“Celebrate the times – come on!” I guess I’m “dating” myself by naming “Celebration,” sung by Kool and the Gang from 1980, but it puts into words something that many classes and homeschools are missing. As I am realizing that my daughter will never again be in second grade, I know that we need to celebrate this achievement, as well as her many successes throughout the year.
What celebrations do I mean? We should take the time to recognize small victories, as well as large victories. This was not done much when I was in school, and I honestly don’t do it enough in my own life, which carries over to my daughter, too. Think about it: when you finish a big project at work, do you celebrate? Or do you simply reach for the next assignment?
Celebrate on a regular basis. Some people say that if we celebrate every success, they won’t mean much. Well, that depends on how you do it. If your family goes out for pizza every time your child completes a Math paper, you will probably be eating pizza every night and won’t enjoy it much after a time. Find different ways to celebrate different things. Daily successes could be done with stickers on a chart. Then, when the chart is full, go to a park for the afternoon or rent a movie that the family enjoys. Save the big style celebrations for big events. Celebrations don’t have to cost much. When your child finishes studying about the American Revolution, you could invite a few friends and family over for a cook out. Even though you might have done that anyway, you can recognize your child’s accomplishments (yes, more than one child can be recognized at the same event!). Use those Pizza Hut Reading Club coupons. For those in areas fortunate enough to have Braum’s stores, use the Braum’s ice cream coupons. Celebrate yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily the successes your child is achieving. A small bottle of bubbles presented at the park by a proud mother can be all that is required at times, but it is so valuable!
Keep your celebrations meaningful. Don’t make them empty (“Yeah! You cleaned your plate” to a child who always eats well isn’t much reason to cheer), it’s obvious when you really mean it. “Graduation” is a term that I think is used too much in schools today. I do think that is over-used, though I do not know ANY High School seniors who consider graduation for high school in the same category as graduation from sixth grade. However, you might want to save that term for the “big” graduation event. We will be having a “Promotion Ceremony” at a local park with another homeschooling family. While we could do it easier during the day, we will be celebrating at a time when our entire family can be there. We’re going to a park with a bridge where our children can walk over the bridge “to go to” the next grade. Our entire ceremony with both families will probably take a total of fifteen minutes (most of that will probably be chasing down the kids to line them up), but it will be special and everyone, including our husbands, can recognize the achievement of completing another entire year of education.
Celebrations should be held regularly, the reward should vary (whether verbal praise or large gifts), and they should honestly celebrate an achievement. Remember, Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” Remember to celebrate life.