Have you ever run out of school year before you run out of curriculum? Yeah, me too. More often than not. What do you do when you don’t finish the curriculum by summer break?
1. Pick it up next fall.
We completely switched curriculum in the middle of the year Josh and Megan were in 6th and 4th grades. Obviously, we did not finish before summer break. We didn’t care. We got to a good stopping point (the end of a unit or a Teaching Textbooks chapter) and put the books aside. We picked up where we left off when we started the next school year.
That’s how we did school for the next several years. One of the unexpected benefits was that we got to enjoy all-new curriculum and books each January.
We really didn’t experience any issues. There were a few times when we’d have to review a bit, but it was never a big deal.
One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that we don’t have to be constrained to arbitrary grade levels or schedules. We can just keep plugging along to mastery.
2. Compare the last lessons in the current level with the first lessons in the next level.
If the subject that you didn’t finish is one built on previously-learned concepts, such as math, compare the incomplete lesson topics from your current level with the first few lessons in the next level. Each level usually includes some review at the beginning of the year, so you may be able to skip the unfinished lessons without even noticing.
If nothing else, you can use the unfinished lessons from your current level as extra practice for the next level if your child needs it.
Some subjects teach the same basic material in increasing complexity. Grammar is one example. When we used Easy Grammar and Daily Grams, we would sometimes skip a level after taking more than one school year to complete a previous level.
3. Do a light school schedule over the summer.
Work on the missed lessons over the summer. If you have a child who thrives on structure, working on the unfinished lessons can provide a familiar routine, keep the topic fresh in his mind, and get you caught up before back-to-school time in the fall.
4. Look for other ways to learn about the topic.
Consider other ways you might be able to learn about the same topic without “doing school” during the summer. Read historical fiction, biographies, or captivating non-fiction books. Non-fiction books written for younger readers can be perfect for giving older kids a good overview of the key points of a topic.
Watch documentaries or movies based on the events or set in the time period you didn’t get to. Take field trips related to the missed topics.
5. Don’t worry about it.
Cut yourself some slack and don’t worry about what you didn’t finish. If you completed at least 75% of the curriculum, you’re probably okay. It’s not uncommon for kids in traditional school settings not to finish every single book either.
Most curriculum publishers provide enough material for a traditional 180 day/36 week school schedule. That doesn’t take into account time away from the curriculum for co-op classes, field trips, enrichment activities, or even sick days.
If you have young kids, chances are that you’ll cover the topics again in middle school or high school.
What do you do when you run out of school year before you run out of curriculum? Do you have any tried-and-true tips that I didn’t mention?