The End of the Year is Here! 3 Fun Ways to Celebrate

This post originally appeared on VibrantHomeschooling.com. Click here to read the original post.

The end of the school year is upon us!

The calendar reads June, and the last projects are being turned in.

Are you as ready for summer vacation as our family is?! Phew!

So the big question is: How are you celebrating the end of the school year?

The end of the school year is a time to celebrate!  Here are three fun ways to celebrate! Vibrant Homeschooling

How are you celebrating all of the awesome things that happened this school year? How are you celebrating all the great growth and change (in your kids, and, yes, even in you!)?

Taking Time to Celebrate Growth

Even if it’s been an especially hard year, I promise you that there was growth. There was progress made, and lives were changed.

This is the time of year when we start torturing ourselves with the “did I do enough?” thoughts. We begin to play Monday-morning quarterback and say, “If we’d only… “ or “I should have…” or (insert your form of self-torture here).

It sure is easy to be on this end of all the enormous amount of work that goes into a school year and pass judgement on ourselves.

OK, maybe your year didn’t work out the way you’d designed in your lovely homeschooling planner.

Mine didn’t either (buying and selling a home, moving, and completely switching curriculum halfway through was not on my radar last August).

But what if what happened was even more glorious, more wonderful and more exciting than anything we’d planned? I truly believe it was.

I believe all those great plans were just what got us to the starting gate, and here—at what we’ve deemed the “imperfect” finish line—is where we can step back and recognize the real victories.

And, oh my goodness… it’s critical that we celebrate those victories (even the small ones) to first, encourage our kids to keep giving their best; and second, to remind us that yes, all of this hard, hard work is worth it and is making a difference!

Here are some small-but-big things that we’re celebrating at the end of the school year:

The Innovator (11):

—He finally embraced writing this year! And math! And science! And… (notice a theme here?). Yes, this was the year that he (finally) realized that I hadn’t invented school just to torture him, but that there was a method behind this madness. Oh, we still have our days where we have the “but why…?” questions; but they are getting fewer in number, and I’m seeing them replaced with a heart eager to learn. Phew. Finally!

—He began to take more responsibility with managing his own time, and with pacing himself through assignments. Another big victory! Now (most days) I can leave him alone for an hour or more and know that he is moving through his assignments without my prompting. Huge!

—He has made great strides in overcoming his fear of speaking in front of a group. We owe a lot of this to our Classical Conversations group since the kids had to do a mini-presentation each week at our class day. This was a really good stretching for him.

—He’s grown deeply in his faith. I’ve noticed that he’s quicker to repent, and that his repentance is deep and genuine. Just last week, He and I had an amazing experience of sharing encouraging verses with one another around the topic of forgiveness.

Renaissance Man (9):

—He too has become much more self-reliant and responsible, both in his schoolwork and in his chores. He’s really loving working outside with my husband doing yard projects or other around-the-house maintenance. He’s quick to help out, and excited to learn. What a wonderful husband he will be someday!

—I’ve seen Renaissance Man mature greatly this year. There were a few instances where I saw him step up and take leadership in team projects, making plans and delegating tasks.

—He basically taught himself cursive writing this year (he was very motivated to learn), and his handwriting is beautiful!

He blew us all away with his memorization skills this year! He was always the first to memorize our weekly Classical Conversations memory work, and he’s remembered it week after week. He’s also become excellent at Bible memory work. So proud of him!

Princessa (6):

—School became a lot more formal for her this year, and she handled it beautifully. I was proud to see her jump right into the CC work and how she did a great job memorizing!

—Princessa learned how to read this year! She completed All About Reading Level 1 this year and while she still has room to grow here, I’ve seen her reading confidence level grow immeasurably.

—Her desire to serve and love Christ became more evident this year. She has a sweet and special relationship with Jesus and it was wonderful to watch her beautiful connection with God grow. I love how she is quick to pray for others, and that (even at her young age) she is not afraid to come to me with her tough questions about God.

—This little one is bold, daring and not afraid to try new things! She has proven over and over this year that, when she puts her mind to something, she can accomplish big things!

Three Ways You Can Celebrate the End of the School Year:

End-Of-The-Year Dates.

This is a really great tradition that the kids and I look forward to each year!

I take each child to a location that they would enjoy (a frozen yogurt place, coffeehouse, cupcake store, etc) and while we’re indulging in a fun treat, we talk about what the year was like. I lead the conversation with casual questions like “What was your favorite thing that we did this year?” or “Tell me something that you’d like to learn more about?” You can download my list of questions here. We also talk about what they’re most looking forward to this summer; and I help them identify what specific things they’d like to learn either this summer or next year.

