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The Spring Break Shuffle

It's that time of year, homeschool parents! Right around Spring Break every year, there are some things you need to do in your homeschool. I know you made awesome plans at the beginning of the year, and you had everything scheduled and figured out, but we've had a lot of months since then. It's time for some spring cleaning in our homeschools.

No, I'm not talking about cleaning up your homeschool space—although, honestly, that would probably be a good idea. Our cabinet could definitely use a straightening. No, I'm talking about cleaning up your schedules and lesson plans.

Here's the thing. Sickness, unexpected circumstances, last-minute excellent opportunities, and many things have affected your amazing calendar. You THOUGHT you would be on week 25 by this time, but you are actually on week 19. Has that ever happened to you? Don't worry. I have solutions!

Set an Ending Date

The first thing to do is sit down with your curricula and calendar. Do you have an ending date already identified? Do you want to change it? This is when you need to decide about that ending date. If your date is firm because your family has a scheduled vacation, we will keep that date. If you want to move it back, now is the time. You need an ending date. Everyone needs to know there is an end.

Adjust Your Leftover Lessons to Fit Your Days

Now, count the number of lessons or days left in each subject and the number of days left until your ending date. Is there a problem? Too many lessons and not enough days? You have options:

  • Double down. Do extra lessons. Get up earlier. Extend your school day. Assign homework. Go the extra mile. This might be an option if your child is in high school and is earning credit for the class. If your child is in elementary school, this might not be necessary.

  • Drop some lessons. Look through the rest of the lessons and see what could potentially be skipped. Do you need to do those lessons on division, or will they hit that again next year? Is there a book they've already read a few years ago that you could skip? Can you have them do just the odd-numbered problems? Can you go over that worksheet orally? Can you watch a movie or documentary on that topic rather than read the chapters in the textbook? I'm not talking about skimping on their education. I'm just asking you to think creatively.

  • Have a catch-up day (or week). One year, my daughter was pretty behind in Biology. We decided to take a whole week and do a Biology intensive. We spent the whole week doing nothing but Biology lessons, videos, worksheets, and labs. I scheduled it all out beforehand, and we got it done! Then, we returned to our regular schedule. Maybe just a few days of multiple math lessons would do the trick? Maybe some bedtime reading could happen?

  • Combine subjects. Skip that extra reader and have your child read a book on a science topic instead. Reading + science = done! Instead of having them write that rough draft by hand, let them type it. Writing + typing = done! Listen to audiobooks while walking. Any subject + P.E. = done! The possibilities are endless.

One warning I would give you is not to burn your child (or yourself) out by pushing everyone so hard that they hate school. There really isn't a need to finish every single problem on every page. Lee Binz, the HomeScholar, helped me so much with this by saying that 80% complete is enough. You choose what to skip and what to complete. Just make sure you are doing enough and call it done.

Summer break is a great place to absorb some of the work you didn't get a chance to finish but feel is important. Go ahead and end school on your chosen date, and then use the summer to work on the extra stuff. Maybe you can just work a few hours a week.

You can also help to finish the year by dropping some extras like art, typing, handwriting, etc. Use the long summer days to work on those easier things.

The last thing I have to say is to please check your state homeschool laws and be sure you are following them, whatever you decide. Also, if you are under an umbrella school, be sure to abide by their requirements. I hope this has helped ease the burden on your mind about finishing the school year. As always, if I can help you in any way, please contact me.


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