The end of the school year is upon us, and unless you are homeschooling year round, finishing well is on your mind! Schoolwork is wrapping up, summer plans are being made, and you may even be looking ahead to the new year already!
Here are a few tips for finishing well and wrapping up the year successfully.
Finishing Well with Year-end Records
Depending on the homeschool laws in your state, you may be required to keep records of your year. Be sure to check the laws in your state so that you know what (if anything) you need to keep track of. A few common things include:
- Attendance Records
Keeping track of attendance is always a good idea, especially if your state requires a minimum number of days for your homeschool year.
- Survey the Year
Take some time to think about how the year went. What worked well? What didn’t? Where did things derail, and what might have caused that? Do you need to take more breaks or fewer? Be sure to ask your kids their thoughts on the year. What did they enjoy the most? The least? Write everything down, especially if you aren’t immediately planning for next year.
- Make a Portfolio
Some states require keeping a portfolio of work completed over the school year, while others don’t. Again, be sure to check the laws in your state. Whether it’s required or not, keeping a portfolio of your child’s work can be a great memento. Choose some of their best work for the year and put it together in a nice binder or even a scrapbook. If possible, use page protectors so that those precious memories are kept safe.
Summer Learning & Fun
Now that you’re well on your way to getting the school year wrapped up, it’s time to start thinking about the summer! So much to do . . . so little time!! It can help tremendously to have a plan, even if it’s only a vague one, so that your kids don’t end up wandering around like they’re lost!
Summer is the perfect time to focus on things that you may not have gotten around to during the school year. Ask your kids what sort of things they’d like to learn about and then provide the materials they need. Work on learning a new instrument like guitar or piano.
If your kids want to take it easy for a while and veg out in front of the TV, you can compromise with a bit of TV learning!
Have a little one to keep busy? How about a whole summer’s worth of fun preschool worksheets?
Don’t let the summer slump take over! Remember to practice skills like math and reading. There are so many wonderful books out there for elementary and middle school kids to get lots of reading practice in. Remember . . . not all books are created equal, so make sure you’re choosing quality literature for your children. It’s so important!
Of course, summer isn’t just about learning all the time. Sometimes you just want to have fun! Family vacations are a great way to make memories together but there are lots of ways to spend a day here and there if you’re not up to a longer trip.
Thinking About Next Year
Now that you have a plan for keeping the kids occupied all summer, it’s time to begin thinking about the next school year.
If you’re one of the thousands of people who started schooling at home because of the pandemic and are now struggling with whether or not to continue homeschooling, the summer can feel like a slight panic attack! You may feel unqualified to teach, especially if you have high schoolers. You may not WANT to teach, but you want to keep your kids at home. You’re not alone! The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has put together an amazing Considering Homeschooling Info-Pak filled with more than 60 FREE eBooks to help and encourage you on this homeschooling journey.
Figuring out where to begin is often the biggest stumbling block to planning for a new school year. A 10-step plan can be a HUGE help (especially when it comes with a FREE lesson planner).
And the curriculum . . . so . . . many . . . choices! It can be incredibly overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are guides to homeschool curriculum that will help you choose what is best for your family. Even if you don’t have a lot of money for curriculum (or no money at all!), there’s a curriculum for everyone. Just be sure to have a plan in mind before shopping for all the subjects you’d like to teach. And don’t forget about the supplies!
Finishing Well with Celebration
It’s been a long year, and while it can be fun (and a relief!) to toss aside the books in favor of the lazy days of summer, don’t forget to celebrate the year ending. There are lots of ways to commemorate all of the hard work completed. You could throw a party complete with decorations and a cake! Have a nice dinner out, or fire up the grill for a backyard celebration. Print certificates for your kids that acknowledge all of their hard work. Invite family members over and put those portfolios you’ve made on display. Get together with another homeschooling family (or several) and celebrate together. The possibilities are endless!
The Homeschool Review Crew wishes you and your family a wonderful summer and a hearty congratulations for completing your year! Treasure these days homeschool mamas!
Special thanks to Annette V. of A Net in Time, Michelle W. of Life in the Nerddom, Sarah M. of Homeschooling 4 Him, and Yvie F. of Homeschool on the Range for their contributions to this article. Be sure to visit their blogs for more encouragement and ideas for homeschooling.
LET’S ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER!
How do you wrap up your homeschool year? We’d love for you to share your ideas in the comments below.