Finished With School (For a While)

We are officially finished with 180 days of school- our state requirement. We are having our "summer break" now. Really, we school year round, but I do try to take a break at the end of each quarter.
I know many homeschoolers, and everyone has their own schedule that works best for their family, but this is what I have found. I do not like to take off a whole summer. The middle of summer is extremely hot here, and the children cannot be outside during the day. So, they get bored. Bored children leads to misbehaving children. We are all much happier when we have some structure. Two weeks off of school is about all we can take. So I use the following schedule to our school year:
Quarter One: June-August- During this quarter we complete a summer unit study, participate in our library's reading program, and take field trips. Depending on cost and plans, we may do a camp or two. We usually stop at the end of August and take off a week or so when "real schools" start back. This is a good time for me to schedule routine checkups and appointments because other kids are back in school, and it is still too hot to do much outdoors.
Quarter Two: September- November- After Labor Day, we start again with more book work and the curriculum we are going to use for the rest of the year. Not much we do is grade leveled, but if we are moving someone up to a new grade level of material, now is the time.
Quarter Three: December-February- During the month of December, we do a special Christmas unit study and then take a few weeks off. After a break, we go back to our regular curriculum.
Quarter Four: March-May- During this quarter we work on finishing up material we've been doing throughout the year. I try to finish up with 180 days by early May, and we take the rest of the month off. At the end of school year, I pack up and file what we've done and make plans for the new year, ordering any needed curriculum.

That is how it works for us. I started this schedule a couple of years after trying several different schedules, and I like this best so far. Of course as children get older, needs may change, and we will adapt to whatever comes. That is the beauty and flexibility of homeschooling.

In honor of the end of the year, I would like to post an excellent article I read on an e-mail loop. I thought it was very encouraging when contemplating what we've accomplished this year:

Did we do enough school?
©2006 By JulieBeth Lamb

It's the end of the school year. From this vantage point you are just happy to be nearing the summer break and the beginning of school seems so long ago. It is hard to remember the enthusiasm you had and all the plans, so many plans. Your children were going to be smarter, brighter, more Godly, well educated, and learn everything under the sun. It was all written out neatly on pages of lesson plans. Looking back it somehow feels like hardly anything got done all year, there were so many days spent cleaning the house, making Christmas cookies, helping Grandma in the yard, visiting a friend who was having a bad day, skiing, playing in the mud (there was a lot of mud this year!), looking at old family photos, and… ah, yes, I do remember cracking the math book a few times.

Did we do enough school? How do I know? Who decides? If we really want to get technical we can look at the public school's approach to it. They use standardized tests to evaluate if a student is progressing. It doesn't tell if they are thriving, love learning, are really excited about a certain subject, all they really care about is a higher test score than last year. That tells us if they are better at taking tests than last year, if they are less nervous about test taking, if they have been taught to the test, and if they are having a good day today. It doesn't really tell us what we parents need to know.

As Christians there is only one way to measure how well we taught our students through the previous school year. Are they growing in God? Are they better prepared than they were before to be used by God now and as adults to live out His good plan for their lives? If we seek these things first, everything else will be added to their lives as needed by the perfecter of our faith. Did we do enough "school"? What are the things that are truly of value, did we make time for them? Were there times spent in the Word, singing His praises and memorizing scripture? Did we make time for family meals, great conversation, and breaking bread together?

Did we visit the Lord and His family at church regularly and fellowship with believers for our mutual edification? Was there time spent in service to others, training up the next generation in Christian service, the true proof of our belief? Did we have fun with our children, enjoy these quickly passing years together before they speed away? Hours of daydreaming, thinking, planning, pretending, should have been accounted for also, they are very important. You did enough school. If there were some of these areas that you need to improve on, you can do more school next year.

You know in your heart how the school year went. Maybe Johnny needs to work on his reading over the summer and Suzie has to practice her multiplication tables. There is always more time for book learning. But you also know in your heart how much you love your children, more than anyone else on this earth. You know you have prayed over them and worked to provide them the things that God ordained for them, even when it didn't make sense, was overwhelming, or difficult. When God showed you that narrow path you followed it, just as you did when you chose homeschooling in the first place.

That is all we can do, that is all we should do, that is all that is required of us-to obey God in the area of our children's education and trust that He has given us and them everything they need and those things He hasn't provided were not needed. It is such a blessing that we don't have to provide our children everything they need, only one can do that, our Lord God, who loves our children even more than we and is working out His good plan in their lives.

Next school year lies before us in glorious anticipation. With God's help our plans will come together for another homeschool season. They will all be written out neatly on pages of lesson plans and we will be once again full of enthusiasm. We will do some more math, English, reading, history and science, but more importantly we will make time for God's Word, service, family & friends, and mud and God will make up the rest.

© Permission to share this article is granted for private use as long as you inform the author and it contains the following information. JulieBeth Lamb thanks God for allowing these words to flow through her and prays they are a blessing to others as God has allowed them to bless her. She and her husband Rex have been homeschooling their five children in Oakdale, California since 1993. Contact her at Cowgirl4Ever@ clearwire. net or 209-838-606

All verses are from the New King James Bible, Thomas Nelson publishers. Some verses have been edited. Bible text and various study tools from www.BlueLetterBible .org have been used in preparation. To read past devotions or SEARCH for one by subject visit the archives at http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/Homeschool MomsDevotions/ . To SUBSCRIBE send a blank e-mail to HomeschoolMomsDevot ions-subscribe@ yahoogroups. com or to CANCEL send a blank e-mail to HomeschoolMomsDevot ions-unsubscribe @yahoogroups. com .

Feel free to forward this message in its entirety to anyone. Permission for private or small group use of this devotional is granted as long as you inform the author and it contains the following information: JulieBeth Lamb humbly thanks God for allowing these words to flow through her and prays they are a blessing to others as God has allowed them to bless her. She desires to honor the Lord in her writing and prays you will hold everything she writes up to the Word of God to see if it is true and come to her if you feel she is unscriptural. JulieBeth and her husband . Rex live in Oakdale, California. They have been homeschooling their five children since 1993. Contact her at Cowgirl4Ever@ clearwire. net or 209-838-6062.

Join me at Facebook, I am listed as JulieBeth Chamberlain Lamb, when you invite me to be your friend be sure to let me know that you are on this list. For those of you interested in getting general homeschooling information such as articles and products, join us at Homeschool Information at http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/Homeschool _Info/ . If you are looking for an interactive homeschool moms fellowship community, join us at Homeschool Oasis with loops for elementary and junior/senior high at http://www.homescho oloasis.com/ email_list_ options.htm

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1 comment :

  1. Leah, thank you for posting that. I really needed to read that devotion.
    John was working on a final assignment today having to write 2 things he liked about 2nd grade. One of the things he listed was "schoolwork". I looked at him like has was nuts and he said, "I really do like schoolwork with you, mom. I just like to complain about it."
    He technically finishes up at LPA tomorrow, though we have a few activities we need to do that got missed this year. I am so excited to be stepping out in faith with homeschooling after this. And thank you for sharing your schedule. I think we're going to aim for something similar to that. I know that John will not do well if we do nothing over the summer.

    Love ya, friend!! Thank you for being a mentor to me.

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