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This time of the school year is typically pretty drawn out for us. We are all at the point where we are counting the days, minutes, hours, and seconds until the final school day. Usually by now I have allowed our kids to operate on a bare minimum school schedule because my brain is tired of teaching & answering questions. Our homeschool has operated on a year-round schedule for the past few years which works great to eliminate those hard moments of homeschool burn-out for parents and their kids. Yet & still, the end of the school year just drags! Many parents who are "crisis schooling" now are sharing the same sentiments as they have mixed emotions about the school year ending in an unusual manner.
When I know school still must continue (so that we can accomplish at least 75% of our homeschool curriculum), I try to get creative with assignments knowing that my kids are bored of the usual daily routines and work. My go-to boredom and homeschool burn-out remedy is creating a fun unit study, however at this point of the year my brain is all 'planned' out! I feel like we are in the final stretch of the race so we will sprint forward to the finish line!!
The creativity does not stop, though! I see the long faces on my kiddos and I know they are tired of being home & not venturing out to our usual weekly outings and bi-weekly field trips with the co-op we belong to. One way I am changing things up is with my four year old, whose short attention span seems to have grown shorter in the past two months! My children's morning daily schedule revolves around him for this very reason! Every 30 minutes, someone (including myself) is giving him the attention he so craves. I tell my older children that their time with him is considered learning through play. They can play with him using his toys, busy boxes/busy bags, etc., but they must incorporate some form of learning in their play.
Yesterday I was not in the mood to do anything structured with him or any of my kids for that matter. I had a rough night and just could not seem to wake my brain up! For two days in a row the coffee I made tasted a hot mess and my body didn't want to get out of bed. I was nursing a headache and all I wanted to do was stay in bed. On days like those I try to make myself rest because I feel like it's my body forcing me to stop and rest. However, I could not.
We are having to replace the plumbing in our home, so workers were digging & drilling & knocking on the door. I could not rest if I wanted to. I knew my four-year old needed to do something more than look at a book in my office area next to me (which is all I felt like telling him to do). I channeled his energy and noticed all morning he simply wanted someone to look at him. "Mom!? Look at this!" is what I heard most of the morning before my scheduled learning play with him. Even though his siblings were right there with him to literally see him, he kept running away from them to me to show me what they created together. Awww! So sweet, right??! Yep! It sure is! But on a day like yesterday when I did not want to be bothered, it was absolutely nerve wrecking to have him come to me 563,000 times (it seemed like it, at least!) to show me whatever it was he figured out or created with his siblings, and to tell me what news he had about some randomness. I tried to not pour into him how I was genuinely feeling because I knew that he would then put that energy out into his siblings, eventually ending in me having to raise my voice or tell my little people to control themselves. Again, not in the mood.
In those nanoseconds that came before I realized it was my scheduled time with our four year old, I thought all of those thoughts and tried to figure out something fun & educational to do with him during our time. I went to my go-to: flashcards! But, how could I turn going over regular flashcards into a more engaging activity?? I literally glanced down at the squares on our floor and thought about putting a variation of the cards on the floor for my son to hop onto. I placed number and color cards randomly on the floor; his task was to hop to what number or shape I called out, pick the card up, and either count with his fingers or point to something the same color of the card he picked up. I placed about 20 total cards down, and we made through about fifteen cards before he began to get restless & silly. All-in-all, he got some energy burned off by jumping, reviewed his colors & numbers, and I enjoyed seeing him recite what he remembered! (I also went through spelling the color names- pointing to the letters on the card and saying them aloud- and he did great!) We were even interrupted twice by plumbers, but he remained focused and wanted to finish the game!
Throughout my family's homeschool journey, there have been lots of adjustments to my health (physical & mental), the kids' temperament, and simply dealing with life's blows. I have learned to think on my feet, and use as many instances I can as educational experiences. Our school year is almost over, and I will probably collapse at the finish line!
Has your school year ended yet? Do you use a traditional school calendar or year-round schooling? Leave a comment with your answers!