Marking the End of the Year – Do Homeschoolers Really Have To?

For parents whose children are in school, the beginning of summer can cause mixed emotions. Suddenly your children are at home full-time, and your uninterrupted time during the day is over. For homeschoolers, there is usually no change in routine, though some parents may go lighter on the school work during the summer or cease altogether.

Having grown up going to traditional school, it’s in my psyche to mark the beginning and end of each year. That’s why recently I decided that I would look over my son’s progress, decide on a stopping point and give him a Kindergarten graduation during the first week of June – right before the summer camps begin. (Summer camps make our summers the busiest time of the year.)

As soon as I put this self-imposed deadline on myself, I felt my blood pressure rise. To “finish” school work that’s ongoing, and to put together the slideshow and progress report that I like to have ready for our “graduation” on top of all my other household, childcare and writing that I do – that’s a lot. I don’t take many breaks as it is. If anything, sitting down to write my column is a break, but it’s just different work. For a stay-at-home mom, “different” and “sitting quietly” can sometimes feel restful, but not always.

I’m getting better at realizing when I’m being stupid. Almost as soon as I started to feel overwhelmed by all that extra “work,” I stopped it and then some. I took my first break from writing my column (ever), and I stopped worrying about doing a Kindergarten graduation. I’ll still do one, but it’ll be whenever – June or July – who cares? Because…

We’re homeschoolers!  This is one of the reasons I wanted to homeschool – for the flexibility and relaxed lifestyle.

How relaxed is it if I keep giving myself deadlines? I’m not a lazy person. I get an amazing amount of work done. I don’t need to make it worse by adding my own deadlines.

So eventually I’ll write our end of the year review, about my record keeping this year, and about our Kindergarten graduation, but it’s not going to happen all at once. It’ll happen when it happens.

But guess what? Since I took away my “deadline” I have actually made very good progress on some of these goals. Yep, things get done well even when you impose a relaxed and easy manner.

Note: If you’re looking for ideas about how you can mark the end of your school year, you might want to refer to the post I wrote last year about our pre-Kindergarten graduation. I’ll be doing something similar this year when we get around to it.

However, you don’t have to do any of that. Do it if you want to. (I like stuff like this.) Do it if you think your children would enjoy it. But the purpose of homeschooling should be to create the life you want for yourself and your family. 

Don’t mark occasions that would add more stress to your life. Mark the occasions that celebrate the life you’re living.

I challenge you to get rid of those self-imposed deadlines and relax…about everything! And then come tell me about it. :)

6 Comments to “Marking the End of the Year – Do Homeschoolers Really Have To?”

  1. “I’m getting better at realizing when I’m being stupid.” — that made me laugh out loud. ;o)

    you are so right — homeschooling gifts us with flexibility and a relaxed schedule. we’d be fools not to take advantage of its advantages!

  2. I used to feel very strongly that homeschooling year round meant just that. No breaks. Two summers ago we started spending half the week with my parents so that we could go swimming at their neighborhood pool. So I was trying to do school stuff before we go to the pool. It was terribly stressful. Last summer I dropped all of that. We truly took the summer off, but it still looked a lot like our normal days anyway. This summer my son is choosing to stay home and work on his music projects instead of coming to the pool, while the girls and I enjoy some just girl time. I have to say, I’m very happy with how our summer looks so far!

    • You know, I always thought we would homeschool year-round, but it’s becoming clear to me that we really need a break, and with all the summer camps – shucks, THAT’S school! In between, we just need to rest and have fun! I’m sure a lot of learning will happen anyway. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. Great post. I really enjoy your writing and approach to homeschooling. We have had a nice relaxed year, as I wanted for kindergarten, but I’ve been allowing nagging thoughts like “we haven’t done enough,” and “maybe we should consider school next year,” to creep into my thinking these last few weeks. Perhaps it is just the stress of a built-in and self-imposed end-of-school-year deadline. I would really love to do better record keeping for next year to help remind me of our growth and progress. Thanks for your suggestions and inspiration. Now, off to read your posts on raising butterflies!

  4. Love this post Shelli. And have been feeling the exact same way!

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