This is episode two and today we are talking about the end of year drag.
(00:17) : We are in it to win it my friends. So what do I mean by the end of your drag? It’s also known as the end of school year blues. And I don’t just mean for the kids, I also mean for us as parents, we are so close to the finish line. But today I wanted to kind of talk about how us as homeschooling parents, how we can encourage her kids at the end of the school year to just get it done and just finish strong and have a summer of freedom. And I don’t mean to, you know, freedom of will from learning, I mean freedom from a curriculum and you know, just to explore all of the things that maybe we haven’t had time for or the weather hasn’t allowed for during the school year. So I wanted to talk about, you know, how can we help them stay on track during this time? How can we encourage them to finish the school year strong and not to just kind of limp across the finish line. So let’s go ahead and get,
(01:43) : As you may or may not know, this is my very first year homeschooling and I have to say with some degree of certainty that I have done it. I made it, I made it out of my very first year homeschooling. And I feel like not only should my kid receive some type of award, but I also as his mom who has homeschooled him this entire year and him and his brother mostly, I should also receive a reward. So hint, hint to my husband. If you listen to this, which you probably will, you know, maybe like a massage or something. So if there are any husbands out there, get to your wife who homeschools your kids a massage, maybe a spa package, nails, petty, all the works. Anyway, I digress. So I wanted to talk about how can we help our kids finish strong in the school year? And like I said, this is my first year, so this is my first time encountering these types of things with my children at this time of the year.
(02:56): I recently had a conversation with one of my best friends. She is a fourth grade teacher. And Brittany, if you listened to this, shout out to you. Um, she’s a fourth grade teacher at a local elementary school and I asked her, I’m like, do your kids seem like extra antsy and restless and just super wirey right now? And she was like, girl, yes, this is always the hardest. Like one of the hardest times of the school year because not only, especially in the public school, may is a very busy month for them. Uh, because of like testing and there’s lots of like end of year like sports things. There’s just always lots of things going on in the month of May, outside of school. But also, you know, at least for like midwesterners like northerners, this is when the weather starts to break and we finally can, you know, get outside. So she reassured me that it is totally normal for your kids to be totally bonkers at this time of the year.
(04:09) : And you know, some of the issues that you may encounter right now, and this is not exclusive to public school kids or homeschooling kids, their kids like they’re kids and you know, some of the things that you, you might be seeing in them at like these months, these weeks, during the month of April, May, June are, you know, restlessness. They are, you know, struggling to focus for a very long period of time. The weather is, you know, just pulling them outside. They just want to be outside because we’ve been trapped inside for so long. And this past winter that we’ve had here in Michigan where we suffered through a bitter polar vortex, let me tell you, my kids are just dying to be outside and I want them to be, I want to kick them outside and I want them to be outside all day long. But we have some things to finish first. You know, they’re also just, I feel they’re a little overstimulated at this point. We have done a lot of things this year. And, um, they need a break. They need a break. I need a break, we all need a break. So, you know, what are some things that we as their moms can do to kind of like usher them along, help them finish the school year confidently. And, and us too, so that we know that we can spend our summer not worrying about having to finish the math curriculum or not having to finish the writing, you know, things like that. Like what are some things that we can do to them.
(06:07) : So before I dive into some of the things that I have started to do and some of the things that I thought may work for other kids, I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the things that I personally have seen that I’m sure I’m not alone in this. So you may or may not know that we as a homeschooling family are not super curriculum based. However, we do have some things that I want to finish up. And the only thing in particular is our, um, like phonics and writing curriculum. So this year we used explode the code. I will link to it in the show notes if you want to check it out, I highly recommend it. But my oldest is doing, this year he did the kindergarten version and so he is on book two and then my four year old, he did the preschool version and in the preschool version there are three books in the whole series.
(07:17) : So we’re on the last couple of lessons. There isn’t a lot left, but I really, really want to have it done by the end of May, early June just because I, I want my kids to be able to just have a little freedom from that. And um, I too don’t want to have it like kind of lingering over me now we don’t want to get into, you know, curriculum and you know, we don’t, you don’t have to have a curriculum and all that, Yada Yada Yada. This is just something that I think is really important for them and they have both done excellent with it all year. So now I’m seeing just some issues with them not wanting to do it. Primarily my five year old and, and I know it’s not because he doesn’t like it, I’m not like forcing him to do it. It’s just a matter of it’s the end of the school year and it’s truly like pulling teeth, getting him to do it.
