Planning to Finish Strong
As spring sets in, thoughts about finishing the school year may surface. This is a great time to refocus and look toward the finish. This may be a source of excitement or stress. Are you on track? Are you frustrated with the school year?
Recently, I was feeling stressed because we had fallen behind with our schedule. Last summer, I had mapped out our school year and planned how much material would be covered. This may not be how you plan your year, but I like to do it this way. It allows me to figure out ahead of time what needs to be done each week in order to “complete” each subject. Usually, I review the plan throughout the year to make sure we are on target to finish, making any needed adjustments along the way.
This did not happen this year. We have been plugging along with our lessons, taking time off here and there, and I have not kept up with my planning. This has led me to worry about not finishing and a nagging feeling that we were really far behind.
When my kids were younger, I did not worry about not finishing. Sometimes we didn’t finish the unit studies that I had planned or read all of the books that I had intended, but the days were filled with meaningful activities, and my kids always achieved the basic skills needed at each grade level. Besides, there was always next year. Now that my children are older and college is not far away, I’m feeling a bit more pressure.
So, to ease my worried brain, I spent some time in prayer. Then, I went back to my plan to assess the situation. It’s funny how we often build things up in our minds to be worse than they are. After reviewing the plan, I realized that we were actually not that far off. I had thought we were behind in every subject. We weren’t. In one subject, we were actually ahead! I don’t know how we managed to do that.
Feeling less stressed than before, I altered my original plan. I spent some time thinking about how the school year had gone so far. What was working? What was not? Was too much time being spent on one subject and too little on another? What exactly did I want my kids to learn by the end of the year? By answering these questions, I was able to make the needed adjustments that should allow us to finish strong, Lord willing. My prayer is that you finish strong, as well.
Heidi Kinney is a freelance writer and editor. Her background includes professional teaching in the area of mathematics, as well as writing and editing for several educational publishers. She has been homeschooling her children since 2007. She shares homeschool resources and lessons on her website, SharedLessons.org.