Saturday, 9 July 2016

Marking the end of an academic 'year'

We will finish the first 'year' of materials from the Sonlight curriculum this week. I have always though that one of the beauties of home education is that we don't mark times and seasons, that we are not constrained into 'terms' or 'grades'. However, it does feel special to have completed something, and I think it is important to pause and celebrate. So, how are we doing this?

1) Firstly, there are 'certificates' that come with the materials. Whilst I really dislike the kind of events where 'every child is a winner' or where 'everybody gets a certificate for taking part', I can see how the boys have worked hard and consistently through the year and that they have fully earned these. They will find it very special to be given a certificate.

2) We have a friend from the UK arriving mid next week - so we will complete the materials just in time for her arrival. This is a natural pause in our schedule, a time when we would naturally take a break anyway, and it will be great to do some special things together. She grew up in this country, and also was home educated for that time - so she'll bring plenty of stories and anecdotes about her childhood here which the boys will love. We won't take much longer 'off' - one of the things I love about the Sonlight resources is how natural much of it seems - many hours spent reading books together and talking about them; this is something the boys crave, and they don't see it as learning. (They might not agree with that comment for spelling or some of the language arts tasks!).

3) I'm writing them report cards. I've broken it down subject by subject and am simply summarising their progress in this area, the challenges they may have faced and our main goals moving into the next year. The nice things about home education is that I can include things like 'lifeskills' and 'character development' as subjects. I have found writing this helpful. It is easy to forget the progress which has been made because the struggle has simply been replaced by a new challenge or struggle. It can be easy to feel that progress is slow, and that godly character is not shining through at all times. However, by stopping to reflect, I can see clear areas where all of them have moved forward, and it is important to acknowledge these and give the children praise where it is due. It will also serve as a useful record for years to come - we think we will remember, but time seems to go so fast.

It is with great thankfulness that we mark this milestone. The year has brought challenges, such as relocating to a new country, and yet with that there have also been many wonderful opportunities to embrace. We look forward to moving onto the next 'academic year'!

If you home educate, how do you mark milestones and progress?

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! And, yes, I love how so much of Sonlight doesn't feel like work [smile]. Enjoy your break, and may it make your whole family even more excited when you are able to start up again!