Help! We Won’t Complete Our Curriculum Before Summer!
I was always just as excited as my children when summer break was near. We looked forward to slower days, a more flexible schedule, and sleeping in! Particularly when they were in middle and high school, summer breaks were opportunities to explore, get summer jobs, take trips, read (without assignments!), and even sometimes sleep in! (Can you tell I am not a morning person?)
But looming over me was the fact that, without fail, at least one of my kids will not have completed one or two of their subjects. That means we would have to continue into summer!!!
I didn’t want to. THEIR unfinished business meant that *I* would have unfinished business, too.
But over the years, I realized that sometimes, we didn’t HAVE to finish.
Sure, occasionally their extra lessons were a result of the student not doing his or her work to the best of their ability. They dragged their feet, and this meant they had the requirement of finishing their subject well. Thus, we studied into the summer.
However, other times, not finishing a book or curriculum plan was just due to the situations in the year. LIFE took over our weeks sometimes. We navigated sickness, needs of our parents, broken-down cars, washing machines, air conditioners, or whatever popped up to take over our days. And that was OK. THAT is a part of life and learning. But it always meant that we would get behind in our lesson plans.
And I am a box-checker.
I get some kind of crazy satisfaction out of checking off boxes from our to-do lists. Yes, I am one of *those* people who writes down an unplanned task after completing it just so I can check it off.
And I approached my lesson plans the same way. They were to-do lists that HAD to be checked off.
That was wrong.
Sure, lesson plans are very helpful for planning purposes. They help us to see what is ahead and how to implement our weeks and days.
But sometimes we need to move away from our plans. You see, kids develop differently. Sometimes your child will grasp a concept easily and can move on, and other times it will require days (…and days…and days…) for him to get it!
But that is one of the blessings of homeschooling. We can adjust our schedules (to-do lists) to best fit our child’s learning style. Sometimes we need to give them time to ponder, experiment, rest, and play. That means paring down a lesson or two.
Don’t worry that you may not always be covering a certain subject when the “standards” tell you that you should.
I remember reading from a science text with one of my kids, and we came to the topic of bats. It really sparked something, and this child wanted to learn much more about them. But the curriculum only spent a single paragraph on it.
I felt myself wanting to say, “Well, it’s nice you like to learn about bats, but we have this plan we have to follow and need to keep on going.”
What? I was wanting to tell my child he couldn’t learn about something he was interested in. Why? So I could check off a little box?
Thankfully, I didn’t. We took the rest of the week for a happy little rabbit trail of studying bats. We found bat books, bat videos, and practiced echolocating, too! Then we jumped back into our curriculum to continue on.
You see, lesson plans are good, but we need to let God rule our days.
Prov. 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Inevitably, that means that for many of our subjects, we just won’t complete the entire textbook. And that is OK. You see, when things get crazy, or when we have a new revelation about how our child learns, or when we need a family emergency break, we have the freedom to do it. We can let God lead our days.
So if you are facing a few subjects that will not be completed before the end of the year, first assess whether they are due to a child not working to the best of his or her ability. If it is not because of that, then don’t force yourself to finish the final pages of every book you buy.
You can pick up where you left off next year, do a few pages through the summer as enrichment, or just go into a new book for a new semester when you are ready.
So plan your days, but let God lead them. And know that you are not going losing ground…you are making beautiful progress!