Friday, April 26, 2013

F is for... Final Stretch

It is so close to the end of the school year! So. Close. Not only are final report cards just weeks away, but this year we will celebrate the graduation of another student. Mixed reactions? Definitely.
Taking senior portraits
We're all excited about finishing up another school year, enjoying summer vacation and a break from the school routine. The kids will be able to sleep a little later in the mornings. They'll probably be allowed to stay up a little later in the evenings. They can set aside the subjects they don't like for days - maybe weeks - at a time. They can read if and when they want to, and can choose their own reading material. And for me, it means fewer items on the to-do list since I will get a break from teaching and grading. I won't have to watch the clock quite as much either.
We don't usually stop school completely. Most years we have some loose ends to tie up and school projects to finish during the first couple weeks of the 'official' summer break, even though final report cards are complete. I do that on the honor system. I may have given the final grade or even awarded the credit for a course, even though that last chapter still needs to be finished, or that final project isn't completely put together. I give the grade based on the understanding that my students will finish the project, and it will get done before the next school year starts.
End of the school year means it's time for our homeschool group Field Day!
With homeschooling and being in charge of our own calendar, we don't necessarily wait until September to start the new school year either. Many years we have started school around the second week of August, but have eased into it. We start with just one or two subjects, adding one per week until we're at full volume. Getting a head start gives us the leeway to take time off for family vacation sometime in the fall.

Summer break is when I can work on lesson planning, and I love doing that!

So what is the downside? Well... really it is mostly about graduating a student. It's exciting and it's an achievement to graduate, and we will celebrate that. But it can certainly be daunting as well. Anxiety for a student heading off to college. Concern for a student needing to enter the work force. Uncertainty for a student who is still undecided about what comes next after graduation. Those questions weigh on the student and on the parents. We are there right now, not exactly sure what the next step will be. Spencer is not interested in college, at least not at this time, and isn't quite sure what vocation he wants to pursue. He has some ideas and even a couple of opportunities open to him, but he's not the kind of personality to brashly rush ahead. Maybe he even needs to be pushed a little. What we do know is that he is planning on going to Haiti during the summer on a missions trip with others from our church. I think that's an excellent choice for a young man who hasn't decided on a career move or college major.
Very happy with his graduation quilt from Gramma!
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