Like the rest of the homeschool world across the globe, you’re probably winding down for the year, or at least getting ready to go on break for a while. Personally, I love the ends of big events, like an entire homeschool year, and being able to tie a nice, sweet bow on it and package it up before we move on to the next thing.
Every homeschool year is different. We win some and we lose some and each is unique. Regardless of if it’s been a fabulous year or a not so great one, wrapping up the end of your school year is important. Everyone wants to finish strong! So here’s a few ways that we’ve been implementing pretty much from the beginning in order to finish our year strong.
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Finishing your homeschool year strong
Set an end date.
It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel if there’s no end in site. Some people just sort of slow to a stop, but we’ve always liked to put that “LAST DAY OF SCHOOL” on the calendar and truly close the doors to the school room for a few months. What can I say? Public school favorite things die hard.
Most states require homeschoolers to take a standardized test at the end of each school year. Now is a great time to do this. Workbooks are winding down and your daily homeschool routine is getting a little more intermittent. so plan a day or a few days when your kids will take their standardized tests.
Tie it all together.
If you’re like us, you’ve probably started several unit studies and projects. Right now we have a 1/2 finished White House model, a read aloud that’s alllllmost finished, and a big unit study on the Renaissance and Reformation that just has a few lessons left. I like all this stuff tied up before we’re done for the year. It seems like after that last day of school, we all do an immediate mental shift and no longer have the drive to finish undone projects, so now is the time! We like being motivated by a deadline.
Drop what is dwindling and rock the rest.
Tying everything together doesn’t necessarily mean you need to push push push through and fill your kids up with a bunch of stuff that never worked in the first place. If you’re trying to do Latin, and it never really took off this year, don’t try to suffer through the last few weeks of school–just shelf it till next year and start it again with new energy. Take those few things that are dwindling anyway and drop them. It’s ok! You can maybe try them out here and there over the summer or pick them back up next year–or ditch them forever! Take the rest of what you’re working on and rock. it. out! Finish those projects, fill in those last math lessons, print out the report and put them in portfolio folders and be happy with all the amazing things you’ve accomplished this year!
As you’re finishing the school year, evaluate what you’ve done and how you want to continue. Give a good, honest look at your curriculum, your routine, your family dynamics–is anyone struggling? Lagging? Unhappy? And what’s working great? Write down what worked really well this year and what you’re sure was not a good fit for your family. Make a list of other things you want to try or research more this summer. Write down all the books you’ve read and the topics you’ve studied. Evaluating things now, while they’re still fresh in your mind is much easier than doing it in July when summer has fully set in.
Plan some end of the year fun!!
Don’t you remember the excitement at the end of the year when you were in school? Cleaning out your desks? Field trips? Track and field day? Class picnics? Ahhhhh so fun!!! I want my kids to experience that same excitement and pride in finishing a school year–it’s a LOT of work and a BIG accomplishment!! So every year, I plan some fun things to do for the last day of school and the days leading up to it. Here’s some of the things we’ve done…
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- Summer Basket! (I will never be able to stop doing this. Ever. Here’s our summer basket from 2014, 2013, 2012)
- Plan an Art Show– We love planning these! Basically we invite some friends and family and drag out all the stuff we’ve done over the year and show it off. We hang up art, set out models and projects, display our binders of work, and recite memory work. The kids are the hosts and tour people around to see their accomplishments and serve them drinks and snacks. It’s really so much fun. Here’s an art show we did in 2014.
- Have a class picnic and go to the zoo for the day or a favorite park to celebrate.
- Go on a fun field trip you’ve been meaning to all year.
- Get together with another homeschool family and celebrate together–go the the lake, the zoo, or plan an art show together.
Be proud with your kids about what you’ve accomplished together this year–isn’t it great!? Drink in these last few weeks of school–enjoy them. Don’t move on to school year 2016-17 quite yet–you’ll have June and July to plan for that. Enjoy these last days of school and finish strong!
Here’s a Periscope I did a couple weeks ago on this topic. You can find me @aliciahutchinson on Periscope.