Although we homeschooled year round, we had time away from our usual studies too. I worked out a calendar to include our 180 required days and worked in blocks of time where we were had a break from typical studies too.
I never thought about last day celebrations and such. The article I’m sharing with you today has some good ideas for ending a school year. While I don’t completely agree with everything shared, I think the ideas are worth sharing.
I hope it helps you.
Until next time, God bless,
Celebrate the End of the School Year
By Leah DeLaughter
As the days get warmer, and summer approaches, the children seem to anticipate the end of the school year. The natives are getting restless! Whether you take a three-month break for summer, or teach year-round, it is good to have a sense of completion. Acknowledge how far you have come this year; celebrate together, and prepare to move forward into the new school year with renewed vigor.
By the end of the school year, many times our homeschools are just limping along. Both kids and moms start sleeping in, and the school day somehow ends earlier, as focus begins to wane. It’s ok to recognize this time for what it is: winding down for a time of relaxation before the next big push for the new school year. So, with the school year coming to a close, how can we celebrate it together?
Approaching the End of the School Year
The first question to answer is, when are you going to end your school year? How will you determine that you are finished? This question may be harder than it sounds. Do you have to complete the entire curriculum you started at the beginning of the year? (If that’s the case, most of us would never end the school year!) Do you end when you have reached a certain number of school days or when your child has reached an academic goal or passed a test? Have a goal in mind, but give yourself and your children some grace. You can always pick up where you left off next school year, and most curricula spend the first part of the year reviewing old material anyway. Can you count one of your family trips as a school field trip? I’m sure your children learned something during the trip! Don’t cut your year short by any means, but make a realistic decision of when you want to end, and stick to it!
Once you have decided when you are going to end school for the year, put it on the calendar, and let the children count down to the end of school. As the final weeks approach, look over your school work. Are there any projects that are halfway done that you want finished (such as a State Notebook, a sewing project or a story?) Are there any subjects that can be dropped for now and picked up again next school year? What subjects do you and your children want to focus on for the last few weeks of school?
Be sure to get some pictures of the kids in their study environment for memory’s sake, especially if you are interested in making a memory book or photo collage. You’ll never regret having pictures of your kids reading or studying, so make sure you sneak some in now if you haven’t earlier in the school year.
Straighten out your papers and grades. I, for one, am horrible about keeping track of grades. I put all graded tests and papers into a folder, and at the end of the year take them out, and record them into a Word document. If you don’t have a way to keep track of grades, find one. There are many useful resources out there for this. For those who don’t believe in grades, (and I’m right there with you,) create a Word document for each student and write about their accomplishments that year. Did they learn to read? What are they able to do in math? What books did they read? What projects did they work on or complete? This documentation will help you remember each year what each child has accomplished as well as reassure you as the years go on that your child actually is learning!
Spend some time sorting through all of those papers, tests, and drawings that have piled up during the school year. Which ones are going into the recycling bin? Can you mail any of the pictures to Grandma? Which of the papers, maps or tests do you want to keep in a folder? Put the important papers to keep in a folder labeled with the year. You don’t need to keep every scrap of paper, just the ones that you feel are your child’s best work.
Now is the time to celebrate! You and your children have made it through another school year together! Don’t get hung up on whether or not you completed every single thing in the curriculum. Focus on what you did accomplish. On the last day of school or soon afterwards, have an awards ceremony, and present each child an awards certificate (preferably several) for his or her accomplishments. For example, “Congratulations, Jonathan! You completed Kindergarten” or “Good Job, Heather! You memorized your multiplication tables!” Think about some things your child has achieved this year, and congratulate him or her for it. Did your child memorize the Declaration of Independence, or learn the 50 states and capitals? Did one learn to spell his name? I like to give at least two certificates per child.
Give a small gift. Go to a dollar store, and get them some stationary, or a cool pen, or a shovel and pail. It doesn’t have to be big, just something to let them know how proud you are of them and that this is a special time. And, don’t forget to get a picture of everyone on their last day, together with their teacher! Give yourself and your children the acknowledgement of a job well done this school year.
Leah DeLaughter is the homeschool mother of three beautiful children who are 6, 11, and 13. They have been homeschooling for eight years, and have lived for ten years as missionaries in Tanzania. Leah loves to spend her time reading on her Kindle, playing with her kids, and having dates with her husband, Bill. She writes about her homeschooling journey on www.homelifetanzania.blogspot.com
Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by Author. Originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read TOS Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.