Saturday, June 2

Right Up To The End

J is front row on the left at his eighth grade continuation ceremony.
My oldest son is in a small charter school.  He was home educated through 6th grade and we had various reasons for making that switch when he entered 7th last year.  This May, he graduated from eighth grade.  I think academically he accomplished some great benchmarks this year.  His teachers challenged him and enjoyed him.  However, his last week of school consisted of watching The Lord of the Rings (in his teacher's defense they had just finished reading and writing essays on the Hobbit), ultimate Frisbee, yearbook distribution, locker clean-out, random school-specific standardized testing, an awards ceremony, continuation ceremony, a day at an amusement park and a school bbq.

S's Kindergarten graduation from his once a week Options class.  S is in the plaid shirt.
My other two sons continue to be home educated.  B finished 4th grade and S finished Kindergarten.  Their last week of school was nothing like their older brother's.  S's final task was to daily read through his last four lessons in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  We played some math card games and he participated in some of what his brother was doing too.  We were covering the Revolutionary War so B was typing up a paragraph on Washington as the first President, creating a book jacket book report on Johnny Tremain that we had read aloud, trying to at least make his over-ambitious rag-rug until a potholder, mapping out major war battles and watching a video about Yorktown.  In addition he continued to do some fun multiplication drills online, finished reading through the book of Exodus with me, and reviewed about a dozen spelling rules.  On our last day, after he'd finished up all of the above, we did our traditional oral review quiz that happened to take over an hour.  Then we proceeded to plant the front garden and map out our family road trip.  The learning never ends.

To say their last weeks were decidedly different is a bit of an understatement.  But I don't have final grading to get done like J's teachers do and B&S and I get to intersperse slacker fun activities through the year rather than cram them all into the last week.  Our last week is always one of productivity and pushing through to tie-up loose ends and wrap-up notebooks.  And our last week is never easy.  When we are a week away from being done for the year we start salivating for the outdoors, taking our work upstairs near the windows or outside on the deck.  We linger over lunch because the sandbox is such a nice place to finish the meal with a Popsicle.  We have to push ourselves back inside because the garden seedlings pushing through the earth are too distracting and steal our focus.  But we make the academics happen all the way to the end.

It's exhausting.  But when that final review is done and the notebooks are complete we heave a sigh of relief.

And then we hop in the car for a roadtrip and listen to Adventures in Odyssey tell tales of early America, visit a few museums of American history, hike through areas of geological peculiarity... I just might count vacation as school days for next year.

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