One of the many reasons I love the month of May is that I start to see dashes in my daily lesson plan books.
I have a lesson plan book for each of my children, and in them I write the page numbers and assignments for each day's work. I do this not because I'm organized, but because I'm both unorganized and chronically lazy; I'd much rather know at the beginning of the week what lies ahead for each child in each subject than have to figure all of that out on the fly.
But as we enter May (and sometimes for the youngest, even a little before) some of my boxes on the lesson plan books will look a little like this:
And that means that we don't have reading that day, or the next, or the next. Because we've finished our reading work for the year!
Oh, sure, sometimes a dash or two appears in every month. Some of them show half-days when we had a dentist appointment, or something; some of them show up just before a vacation, because the subjects that somehow believe you will always have a five-day work week, every day, no exceptions, are easier to skip for those last two days before Christmas break than to schedule piecemeal and then hope we will remember what we were doing when January arrives. And there's sure to be a dash or two next to the cryptic words "Sick. Reschedule." from the really drippy cold that made workbook activities both frustrating and a little gross, truth be told.
But May's dashes are the good ones, the little broken lines of emerging freedom. I start noticing the house again, and making plans that far exceed budget or reality for making things better before the next school year rolls around. I begin to think of summer days, summer activities, summer recipes (preferably ones that don't involve the oven, as my fellow Texans know). I plan a massive clean-out of broken toys--and I've already got a storage bucket in the garage for this year's used workbooks and notebooks (my way of being ready to prove, should I ever have to, that I homeschool in a 'bona fide' manner; I dare anyone either to discount or to decipher those workbooks!). I think about starting another young adult science fiction novel writing project while creating hopeful plans to get one of the two I've written so far published.
It won't all happen, of course. But those dashes are like the highway markings along the road to summer vacation. Right now, it all seems possible, and those twelve precious weeks of unfettered bliss glisten like the most convincing heat mirage on the smoothest asphalt pavement.