If I have time, I also gather up their portfolio of work from the year (art projects, workbooks, notebooks, other projects) and we look at them again and recall learning about the material and doing the project.

Overall, I keep the conversation really positive and focus on the wonderful growth I’ve seen.

I also take notes on what they share because: one, I want to make sure I remember it; and two, I want them to know that their comments are important enough for me to write them down.

This time together is just precious because the kids feel special, honored and listened to; and I really do get some great feedback on what worked this past year, and what they’d like to change! Plan to Be Flexible talks more about these End-Of-The-Year Dates (as does this post) and gives ideas of how to incorporate these suggestions into next year’s teaching materials.

Celebration Day and Dinner.

This is something new we’re trying this year!

The End-Of-The-Year-Dates are great, but we also really wanted to have a time where my husband and I could stand up and publicly affirm each of our kids. We want this time to be about sharing the great character traits we see them developing; the ways they are a blessing to our family; and how much we love each of them for their individual talents and personalities.

We’re taking a two-part approach: first, we’re going to have a morning of pure fun (we’re taking them to a local indoor trampoline park!) and then we’re having a special dinner where they’ve chosen the menu (each one of them told me their favorite appetizer, dinner or dessert and I’ve combined them into one meal for all of us to share).

During or after dinner is when my husband and I will share our praises and pray for each of our kids individually. I also plan to put together a very simple slideshow of photos/videos from our field trips and projects.

Special Treat for Mom!

Oh yes. This is something that we must do, moms!

We think about doing end-of-the-year stuff for our kids, but we can’t forget to take the time to reward ourselves for all the blood, sweat and tears that we’ve invested in this school year! At first this may feel selfish, but it’s more than alright to give ourselves a pat on the back for the sometimes-really-difficult work of homeschooling!

This “special treat” will mean something different to all of us. Maybe for you it’s a pedicure, or a day off shopping by yourself. Maybe you decide to get together for dinner with several other homeschool moms and go to that great new restaurant that just opened nearby. Maybe you can even do a fun weekend away with some girlfriends. Or it might just be a great new pair of shoes!

To be honest, this is my first year of doing something specific for myself like this to celebrate school. I didn’t expect to do something this extravagant, but later this summer I have the opportunity to tag along on a 5-day business trip with my husband! So this is my way of celebrating!

Do what would feel rewarding and relaxing to you (and what fits in the budget)!

It doesn’t have to be a two-week-long trip to Tahiti (even though that’s probably what we all could really use right now). See what small thing you can come up with to tell yourself, “I worked super hard this year, and yes, it was enough.”

Your Turn!

Tell us about your plans! How are you going to celebrate the end of the school year? Will you try any of these ideas, or do you have other ways that your family will celebrate?


About the author:

Alicia Kazsuk writes about living the beautifully imperfect homeschooling journey at VibrantHomeschooling.com. She has been married to her best friend for 14 years and together they spend their days lovingly guiding their four passionate and creative kids.

Alicia is also the author of Plan to Be Flexible and the creator/producer of Vibrant Homeschooling’s online video courses “bloom: A Journey to Joy (and Sanity) for Homeschool Moms” and “rhythm: Guiding Your Family to Their Ideal Learning Flow.”

She believes each day offers new opportunities to grow in grace and to trust God in unexpected ways; and that “acceptance with joy” is one of the hidden secrets to a full, contented Christian life.

You can find her at Vibrant Homeschooling (http://vibranthomeschooling.com), as well as on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/VibrantHomeschooling), Twitter (https://twitter.com/VibrantHmschool) and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/VibrantHmschool/).

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5 Things Every Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom Needs to Remember

 

Guest post by Rebekah of Faithful with the Little.

 

I have been homeschooling for 5 years now but still feel at times that I have no idea what I am doing. I easily get overwhelmed by all the demands required of me and often ask myself:

What did I get myself into?

Am I really cut out for this?

Are there any other options out there?

Will I ever figure this out?

If you have been homeschooling for any period of time I am sure you have asked yourself some of these same questions. Here are some things to remember when all those thoughts of inadequacy start whirling around in your head.

1. Why you started homeschooling

When my husband and I had our first child we knew we wanted to homeschool. We had both been homeschooled and loved the idea of being able to teach our children the Godly principles and Biblical perspective that we were taught. The unique lifestyle and freedom that homeschooling offered really appealed to us also. Ultimately we wanted God’s will for our family and this is the direction we felt he was leading us in.

