Have we quite finished all of our work yet this year, the children and I? Not quite. I had planned to do a bit more.
Once upon a time, we used to continue "doing school" in each subject until we'd finished the book, so to speak (except for math, which is never done... there is always another book around the corner, and we just keep chugging along... a little slower in the summer, perhaps).
This meant that we emerged gradually into the summer sunlight. History book complete! A few days later, perhaps the science curriculum would run out. And so on until there was nothing left but the math books, so that the children would be rewarded for "I'm bored" all summer with "Well then! Go do a math lesson. It'll keep you sharp!"
This year it isn't going to work that way. We took a look at the calendar. In a few weeks there's a week blocked off on the calendar for a family vacation. Then a week that isn't blocked off -- but H's family will already be gone on their family vacation -- and then a week where the boys are at scout camp -- and then soon thereafter we'll go to Ohio to visit family -- and then the boys will stay a little longer with Grandma and Grandpa -- and then the boys go on the high-adventure Scout trip... and then we're going on a bike/camping trip with friends...
They've all managed to defeat me by scheduling their summer to be full of valuable experiences that will prevent them from checking educational boxes!
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What this means is that, like it or not, I have about three full weeks left in the school year (one of which has Memorial Day in it).
It is time for me to stop asking "how much longer will it take for me to finish all the stuff we are supposed to finish?"
It is time for me to ask instead "what is the best use of our time in the last three weeks of the school year?"
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Mark laughed and said, "You know, I've heard that once or twice there was a public-school teacher who had to stop for the year before she finished the last chapter of the book."
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So, for example. I've got five sessions left to work with the two high school boys on geometry. But if I didn't have a time limit, I'd have 17 more sessions (why am I so behind? Because last school year H and I had three babies between us). However, by happy coincidence, there are exactly six lessons left in the book, and the second-to-last is much more important than the last one (it lays the foundations for understanding calculus by introducing the notion of building up volume formulas by constructing solids from a large number of very thin "slices"), so I'm going to spend one day on each of these lessons. I won't get to do two chapter reviews, I won't get to do two chapter tests, I won't get to do a final exam, and I won't get to spend two sessions per lesson. Oh well! It will have to do.
I had five weeks left in Modern World History, with the last week to be spent on a capstone timeline analysis. The capstone week is probably the most important and so I'll keep it as the last week. But I'll need to remove half the material from the rest of the course to reduce four weeks' assignments down to two. Since they're trying to finish a course-long research paper at the same time, I'll probably do that by reducing the writing workload to almost nothing.
I'm going to totally finish 9th-grade Latin though! Woo hoo! Two weeks of lessons left in the book!
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The elementary schoolkids' work will just stop at one point. My 9th-grader was put in charge of his own schedule for a few other subjects -- Algebra II and Evolutionary Biology -- and I'm going to let him live with the consequences of being just a little bit behind on those, meaning that he might need to schedule some time finishing up the books over the summer during the weeks he isn't at Scout camp. I've checked -- it isn't an onerous amount, and doing a little bit in the mornings here and there should be enough. I am not in charge of that, though. He is.
Which means that... after three more weeks of work...
... I'll be done.
And my last schoolday of the year will be a Thursday at H's house where we have dinner there and the elementary school kids will recite the poetry they memorized all year long.
I just realized I will have a perfect use for the bottle of decent bubbly that Mark brought me at Valentine's Day. I think I will struggle on until then, with the pop of that cork awaiting me in the light of summer.