Welcome to our final post in our Spring-Cleaning Series! If you are just joining us, here’s what you’ve missed so far:
- ~Why SPRING wants to be CLEAN~ . . . even for those of us who like to do our own thing!
- HOW I FINALLY GOT CLEAN . . . with a little help from my friends.
- My 12-Step Spring Clear-Out Routine + DECLUTTERING THE HOMESCHOOL HUTCH!
- Our CRAFT CUPBOARD CLEAROUT+ Six Crafty Ways to Use Up Old Art Supplies!
- Homeschool DESK DECLUTTER!
Summer biting at your heels these days? Whether you and your kids are ahead, behind, or right on schedule to finish up the school year, a certain amount of Spring Fever is pretty standard. There’s just something about all those birds chirping outside the window to drive a kid . . . cuckoo. And the way the sunshine saunters suggestively across the backyard all flipping day long . . . well it’s enough to put even the brightest of kids into a hypnotic haze.
This is normal. And be assured, the whole Spring Fever pandemic is in no way exclusive to Homeschool families. In fact, the most oppressive bout of Spring Fever I ever witnessed was with an extra itchy graduating class of 8th graders in my second year as a middle school teacher. I don’t know who was more excited to see them graduate . . . me or them. So, if you and your kids are slugging and slogging through your Homeschool routine these days, know first and foremost that you are not alone!
Whatever grade your kids are, and whatever stage of Spring Fever you may find yourselves, I have found (as a student, teacher, and now Homeschool mom) that the best antidote for the monotony of it all is to simply switch things up. Just like our house needs a good and hearty spring-clean at the conclusion of winter, so does the Homeschool routine need a spirited spruce toward the end of the school year. The dust and clutter has accumulated on our Homeschool routine and it’s time for a refreshing clear out!
You may be thinking: “Seriously? A refresh . . . right now? But we’re so close! Can’t we just muddle through these last weeks until summer break?”
I hear you. It’s tempting to just . . . get by ’til summer. But please consider what is at risk here. A little bit of lost learning is not the only casualty that “getting by ’til summer” will claim. Indeed, slogging through the last weeks of the school year not only leaves a bitter aftertaste in a child’s mouth from the present school year, but a weak, dismal finish often causes a distaste for the upcoming year as well.
In other words, buying into a defeated and distasteful demeanor toward the last weeks of the school year sabotages your child in two ways. First, your child is sure not to learn very much during those weeks. Ever tried to teach a bored and/or grumpy child? Secondly, and I think more importantly, your child is sure to experience a certain amount of lost love for learning in general. And this can have long-lasting effects.
For if a child does not learn while in school to truly LOVE LEARNING . . . well, that can mark the beginning of the death to his or her entire education. Because love and learning go hand in hand. Without love, education is just a marker of time . . . a barrier, a hoop, a sort of detention, if you will. Without love, learning will be just another chore on the checklist of childhood. Lose the love, and you strangle the life and breath out of education. How’s that for some encouraging words? 😆
Let’s not waste these last weeks until summer. After all, spring is a time of rebirth, renewal, and beauty . . . a time that should be bursting with life, not stifled by boredom and lethargy! Let’s model our spring school days accordingly. Rally with me to make these last weeks of the school year full of life and love! Let’s instill in our children a thirst for knowledge and a love for learning so that they follow it throughout their lives. My friends, it’s time to Spring Clean the Homeschool Routine!
~SPRING CLEAN THE HOMESCHOOL ROUTINE~
~inspired by the methods of Francine Jay, Karen Kingston, & Marie Kondo~
Step 1: Write out your current daily Homeschool schedule (even if it has unraveled since the fall)
Step 2: Apply the “box method” to your Homeschool Schedule:
*These labels I have adapted and streamlined from Karen Kingston’s “Box Method”
First, look at your list and put a star next to any areas of the Homeschool schedule that you and your kids love and look forward to each and every day. These are your treasures. And they stay.
