With the end of another school year fast approaching for many of us, you may be struggling to keep everyone (including yourself!) on task. A couple of years ago, at Real Life at Home (formerly The Homeschool Classroom), I shared some tips for how to celebrate the end of the school year. The five ideas I’m sharing here are a mix of celebratory and have-to (depending on where you live) reminders.
1. Hold a homeschool recognition ceremony.
I am so thankful for the lady in our homeschool group who has faithfully organized a year-end recognition ceremony for many, many years now. This will be our first year to participate. Yes, I know that’s a little sad. In the past, the ceremony has always seemed to fall on Brian’s company picnic day. His company picnic involves a free day at a local amusement park. My kids are loathe to give that up for anything.
This year, however, the ceremony is a bit earlier – and we have a graduating senior. How in the world did that happen?
Check out the link to the article at Real Life at Home for more details.
2. Create homeschool portfolios or progress reports.
Okay, this may not be the most fun thing to do at the end of the school year, but, for many of us, state homeschooling laws require it. We’re in a progress report state and, honestly, I’m glad we don’t have to assemble and turn in portfolios. However, possibly just because I don’t have to do it, portfolios seem like a fun way to look back over a child’s homeschool year and preserve the highlights as a keepsake.
Having graduated (almost) one student, I can say that I wish I had done this for her even though we don’t have to. I think it could be helpful for a homeschooled kid seeking college admission to have such a record of his or her work. I plan on trying to do much better about this with Josh and Megan.
Cindy West, from Our Journey Westward, has some excellent tips on how to create a homeschool portfolio and there is another homeschool portfolio tutorial that I really, really like on Real Life at Home.
3. Complete year-end testing.
Again, this one isn’t on the list of fun things to do, but for many homeschooling families it’s a necessary evil. Its one redeeming quality is that testing is something different that often can be spread out over several days, resulting in a shorter school day. Okay, that may be reaching a bit.
There are ways to make testing more fun, though:
- Provide snacks and lunches that are different than usual to create a more celebratory mood.
- Let kids have hard candy and gum during the test – as long as they don’t become a distraction to others.
- Do something fun when the testing day is over – go to the park or out for ice cream.
4. Create a summer fun list.
Sit down with the kids and compile a list of fun things you’d like to do this summer. Some ideas to get you started:
- Camp – church, gymnastics, bowling, etc.
- Join a community pool
- Sign up for Kids Bowl Free
- Sign up for summer reading programs
- Plan a vacation
- Make a list of local activities to enjoy – There may or may not be a jump park and indoor rock climbing on our list.
- Sign up for volunteer opportunities
- Start a family book club
- Go to the zoo
- Check out this list from Real Life at Home
As we near the end of the year, we find ourselves finishing up some chapters and units without time to start and finish another one. This is the perfect time to do a cumulative review. I think this is also where you want to do the fun stuff as much as possible:
- Build models
- Create dioramas
- Make edible stuff – cell cakes, cookie maps, edible rocks, etc.
- Try this idea with balls from the dollar store (#2)
- Put on a “show-and-tell” presentation for friends and relatives
Although we basically school year round, we do take about six weeks for a summer break and we’re counting down the days! How do you like to celebrate and/or wrap-up your school year?