A contagious disease has hit the land! The symptoms include an uncontrollable desire for fresh air and sunshine, the smell of flowers blooming and birds chirping, trading sweaters and boots for t-shirts and flip flops. And most importantly, SCHOOL! Everyone is sick and tired of schools, from the teachers to the students and even the parents. The dreaded disease is SPRING FEVER.
When I was a teacher I counted down the days until school was over. When I was a homeschooler, it got tough to finish.
We humans have a tendency of wanting to quit right before we finish. It’s a funny thing. Have you ever run a long race and it got so hard right before it was over, but when you pushed a little harder you finished strong? What about reading a long book? I’ll look at the page count and think this book will never end, but when I get to the climax, I can’t put it down and I feel good when I finish.
And school is the same way. We are excited when the year begins. We buy new school supplies and have such wonderful plans. Then life sets in, the kids start complaining, and we want to quit or put it off. We decide to take a break and before we know it, we fall behind.
So what’s a tired family to do? If you have little ones, this time of the year is the perfect time to school outside. Concentrate on nature walks, gardening, catching butterflies and the like. Read spring stories, write about spring, do your math outside and go on picnics.
If you are not the nature type, try doing extra crafts. Make gifts for grandparents, paint rocks, mosaics, flower water color paintings. Let your imagination run wild.
If you are a mom whose creativity washed away with the April showers and you just want to finish, I suggest you do the minimum and finish. Do something each day. You may want to do only math one day, read one day, etc. You get the picture. If you are close to finishing one subject, work hard on that one and finish strong. Maybe open your windows for fresh air or try another location. A coffee shop or the library may be a good idea for a change of pace. Or trade off with another family. You may want to teach math and another mom may want to teach english. Sometimes a change of pace is all you need.
There is something to be said for perseverance. I am from the San Antonio area and we are big Spurs fans. When the Clippers and Spurs played the 7th game for the 1st Round of the Western Conference Play-0ffs, Chris Paul, the Clippers Point Guard pulled a ham string. That is a very painful injury. In spite of the pain, Chris Paul finished the game, the Clippers won the round and will now play the Rockets in the Western Conference semi-finals. Chris Paul persevered in spite of the pain and his team won the game. He will sit out for at least one game of the next series, but he finished strong this series!
At times we as parents must persevere and finish strong. Sometimes we need to work hard and “get ‘er done”, especially if we are almost finished. Perseverance is a good quality we need to teach our children and we need to persevere so that we can teach the quality to our children. (Ouch, I know it hurts, but it’s said in love.)
When I was homeschooling, I struggled with Spring Fever, like everyone else. Some years I ended school and said I’d work on something during the summer (usually math). And you know what, I rarely did. We would go on vacation, have play dates, swim, sleep in, stay up late and do all the other fun stuff you do in the summer. And I’d start the next school year behind before I started. However, the good thing about math is that the first 20 or so lessons at the beginning of a curriculum are review, so you can review your skills (or teach them the first time) when the school year starts. Also, the last 20 or so lessons at the end of the math book are also review, so you may be able to skip them if your kids are strong in math.
Anyway, every family has a homeschooling story and follow your heart. Pray about what God would have you do to finish strong! You are the head of your school. Do what’s best for you and your family!
Blessings to you as your raise your child in the way they should go.
Disclaimer: if you are completely overwhelmed with life, take a break! You know yourself better than anyone and if you are suffering from severe burnout, don’t beat yourself up; simply pick up where you are and carry on. Do the best you can. If necessary, consider sending your children to a traditional school next year and/or seek professional help.