For us, our *treasure* areas are:
- Cozy Corner
- Music & Movement Time
- Skill School / Project Window
- Cooking with Kids
- Science Unit Study
- Arts & Crafts Window
Sometimes refreshing your routine may have less to do with WHAT you are actually doing than WHERE you are choosing to do it. A change of space may be just what the doctor ordered to liven up your end of the year spring school weeks. The most obvious and easiest change of space is to simply take it outside! If the weather is lovely, it can be absolutely tortuous to stay inside at a desk all day. It doesn’t mean that your kid hates Homeschool. It simply means that your child loves life!
Areas of your Homeschool Schedule you may want to consider “transferring” out of doors:
Are their items on the Homeschool itinerary that (no matter where they take place) no one in your home is enjoying anymore (yourself included)? Perhaps some of these items can simply be dumped to make way for something fresh and new.
Areas of your Homeschool Schedule you may want to consider “trashing” (if only just for these last weeks):
Eight months of worksheets may be enough. If your child masters the concepts of a certain subject well, a worksheet may be entirely unnecessary for them even in a less trying season. Of course, if you are concerned about mastery, or if your child is struggling or behind in a certain area or subject, then dropping the worksheets may be more concerning to you, and understandably so! If your child needs a break, however, consider only assigning odd or even numbers on the sheet, or complete just a few items verbally together.
What? Skip the quiz??? Bear with me. As a Homeschool parent, you have far less need for assessments as a standard teacher does. Why? Well, a teacher is more or less married to evaluations in order to keep tabs on six or more classes of 20+ students each. In other words, a teacher has a limited knowledge of how his or her students are faring in the class content without a test or quiz simply because there are so many flipping kids. This shouldn’t be the case for a Homeschool parent.
You work with your child each and every day. You should have a very accurate idea of how well your child is grasping content, test or no test. A few questions after reading time, a little bit of discussion after a history lesson, some working out of the math problems together . . . you may find little need to no need for an assessment. If in doubt, utilize assessments where you feel you need them. But for subjects/areas that your child is obviously excelling in, do both of yourselves a favor and DUMP THE QUIZ (at least for a while).
- QUARTER PROJECTS that your child has lost interest in to the point of loathing
You know that replica of the Parthenon? The one that has been covering the dining room table for three weeks? Or that makes-you-want-to-scream Science fair project that is taking up half of the garage? Yeah, it may be time to let it go.
What? Let him off the hook? Well, if it means a little fresh inspiration and time spent engaged together in peace and harmony . . . perhaps yes. And if the project has made a mess in your house and is making you really not enjoy your Homeschool journey with your kids . . . then definitely yes!
- AN ENTIRE SUBJECT if your child has excelled in it to the point of boredom
Don’t worry, Math will still be there in the fall, and hopefully you can find a more challenging curriculum so that your little mathematician isn’t bored out of her mind again! Plus, dumping it for a few weeks may allow you additional time to focus on that trouble subject . . . like reading. Just be sure to adhere to the following so that your child does not lose academic ground:
*If you drop math: play card and board games at least a few times a week and give your child a fact sheet at least once a week (hopefully one that isn’t too easy).
*If you drop Language Arts: make sure you are reading to your child every day and that your child is independently reading each and every day as well. This should be done all summer long anyhow. Also, give your child an interesting writing prompt each week, or have him/her keep a journal if that is of interest to your child. Alternatively, your child may opt to write a collection of poems, write to a pen pal, create a short story, or pen a great American novel!
*If you drop Science: get out in the garden together, watch nature/science documentaries during the week, and read nature and science-filled literature from your local library.
*If you drop History: who cares? Just joking! 😆 Read historical fiction or living literature steeped in heritage.
Thanks so much for joining us!
Join us next week as we begin our new series: WHAT IN THE WORLD SHOULD I DO WITH MY KIDS THIS SUMMER?
I’m super excited about this much requested series! Subscribe below so you don’t miss out!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~