Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Here's To The End of a School Year Unlike Any Other


In September I wrote about the start of a school year unlike any other (read about it here). As we end the last few weeks of homeschooling, I can 100% confirm it HAS been a school year unlike any other. All the good and all the bad combined. Holy shit has it been exhausting. Mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. All of it. The re-learning of all the subjects, the figuring out a balance between being mom and teacher, lesson planning, extreme organization, breathing deep and finding patience in all moments. I'm a better parent and person for this school year. 

We were blissfully untouched by the chaos around us all school year. I never had to worry about my children's academic intake. I never had to worry about quarantines or missing school. I was able to spend extra time with my children and had a front row seat to their growth and development. It was a school year that made us all re-evaluate the priorities and goals for the future. 

The end of the school year has always been one of chaos. End of the year parties, testings, field days, concerts, etc. For the first time since my minis began school, we are ending the school year leisurely by taking vacations. Our first official vacation in a year and a half (and our first family vacation in nearly two years). It's an amazing feeling to not be caught in the end-of-the-school-year chaos. 

Somehow this school year has been less stress and more stressful at the same time. I feel like we've learned ALL the things. There were so many things I wanted to get to that we simply didn't have time for. I went into the school year with big hopes and plans. Within the first few weeks, those plans became more realistic. I knew we had to adjust or we'd all be unhappy. There was A LOT of Googling and asking Alexa. I bought the Everything You Need To Know For Middle School Science book and read it before my child did. I spent more time saying, "I know this, but I forgot about it!"

I end this school year with a greater appreciation for education. I see the flaws in our country's system, in the way we force children to learn. I see the beauty in other educational systems and plans, no matter how unconventional they may be. I will never again stick my nose up at anyone who doesn't follow a "traditional" path.

I have many more takeaways from this homeschool journey, but overall I have many hopes from this time. I hope my children remember this time in history. I hope they look back on it with a fondness. Not necessarily the same fondness I have, but a fondness of doing something special. There were late nights star gazing in the middle of a field, there were day trips all over Iowa (and then some), there were many nights with no bedtimes, there were cooking lessons, survival lessons, and building lessons. There were things they didn't want to learn and things I let them learn by following their interests. There were family readings, art projects, and ideas thrown out. There was growing, laughter, tears, snuggles, door slams, frustrated yelling, but overall there was happiness in this school year. 

For the second year in a row, these minis are missing out on all of the end of school activities, but with little to no complaints. I've spent majority of this school year in amazement at their resilience and adaptability. It should go without saying that our successful school year wouldn't have happened if it weren't for them. Unlike previous school years, I have no idea what next school year holds, other than the fact that I'll have a 4th, 6th, and 8th grader!

I haven't read a book of my choosing for fun in a year. Instead, I've ready all of these textbooks (and then some) front to back.