(08:29) : Now keep in mind that is really the only thing that we have structured to sit down and do. That’s literally it. It’s just one thing. So it’s not as if I’m asking them to sit down for three hours every morning to do all this curriculum writing, you know, sit down type of things. That’s not how it is. So we’re talking like 15 minutes, 20 minutes Max that I’m asking for them to just sit down and finish this. And my four year old, he is zipping through it and he in all honesty would have finished the preschool series of this curriculum. He would have finished a months ago and I just have kind of made him slow down just so I could kind of stretch it out throughout the whole year to give him something to do and to kind of keep his mind working throughout the whole school year along with his brother.
(09:38) : And then I’m with my five year old, you know, I have really and truly seen the fruits of this curriculum work. So I 100% believe in it and again, he has done so well with it. I know that it’s not that he just doesn’t work well with this. He’s just is a kid and he’s all done with school. Like he just doesn’t want to do it anymore. So I know that he is not alone. I know there are other parents out there that I’m sure dealing with the same things. I have another homeschool mom friend, she has older kids and they’re all like middle school and high school. And she said that she has always experienced the same thing. It’s always around this time of year that they, they struggle with the exact same thing. So I’m not alone. And if you are dealing with that too, you are also not alone. We are in this together.
(10:46) : So let’s talk about what are some things that we can do to get them to the end of the school year. So none of us are frustrated and we all are happy that we made it through and we are ready to celebrate summer. So one thing that you can do is have a calendar. I’m sure we all have a calendar that we look at every day, whether it’s in your kitchen and your school room and your liver at wherever it is. Have your calendar specifically for the last days, weeks of school that you have. And you know, one thing that I started doing over the last couple of weeks to kind of help us get to the finish line is going over and having my boys helped me mark off each day, each day as we go and then count, okay, this is how many days we have left of our school year. And I use that in air quotes.
(11:43) : But, um, you know, this is, this is the last day of school and like, let’s count, let’s see how many more days we have left so that they can visually see the upcoming last day of school for them. And I think for especially young kids, if they can have a visual of this is where I need to get to from here until then it helps them and it helps to like encourage them to like, okay, we’re, you know, this is where we are and this is where we need to get to. You know, kids, especially little kids are such visual hands on learners and giving them a concrete thing to look at. We’ll help them and maybe even, you know, have that calendar on your table or on your desk or somewhere where they can see it as they are finishing up those last, you know, days or weeks of school. So they, it’s a reminder of, you know, we’re almost there. You are doing great. Like, you know, let’s just get this done.
(12:55) : So along with the calendar you can also put on that calendar. One specific thing that I’m sure will give any kid a huge incentive to just truck on through and finish through the last few days. And that is to have a last day of school, first day of summer celebration party. So you know, and something special and include your kids in that planning. You know, ask them like what are some things that you guys love about summer? What is something that we can do to plan for our first official day of summer or our last day of school? Whichever you decide, you know, it can be one in the same or it can, you know, you can celebrate the last day of school, you can celebrate the first day of summer, whichever. But I think it’s such a fun idea to have your kids included in planning a celebration summer party and ask them what are the things you want to do.
(13:54) : You know, we can have ice cream and we can set up like the sprinklers in the backyard and we can get bubbles and you know, make a whole day of summer fun all one day to celebrate the awesome school year that we had and now we are in summer and we are in full summer mode and the sun is out. Everyone’s happy you did it and that’s something that you can put on that calendar so that again, they can visually see this is our last day of school and here is our summer celebration party so they can visually see this is what I’m working toward. Right.
(14:42) : Another way to help your kids at the end of the school year is take school outside, take all your work outside and do it outside, either on the sidewalk, at a patio table or at the park. Get them outside. This is something that is definitely exclusive to homeschooling. You know, this is not something you’re going to find at a public school. You know, teachers not going to take their entire class outside for every single lesson of the day or everything that they have to accomplish. So take advantage of those nice little perks that homeschool homeschooling gives you, that you can take your whole class, you’re, you know, one, two, three, four, however many kids outside to do their lessons and you know, this can just give them a little extra umph to finish those lessons or finish whatever they need to finish before the end of the year. A change of pace, a change of scenery really just may be the thing that helps them, you know, get over that little hump until you can be done with school for a little while.