When the days get hard there are many times I have asked God if there is any other way we can educate our children. So far he keeps showing my husband and I that this is the choice that is best for our family right now. When I start to panic and try to find a way out he clearly shows me why he has called us to homeschool our children. My burdens lift, my mind becomes clear and the fear and worry fades as I remember these truths. If you feel like retreating at times, remember why you started homeschooling and hold onto the convictions and priorities for your family that brought you to this place.

2.There are pros and cons to everything

Many of my friends are homeschoolers but I also have friends who have their children in public or private schools. We often share what we struggle with and what we love about our children’s schooling. It’s easy to think the grass is greener on the other side at times. There are always going to be pros and cons in life; things that we love and things that we hate. I really doubt that you will find anyone who says that they love everything about their children’s schooling. 
A perfect school is just not to be found but you can find what is best for you and your family. {Tweet this.}

 

So often I find myself ready to give up when things get hard, when it looks like the cons outweigh the pros. I start thinking about finding a different schooling solution for my children. But then I think about the life we have because of homeschooling and know that for today, this is the best choice for our family and the cons are small compared to the pros.

3.Take one day at a time

When I start to think about how I am going to juggle the everyday needs of my family and home on top of homeschooling, I quickly get overwhelmed. With 5 children ranging from 10 to 16 months life can get crazy.  And don’t get me started thinking about tomorrow. If I barely made it through today, how am I going to tackle tomorrow? But if I stay focused on being faithful with what God has given me to do today, I find he gives me strength to get through the hard spots and trust him with my tomorrow’s.

 Focus on what God calls you to do today and don’t let the pressures of tomorrow overwhelm you.

4.Only you know what is best for your children

As a mom and homeschooler I often find myself looking around at all the other moms, thinking that they are doing this homeschool thing way better than I am because they are doing things differently than I do or are doing more than I do. What I don’t often factor in is that even though other homeschool moms might do things differently doesn’t mean that they are doing things better. They are just doing what is best for their family.

It’s important to remember that God made you to be the mother of your children and only you know what is best for them. You are the one God has called to make the difficult choices for your children’s education.  As you teach and train them you will find what works best for each individual child.

Don’t be intimidated by all the seasoned homeschool moms but be inspired by them. Ask them how they got through the hard times, how they lesson plan, what curriculum they like. Be willing to humble yourself and learn from your mistakes, learn from your children and learn from other homeschoolers. But remember that these are your children and your homeschool, you are the teacher. Don’t be afraid to do things differently and don’t be afraid to follow the example of those who have spent years in the trenches gaining experience and knowledge.

Yes, there are going to be days when you have no idea what you are doing, when you feel inadequate, unqualified, weak and inexperienced but as you persevere and figure things out you will find out what works best for you and your family.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27 ( ESV)

5.It’s all in your head

Do you ever wake up feeling great, ready and excited to conquer the day only to be deflated when things don’t go as you had planned? Hand raised! I can have the best schedule, the best curriculum and the best methods but if things don’t play out as I’ve pictured in my mind I get easily discouraged.

One thing we often forget to calculate into our days is our sin nature. Yes, we might have our days perfectly organized down to the last minute but that doesn’t mean our children will always cooperate or we will respond in the right way. You could say I am a bit of a control freak. I get frustrated with my kids when they dare to have their own free will and then I get frustrated at myself for lashing out in anger and impatience.

It’s oh so easy to get down in the dumps and start second guessing myself. I usually start complaining and whining that this homeschooling thing is just too hard and I am not cut out for it. But really it’s a battle of mind over matter. There are always going to be difficult challenges in life to face. Some harder than others yes, but if we stand firm and steadfast in what God has called us to do he will give us the strength and grace to overcome.

Homeschooling is not for everyone but for those of us who have felt called to homeschool for a season or for the rest of our children’s education we need to remain steadfast and faithful to what he has called us to do; in our hearts and minds. God is not only working in our children; developing their characters and minds but he is doing a work in us also, far greater than we could ever imagine.

Whatever your struggle in homeschooling is, know that God has chosen you, qualified you and equipped you to not only survive but remain steadfast and thrive!

