anything outside.
I believe in giving my kids the gift of TIME so they can master things. Playing piano is something their dad and I want them to MASTER. Yes, we've had bumps in the road and times when they don't want to practice, but we persevere and we are seeing the fruits of that perseverance.
Practicing daily is just a part of our homeschool routine, as is music theory.
Grant has been learning about Tchaikovsky a little more this week, using my SQUILT curriculum. We are working through Volume 3: Romantic Era, and he has been learning all about music of the Romantic Era.
(If you use the discount code SCORE, you can receive 25% off any volume - or BUNDLE - of SQUILT!)
Make Time for Fun : With all of the work (especially for my Challenge B student) required, the temptation would be to just buckle down and DO it and forget about everything else. With a teenager, however, having fun is just good for the soul, plus it energizes her to get the rest of that work accomplished.
We did so many fun things in the past week!
* We took an afternoon and went bowling with our friend, Eddie. And - no matter how you bowl - Eddie tells you it's awesome, and after a while you KNOW it's awesome because of the people you are with, not the score on the computer screen! We topped it off with shakes at Steak 'n Shake.
* We went to a screening of Beyond The Mask - what a wonderful, Christian movie! The theater was FULL of homeschoolers, many of them our Classical Conversations friends. One of our Challenge students was the theater captain, who was responsible for bringing the showing to our local theater. (Of course, I could only snap a shot of Grant and his friend - it was hard to catch the Challenge kids long enough for a picture!)
* One day on the weekend was spent solely OUTSIDE - Grant had a friend over and they played baseball in the backyard the entire afternoon. Anna crept outside at one point and those kids were laughing so hard, just having fun together. We all enjoyed a great meal on the deck that evening and went to bed happy.
That was our VERY busy week in a nutshell.
We are one more week closer to the end of our school year, and we are finishing STRONG.
Are you close to the end of your year? Tell me about how you are finishing the year in the comments below!
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