Episode 97: Finish Strong

 It's been a full and busy year of learning, doing and growing! Maybe your kids have Seniorities; I know one of mine does! Maybe you are super ready for spring flowers and summer activities; I know I am! Whatever the reason, we're probably all ready for a new season. And learning to finish well is an important life skill. So, before you move on to the new and improved season Beth Purcell is here to give us some great tips on how to finish this season well!

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TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to another episode of Not That Hard to Homeschool, the podcast for real people so that you can confidently, competently, and yes, even contentedly provide the high school education that is best for your teens and your family. I'm your host Lisa Nearing, from notthathardtohomeschool.com.

The joys of summer break.

No teachers lecturing, no papers to write, no deadlines to meet, no projects to complete, no exams to study for, no tests to take. But wait a minute. We are in the middle of April. We are not there yet. So put aside those shades and deflate that ducky float. It's not vacay time yet. You still have some things to do.

Parents, you have worked so hard teaching and ensuring that your students have a successful school year. I know you're tired, but don't quit just yet. Students, you've studied and crammed and practiced and pushed all school year long to complete assignments and earn points. I know you're tired and you're ready for a break, but don't blow it now. One missed paper, one bad test, one failed project, can jeopardize any class grade. Don't monkey around with those high grades that you've worked so hard to earn. You didn't ace your assignments and earn that A just so you could coast into summer with Cs. Keep those As and Bs by staying focused for these last few weeks the school year.

I'm Beth Purcell and I'm a teacher at True North Homeschool Academy. I teach writing four, which is US History, writing five, which is writing from Modern World History, and then next year, this coming fall, I'll be adding some new courses. I'll be adding Narnia 2, which is an advanced IEW writing class for those who are ready for that next step. I'll be also teaching Eelementary Grammar as well as high school World Comp and Literature, and Speech and Rhetoric as well as Copywriting 101. So join me this fall for a class that might be of interest to you. I'm here with four simple tips to help you stay strong and stay focused through the end of the school year.

Tip 1: Look at the Big Picture and a Big Calendar

Put your assignments on a big monthly calendar for all of April and May. This is a great visual to see how quickly time is passing and how fast these deadlines are approaching. This helps you stay organized, keeps your work organized, and helps you set a nice pace to finish everything and finish it on time.

I know, I know. Everything is on your digital calendar. It's on your computer, it's on your phone, it's on your tablet, it's on your laptop, but a digital calendar is not in your face, and out of sight is out of mind. You only see your digital calendar when you choose to, when you click on it. A desk calendar is my fave, but a wall calendar works well too. The idea is to get it visible so that you can see all your due dates. You can see the big picture, you can see those days clicking by, and that way you can ensure that all of your remaining assignments are completed and on time.

Time: Step 2

Trick two.

Tip two.

Time is running out this school year, so you need to effectively manage your time. Don't wait 'til the last minute to start that paper or project. Procrastination is just waiting to pounce on you. It will sabotage all of your hard work.

Fight it.

Don't give in. Do not put off today, what you can do today. Don't wait 'til tomorrow. Do what you need to do and you should do and you can do, today. Sometimes we miscalculate how long an assignment might take us. We underestimate the amount of work that it will require to do it well and to do it completely. So take a minute, plan your work, organize your work, but then dive in. Don't hesitate. Because the quicker you start that assignment, that project, that paper that you dread so much, the quicker you will finish it. The countdown is on. So create a way to track the time that you have left.

This is another way to help make time tangible so that we can see it, so that we're more aware of it. Make a huge wall calendar out of sticky notes. Take post-it notes and organize them on a wall just as it looks like in a calendar. Put your due dates up there, put when projects are due, when they're assigned, your steps that you need to work to in order to complete that assignment. That's one way to track time.

Another way, do you remember those wonderful chains, paper chains that we used to make in elementary school? We've all made 'em, right? Take that chain. Make a long chain that will resemble each year or each day of the remaining school year. And when a day passes by and you've accomplished your goals, tear it off and throw it away. And as that chain gets shorter and shorter, you'll know that the school year is quickly passing and that summer is on its way. It will help you again, visualize time passing. If you make a paper chain or if you use a wall calendar with sticky notes, these can help you stay motivated and focused. It feels so good to tear that chain off or to take that sticky note off the wall. So take control of your time so that time doesn't take control of you. Manage your time effectively so that you're completing your final assignments as you should, right on time.

Number 3: Set some Goals

Set daily goals, set weekly goals. And for some of us, we may have to set hourly goals. These should be very specific and attainable with a very specific purpose. Goals can be as simple as, I will write two paragraphs of my paper today. Or goals can be as lofty as, I will ace my final AP history exam. So think of goal setting as making a to-do list. Goal setting with a to-do list keeps you on track and keeps you motivated, and there's such great satisfaction in scratching off that item on your to-do list, or marking that check that box complete, checking that box complete. There's a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you've accomplished something today, and accomplished what you needed to in order to finish out this school year strong.

My last tip, my fourth and final tip, is to hydrate and motivate. If your days are getting warmer and you've got summer fever or if you're still in the middle of winter and you're cranking up that heat, you need water. That marvelous, miraculous organ, that brain of yours is 75% water. And according to the American College of Nutrition, dehydration can result in some very terrible consequences when you're talking about studying and finishing strong.

First of all, it can create poor focus and lack of attention. If you are dehydrated, if you don't have enough water, you can't focus as well. Your attention is shorter. And so studying and cramming for tests doesn't do you any good. So make sure that you're hydrated.

Make sure that you've got focus and attention with a well hydrated brain. If you are dehydrated, it can also slow the process of processing information. The ability to process information becomes slower if we're dehydrated. Again, remember, your brain needs water, and if you're dehydrated, we can become irritable. And we all know that irritability is a barrier to studying and to accomplishing things well. Plus, it makes everybody around you irritable too. You get on everybody's nerves. So, drink water.

Of course, if you're dehydrated, you can have a headache, and you can even have some memory loss. So, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Water helps improve brain function and alertness. But in addition to water, you need to get moving. While you should be hunkering down and completing your assignments, you also need to move. So take some exercise breaks.

Walk around the block real quickly. Jog in place, do some jumping jacks. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain and other organs, which ultimately will improve your neurological function. So activate all of those brain cells for your schoolwork. Hydrate and get moving. These will help you stay motivated.

So, you've got this.

The finish line is near, the celebration is coming, and summer days are fast approaching. So power through, power ahead, stay focused, and finish your school year strong, so that you can relax and celebrate your successes, knowing that you did your very best to the very end.

Now get going.

Get crackin'.

Get studying.

Get writing.

Finish strong,and enjoy a sensational summer.

 (upbeat, playful music)

Find out more about Beth Purcell's! And check out the amazing classes she'll be teaching during the 23-24 School Year:

Lisa Nehring
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