Monday, April 9, 2012

Student Request Month

A lot of homeschoolers experience burnout around the month of February. I haven't been one of those. We are a bunch of homebodies in this house, so dreary winter months don't get us down (except for daddy cause he's needing some sun and golf!)

I start to get burned out right about now, in mid-April. I'm ready to be done. It's because we've had a long school year, we're ready for an extended break, our materials are starting to get monotonous, and (this may sound weird) but I am so excited about what we are going to do next year that I can't get myself to focus on what we are doing this year. And when I'm not into what we are doing, neither are the kids.

How do we battle this and finish the school year strong?

The first thing we do is make some specific and realistic (not lofty) goals for what lessons we want to finish in our basic studies, such as grammar, writing, copywork, critical thinking, math, and literature. I make a realistic goal, based on how many bookwork days of school we have left, and then we schedule to complete those assignments. (We also don't stress if we don't finish a workbook. We have put in our required days of schooling, and many of those days were not sitting in this house with a workbook in front of us.)

The other way we are battling burnout this year, is to make May "Student Request Month".

Dawson has specifically requested that we do a study on knights. This will be such a fun unit that Brynne will be coming along for the ride with us. We will do lots of reading, watch tons of videos, will do some hands-on projects, play some video games (yes, Skyrim on Xbox 360 is relevant!) and will even head out to the Renaissance Festival in our area. And have you heard of the reality show Full Metal Jousting? We have been DVRing it for the past several weeks and will watch it. We will learn a lot, and it will be fun.

Dawson also wanted to finish out his Biology class with dissections. So, I purchased a kit of seven dissection specimens, and even let him pick out an eighth, which was a snake! Yuck!

Brynne has been doing some big unit studies this winter. The first one was on Dogs and the second has been on The Secret Garden. That was planned out so that we could get outside a lot now that it's warm and work in our gardens, and learn about plants. That has helped with her burnout a lot.

For the month of May, we are going to finish the school year learning about some more states. She loves U.S. Geography, so we'll pick about four or five states and learn as much about them as we can. She will love it.

Yes, the basics need to be done. But there's no reason why my students can't have a say in what they really want to learn. It's still learning. It's just more fun for them. It's a reward after a long year of very hard work! And, they will get so engrossed that they will hardly even realize that we've just finished our school year.

Do you have some great burnout tips? I'd love to hear them! And the TOS Crew is weighing in on this issue this week. The link will go live on Tuesday.


  1. I get the same kind of burnout about now. I'm almost done with our current science, but my new one has already come in and it looks so pretty and fun........

  2. too funny; I get a bit fidgety about now too. =) As I am trying to stay focused, (and we chose Alaska as our student pick), I, too, am pondering ideas about next year. Can't help but laugh as us mama's are ready to be done this year, and just as excited thinking about next year...
    gotta love it!

  3. I love the idea of delight-directed learning! That's a great way to get everyone motivated and refocused on school!


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