Every year for the past 30 years, I have had the privilege of walking alongside families through the ebb and flow of a school year. During May and June, these conversations often reflect that parents are feeling as though they are merely surviving rather than thriving. However, I guarantee that you are not alone—the path that you’ve taken is unique and you owe yourself and your student some reflection and celebrating in this regard.
Regardless of your plans for next school year, wrapping up this year with clarity, reflection, and a sense of accomplishment will be an effective vehicle for ongoing success. My hope is that this blog post will showcase some of the ways you are thriving and encourage you to rightfully reclaim that feeling as the school year comes to an end.
Evidence That You’re Thriving
1) You Seek Clarity on Current Skill Sets
Before you check out of school for a couple of months or start a summer education schedule, I encourage you to evaluate the skill and knowledge your student has accomplished. This will give you clarity and reveal opportunities for you to capitalize on strengths, as well as create a plan for filling any gaps. It will also give insight into how much your student has grown during the school year, showcasing how you have thrived in your educational journey.
Evaluating skill sets will serve you better now than in August. When working with parents in August, “summer brain” can be very prevalent, making it difficult to place and plan effectively. Our materials are designed to be sequential and build on the knowledge that a student has already mastered, which is why starting off with the proper placement and skill set is so important for continued success.
2) You Embrace and Grow from Disappointments
Months ago you may have written a list of goals for your student to accomplish before the end of the school year. Now looking at that list, you may realize that these expectations were not met and are faced with the feeling of disappointment. Before you’re ready to embrace that this disappointment is good news, a well-thrown, but brief, “pity-party” is often important. As you skip out of the party, don’t just crumple and throw that list into the garbage bin. Instead, take some time to embrace disappointment and know there is gold there and more evidence of thriving.
Teaching your students how to work through disappointments is an important life skill. Plans change, things don’t always go smoothly, and we all process information differently, which can lead to working at a different pace than expected. View the unfinished list not as a failure, but as an opportunity to teach your student how to work through feelings of disappointment.
Keeping a hold of your list and reflecting might help to evaluate which expectations are realistic moving forward. This information will provide a filter that is key to planning decisions regarding summer school, next school year, and beyond. Our blog post 3 Ways to Encourage a Growth Mindset in Our Kids is an encouraging resource to help you focus on a positive mindset towards things that you or your student may have struggled with in the past year.
3) You Celebrate How You Thrived
I continually find myself requiring a reminder that anything I have thrived in has a long cookie trail of risks, baby steps, and “enlightening” outcomes. I tell my students and myself continually, “No risk, no masterpiece…and a well executed risk can go either way.”
As you wrap your school year, keep up your determination, remember that you are indeed thriving, not just surviving, and celebrate all your and your students have accomplished this year.
You’ve Thrived: What’s Next?
You’ve thrived throughout the school year, but now what? Before deciding your next step, remember that when you know what your student knows and does not yet know, you are more empowered to set that student up for success and make good decisions regarding next steps.
Regardless of your summer plans, you might find some extra peace of mind by taking time to make your curriculum decisions now.
Thriving with Summer Study
Let’s say you and your student have decided to commit to summer schooling. I usually recommend both working in an area your student enjoys and dedicating some of that time to remediate areas that you have observed were a little fuzzy.
As I support parents that have learned their student is struggling with math, I find the number one gap is single-digit fact mastery. If you have noticed your students counting or taking long pauses as they work through concepts, AIM for Addition and Subtraction is a great summer program to help fill those gaps.
If multiplication is where your student needs shoring up, contact our Placement Specialists, as we have diagnostics and solutions for not only multiplication math facts, but other gaps as well.
Summer is a perfect time to focus on fact mastery. It is always exciting for me as I work with parents to find clarity regarding learning gaps, which when realized and filled are game changers.
Thriving Taking the Summer Off
Remember that taking the summer off is not a bad thing! I will be honest here—looking back, my children would have possibly benefited from some review and formal education during summer. However, the reality was we all were in more need of a break than a summer schooling program. Any learning we did was totally unplanned, organic, and in the moment. Sometimes a break is what’s needed for a fresh and enthusiastic start at “back to school.” Somehow they turned out fine, and I have some pretty wonderful memories of summers in which we learned more organically and definitely thrived.
If you are nervous about taking the summer off, here are some fun “formal learning” ideas that can help keep things sharp during your summer break:
Summer Math Games
Summer Math Skills
Continuing to Thrive Involves Trusting Your Gut
While planning your summer program or next school year, if something does not seem to add up in regards to math and spelling, remember we are here to help. Knowing yourself and your family dynamic will direct you. You know your student; we know our products and have additional tools to help plan for success.
Whether you end up using our products or not, expect collaboration at its finest. We are here to help with your next steps and discuss if our products are a good fit for your strategic plan for your student’s success and confidence.
So in conclusion…pause, reflect, celebrate, and do what you know will work for you and your family as you continue to thrive! You are homeschooling; it is what you do.
Thriving in 2021-2022 Badge
We encourage you to download the badge, share it on social media to celebrate how your family has thrived in the 2021–2022 school year, and tag your friends who you think would find this encouragement beneficial.