 

Rebekah is a sinner saved by grace living out her dreams as wife to the love of her life and mother to 5 beautiful, crazy, messy little ones.(age 10-16mo.) She is learning day by day to trust God to give her grace and strength to be all he has called her to be and to be faithful with all he has given her to do. Most days you will find Rebekah fighting dirt, dishes and loads of laundry, snuggling sweet chubby babies, delighting in seeing her children play, create and learn and enjoying anything chocolate at the end of a long school day. You can follow her on her journey on her blog faithful with the little where she shares he heart, struggles, DIY, recipes and more.

 

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Celebrating Mother’s Day for Homeschool Moms

Mother’s Day is just a few days away! Is it a big celebration in your house, or just another day? I’ve shared some gift ideas before, but I’d love to hear what kind of things you think make a great gift for homeschool moms. Something material? Something memorable? Something homemade? What do you hope for this Mother’s Day?

I don’t know about you, but I would love to win a gift package like this. There are resources for the heart and soul of homeschooling moms, to support and encourage us in our daily responsibilities. The giveaway ends Friday night, so hurry and enter right away!
Mother's Day Giveaway

*affiliate links may be used

Mother’s Day Giveaway Extravaganza –

10 winners!

Beginning Monday, May 4 – Friday, May 8 – Be sure to share & tell your friends to enter.

Mother’s Day is almost here and we have been working hard behind the scenes to bring you a fun and fabulous giveaway for Moms. A mother is the heart of a home. Moms nurture others, teaching, loving & caring for all the daily needs. Celebrating Mom 1 day a year is the least we can do.

Please be sure to visit the sites of our wonderful contributors!

Home School Adventure Co. – copy of new release & more (value $29) -1 winner

“I’d Rather Be Your Mommy” – “The Wise Woman” – “The Wise Woman Print Set”

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Homeschool Blogging – 2 copies (& bonus material)”Homeschool Successfully” . . . When Life Happens (Value $11.98) 2 winners

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Encouraging eBook by 15 moms – like you – overcoming challenges in homeschooling!

 

Homeschool Copywork – Lifetime Membership (value $45)-1 winner

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“Copywork is not just about handwriting. Copywork is about spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, great ideas seeping into growing minds, reading skill and comprehension, and even thought leadership. Your leadership, guiding your child’s thought life through carefully chosen verses and quotes in copywork.” ~ Amy Blevins

 

Homeschooling Your 2e Child by Kathy LaPan

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Step by step guideline for getting started homeschooling your gifted and/or learning disabled child. Includes how to schedule your day and your year, buy curricula, find help in your community, and record keeping.

 

Cleaning Survival Guide – Exclusive Added Bonus

Cleaning Survival Guide

 

 

“I am an organized mess, so I needed chore cards that offered flexibility and was thorough. I researched chore cards and didn’t find one that fit my needs as a Homeschool/WAH Mom, so I created chore cards and then produced it as an eBook.”

 

The Homemaker’s Quiet Time Journal -1 winner

homemakers journal homemakers-journal-3D-217x300

It’s our time spent with the Lord that gives us the strength we need to make it through the rest of our busy lives with grace. It leads us to thrive instead of just survive. It is water to our dry, thirsty souls.

 

Build A Menu – 1 Year Membership – 1 winner (value $48)

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1 winner

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A library of carefully curated books from top authors Ruth Soukup, Katie from Wellness Mama, Crystal Paine, Tsh Oxenrider, Erin Chase, Erin Odom, Stephanie Langford and over 60 others. Over $1,200 worth of incredible eBooks and eCourses, specifically geared for homemakers, for only $29.97!

 

A Journey Through Learning – Homemaker’s Bundle – (value over $1200)

1 winner

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

A library of carefully curated books from top authors Ruth Soukup, Katie from Wellness Mama, Crystal Paine, Tsh Oxenrider, Erin Chase, Erin Odom, Stephanie Langford and over 60 others. Over $1,200 worth of incredible eBooks and eCourses, specifically geared for homemakers, for only $29.97!

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YES! That is a total of 2 complete Homemaking Bundles from The Ultimate Bundles!!

There will be a total of 8 winners for this Mothers Day Giveaway Extravaganza – ending on Friday, May 8

 

Exclusive – A Journey Through Learning – Host Offer:

1 week only – 40% off with code: MOTHER (does not include GeoMatters or printed lapbooks)
Mothers Day Special

Giveaway

By entering – you agree to be contacted by each of the sponsors. You may unsubscribe from their mail at any time. Thank you for visiting their sites. (See disclosure in Rafflecopter)

 

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Personalized Mother's Day Gifts

Sara (74 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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