I always remember my Mum, who is a counsellor, stressing the importance of beginnings and endings. I’ve taken this piece of down to earth advice into my adult life and have often been the beneficiary of it. In our home ed days, we implement it not only in marking the beginning and endings of term, but also celebrating finishing a “curriculum” book (ie maths or English) with a bar of chocolate, celebrating the beginning of a new season or half way points such as Candlemas or Midsummers day.
This has been a most unusual year, and for some home educating families it’s been hard to get into the normal rhythm. False guilt might then whisper that we haven’t done enough work and so therefore haven’t earned our celebration and holiday. I’d advice not listening to these whispers…we have all had to dig deep into our creativity, flexibility, patience and endurance over this year, and however our children’s folders might look, I think we all need time off and will begin next term the better for it.
For some who have a less structured approach anyway, I’d still suggest a celebration….for all the day to day learning and living that you have achieved! For yet others, learning continues but in a less structured way, maybe more project or activity based. You too can celebrate the transition into summer learning!
We generally stick fairly much to school term times, although always with extended holidays. This year we’ve finished particularly early, in the third week of June, for several reasons. Lanky Dude finished his exams and hence his arduous first year of university that week, I went down with Lymes disease and had been feeling really rough (fortunately antibiotics now kicked in and feeling much better) and we had a few days away with Granny, followed by our home ed group camping week end which were great ways to celebrate the end of a school year.
When we’re tired, which is often the case at the end of term, it’s tempting just to fizzle out, but I always think it’s worth exerting one more splurge of energy and finishing well. For us, this usually involves looking through the children’s folders, and talking about what they have enjoyed and what hasn’t been so good. Fortunately, it is usually lots of enjoyment, which is always encouraging as this is not the impression I’ve received on some days! I then jot this down in my notebook, which is helpful for when I plan the next term.
Our celebrations are many and varied. Often it’s been an outing or activity, sometimes a special meal, maybe lemonade in wine glasses to shout “cheers”, maybe a meet up with friends or something seasonal at Christmas time. This year, due to feeling poorly, I mustered all the energy I could find and made some shortbread, Dancing Toes set a beautiful table and Sparkly Eyes picked some strawberries. We then settled around it to look through our folders and enjoy a summer themed poetry teatime.
As we finished so early, we will pick up a read aloud still in the basket once all our camping trips are done, we will listen to lots of audibles and of course our whole family learns as we visit museums and other places of interest during our holidays. I feel we need to catch up with a year’s worth of field trips! I’ll also continue gently working on reading and handwriting with Sparkly Eyes when we are back home. However, before that we need time to rest. I need to be able to catch up on my stockpile jobs so I can truly enjoy some summer days at home, reading, pottering in the garden, watching the clouds and listening to the breeze rustling through the trees.
May we all have a summer of rest, refreshment and restoration.