(15:49) : Now this doesn’t work for every child and my child is one of those kids. So for my son, taking our schoolwork outside tends to be more of a distraction for him. Now I don’t think he will be like this forever. I think in this season it is a more of a distraction because he has younger brothers who aren’t doing the same things that he is doing. So they are off playing while he is sitting in, you know, writing or doing some school work. And that’s difficult for him. And I recognize that and I totally can relate. I understand why that is difficult. So what I have done for him in this may work for your child to, if they simply just get distracted easier outside, you can do what I have done. I will set a timer and I will give him 15 minutes to go play, go do you know, ride his bike, you know, run around in the yard and dig up some dirt, whatever he wants to do for 15 minutes.
(16:57) : And then when the timer goes off, I asked him to sit down usually inside because again, he tends to be more distracted if we’re sitting outside. So I’ll ask him to come inside for 10 minutes of focused attention on whatever lesson or whatever book that we’re reading. Just to finish that up. And I mean 10 minutes is really a long time for him, but that works. So if at the end of 10 minutes if we have finished than he is free to go play outside again and we’re all done and if we need a little bit more time I will give him a another 15 minutes outside, set that timer again and then ask them to come back inside to finish. And this seems to work for him the best. So again, it’s kind of like the uh, you know, the visual thing with the calendar. This gives him something that, okay, I have this much time to go do what I want to do and then I’m going to give mom just a little bit of my time to finish. And that really seems to be an incentive for him to just sit down and give me a couple minutes of his focused attention.
(18:17): Another way that you could wrap up the end of the school year, and this is primarily, I would say for younger kids, offer them lots of breaks, similar to the timer and being outside like I had just talked about. You can either space out your schoolwork throughout the day a little bit more and give them more breaks throughout the day. Or You could simply just ask them to do last during these last few days and just make it last a little bit longer and spread it out a little bit longer to go more into the summer. That may not be ideal. However, if it means that you can have your child sitting down and really putting in 100% of the effort for a smaller amount of time, you’re getting more quality education for them instead of them. You know, sitting down and doing, you know, lots of things hurriedly and for a long period of time just to get it done quicker. I really feel like, you know, spreading it out more and just offering them more breaks. We’ll give them Andy, you more quality and less stress. I mean we’re all restless at this time of the year. We all want to break and thankfully with homeschool you get to do that. Like that is one of the advantages you get to dictate what it looks like for your family, for your child and you can make it as short or as quick or as fast or slow as you need it.
(20:16): And last but certainly not least, I think this is something no matter what you do at the end of the year, this is something that I think will help them by and far the most, encouraged them, praise them, give them words of support and admiration for what they have done. I mean they have been working so hard for several months to get where they are. They have very likely grown leaps and bounds since you started your school year, whatever month that would be for you. For us, we do a traditional school year from September to May or June. So for us, you know my, my children have been working since September. They have done so much since then. They have grown so much. They have learned so many more new things and the best thing that I can do for them and that you can do for your children in these last couple weeks is just pour into them, encourage them, tell them, you know, wow, your handwriting has improved so much.
(21:30) : Let’s look, let’s look at what it looked like at the beginning of the year. Look at what it looks like now, or oh my gosh, at the beginning of the year you couldn’t do fractions and now you can like look how much you’ve done. I think celebrating that every single day, especially at the end of the school year really helps to give them that boost of pride and what they have accomplished and it really will encourage them to finish the end of the year strong because they can see, they know that they have done all these things, but sometimes we aren’t always the best at reminding them of just how much they’ve done and just how much they’ve learned. And I’ll be honest, like I can’t hardly even remember back to September. But when I like look back through all of the materials, like all of the things that we have done, I am amazed at what they have accomplished and me encouraging them and offering that support, especially now when they are rough lists and they just want to be done, I can see that little spark in them. They’re like, wow, I have done so much. I mean, if I forget how much they’ve done, I know that they surely have to. So I truly think that just lifting their spirit and reminding them how far they’ve come, we’ll give them that extra boost to finish out strong so that they can have a wonderful summer with their family and with their friends. And that you too can finish knowing that you weren’t dragging them along, that you can get them there confidently and with enthusiasm.