Our school year is winding down. We’ve sputtered along for the last few months moving, unpacking, commuting 50 miles one way four days a week to finish extracurricular activities (dance and piano), and fighting a record Spring for seasonal allergies. Some subjects are done; others are stuck in Groundhog Day-mode. Never seeming to end. My older girls are further along because they are able to do several subjects independently. My second grader is hopelessly behind, and we’ll probably just call it done before long. We can pick up what’s left for review at various times during the summer, which I’m sure she’ll just love.
Spring seems to be a struggle for everyone in school. If it’s not the weather or the allergies, it’s the feeling of straining to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I take a deep breath mid-April and plug on, striving to finish well. What does “finish well” mean? To some, it might mean everyone not killing each other. There are certainly those days in our house. For others, it might mean finishing every last page of every workbook and gluing the finishing touches on the perfectly scaled Egyptian pyramid model. Um, that’s not us.
My checklist for finishing well is part practical, part realistic, and part idealistic. I’m practical in what needs to be done to have learned the material for the year, so that the next year can proceed as planned. Each grade builds on the previous year, and I plan our curriculum to flow as well as can be expected in a large household with disctintly different personalities and educational needs.
I’m realistic that life happens, such as moving or illness, and not everything can be accomplished with perfection. We do our best, discuss the options, and alter course, as needed.
I’m ever the optimist in how much we can learn. I want them to learn to push the envelope. No quitting. We go the extra mile, even when its inconvenient. My kids may never be Rhodes scholars, but I expect they will do well with the oppotunities given them. When I get a little too General MacArthur-ish, I remember my second goal. Be realistic. The war is won one battle at a time, which just means we don’t do geometry in elementary school or read Shakespeare in kindergarten.
As the end of May approaches, we are working to finish what’s practical, planning a realistic schedule to accomplish our goals, and optimistically setting our sites on lofty goals for the summer and next year. Take a deep breath with me, and let’s finish well.