The school year is winding down and we are counting down the days until we are finished! Are you, like me, ready for a change of pace?! Are you experiencing some homeschool burnout? I get this way every spring when the beautiful weather starts sneaking in and all my summer plans and ideals are drawing me away. Here are 5 tips for finishing your homeschool year when you want to be done!
Video: 5 Tips for Finishing Your Homeschool Year
Spring is a time for new life. We live on a small farmette and during this season we have many outside responsibilities. We have chicks to care for, a garden to hoe, plant, and water, piglets to feed, eggs to gather from our hens… all these things draw us outside in spring.
We still make it a priority to do the basics: reading, writing, and math (and some of the extras.) Our kids know that after chores and Morning Time I expect them to get out their daily checklists and start on their work. This is my general expectation, however, in springtime, I hold it much more loosely.
Our academic work this time of year is lighter. The majority of our book work happens in winter from January to March. During these months, we probably cover twice as much book work as at other times. There are no major holidays during these months. It’s quieter and we are cozied up inside. We cover a LOT of ground in those few colder months so that we can ease up a bit when needed other times.
We take advantage of the flexibility in homeschooling to learn other important skills as they need more attention seasonably. Learning to grow your own food, plant from seed, prepare a meal from scratch, opening our pool, caring for animals, landscaping, organizing, spring cleaning, daily home repair and maintenance….these are also valuable lessons to learn.
Tip #1 Mix It Up
Whatever your routine is, do the opposite. Do something completely out of the norm for you. For example, start by going outside for a nature walk or exercising together, playing a strategy game, making a new breakfast meal. Sometimes adding just a little spontaneity into your routine can help change perspective.
You can still do the basics of your normal routine: math, reading, and writing. But changing things up can make if more enjoyable!
One day at the end of last year, we mixed it up by watching a documentary at the beginning of the day. The documentary was on the game Monopoly. It was all about the history of the game, strategies, and Monopoly classes and competitions. The kids liked it so much that afterward they asked me if they could have a whole day to play Monopoly together. With a little hesitation, I said yes.
I was so glad I did because this ended being one of the best school days we have ever had! When I asked them afterward what they learned from it, their answers surprised me. Other than the obvious… exchanging money and paying taxes and rent, etc., they learned so many strategies to use in the game. Many of the strategies were completely new to me! The kids absolutely loved doing this and still talk about the day we played Monopoly all day.
Tip #2 Work Outside
When the weather is warm enough, we take all our school work outside. The kids do their math at the patio table. They can read in the swing on the front porch. Maybe being outside makes it a little harder for them to focus, but usually by this time, it is just as hard for them to focus inside as well.
Let them take breaks and jump on the trampoline or ride their bikes. Give toddlers a bucket or dishpan of water and cups.
Some spring mornings we like to go outside right after our morning house chores and check on the garden and our chicks and piglets before starting our school work.
Over the years, I have enjoyed spreading a blanket on the grass and doing our afternoon read aloud time outside. The kids can look up at the sky or just observe all the natural activity around them.
Tip #3 Try Something New
Is there a project you have always wanted to try, but you never get to it? Maybe its a manipulative you want to practice or maybe you want to do more science experiments with your kids. Why don’t you ditch your normal plans and do that one thing? Not only will it bring some excitement to your day, it will also give you a sense of satisfaction having finally tried that one thing that you’ve had on your bucket list for such a whie.
(**Side note: This is not necessarily a good time to start a new curriculum. That could be stressful!)
I did this at the end of last year. Several years ago I had purchased a Homeschool in the Woods State Lapbook. I am not typically a unit study homeschooler, but at the time I bought it, I had thought it would be fun to study our state and make a lap book about it. I was so excited about it when I bought it, but it literally stayed in my desk drawer for years. I just never got around to it!
At the end of the year last year, I finally decided to give it a go. We got out some manilla folders, and used scissors to cut out the different clip art. It was a great end to our year because it was something totally different and new. We spent an hour or so every morning working on it and the kids learned so much about our state! We learned the Pennsylvania state song. I didn’t even know PA had a state song!
Tip #4 Take Advantage of Field Trip Opportunities
Field trips are wonderful for bringing a little variety to the week. Kids (and adults) love to see the places of things they have learned about. Or, how about learning how a product is made or how a company runs? Tour a factory, visit a traditional homestead, take a day trip to a zoo, explore local hiking trails, look for service opportunities, watch a drama or performance, shop at your local farmer’s market.
One field trip our kids really enjoyed was visiting an Amazon Fulfillment Center. With all the Amazon boxes coming to our door, it was fun for them to see how they are processed and where they come from. We like to do more field trips at the end of our school year because it’s so beautiful outside and by this time in our school year, everybody’s itching to get out and explore.
Tip #5 Include More Life Skills
Since everyone in spring wants a change of pace, why not ease up a bit on the book work and use this time to incorporate more life skills into your homeschool?
Do your kids know how to…
- Wash their own clothes?
- Make change?
- Sew a button?
- Cook meals from scratch?
- Clean out a car?
- Change light bulbs and check smoke detectors?
- Care for a garden?
- Wash windows and glass surfaces?
- Organize a drawer or cabinet?
- Switch winter clothes out for spring?
- Iron a shirt?
- Apply for a summer job?
- Plan meals and grocery shop?
What life skills would you like your kids to learn? For more ideas, read Life Skills to Teach in Spring and Life Skills to Teach in Winter.
Hang in there, friend! We are almost to the finish line! Let’s make our few remaining days of school enjoyable for everyone!
I hope these 5 tips will give you some inspiration to finish your year with pizazz…or at least, just help you finish period!
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What tips do you have to help finish your homeschool year when you want to be done? I love hearing from other homeschool moms! Please share your ideas with others!
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!
Great tips. I feel like it’s always a push to finish the year out over here! lol We start having good weather and suddenly nobody wants to be inside much less in front of a book!
Thanks! Yes, we all need a break towards the end! And we all want to be OUT enjoying the sunshine!
Thanks for sharing these tips! I absolutely needed to hear this today!
You are welcome! Glad you found it helpful!
I needed this today! Great Post, thank you for sharing!
Glad to hear! You are welcome!
I notice that we tend to naturally go toward these ideas but I often want to fight it! It’s a good reminder to just use the creativity this time of year. Thanks!
Yes, I can relate! You’re welcome!
I love the idea of going outside with the school stuff! I remember loving that as a kid anytime we did that! Great tips! Thank you 🙂
You’re welcome! Same here! As a kid in school, I remember so many times looking out the window during school hours, especially when it was a beautiful day, wanting to know what was going on out there!