With the end of another school year fast approaching for many of us, you may be struggling to keep everyone (including yourself!) on task. There are lots of fun ideas for how to celebrate the end of the school year. Then there are the things you have to do (depending on your state’s homeschool laws).
These five ideas for how to wrap up your homeschool year are a mix of the two.
1. Hold a homeschool recognition ceremony.
I am so thankful for the lady in our homeschool group who faithfully organized a year-end recognition ceremony for most of our homeschooling years. It was a chance for homeschooled students of all ages and abilities to be recognized. There were kindergarten, elementary, and middle school graduates. We commended kids for their academic achievements, art, drama, community service, etc. And, of course, the ceremony was capped off with a ceremony for the high school graduates.
The ceremony can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like to make it. We always asked for participating families to bring finger foods and drinks to share for a reception afterward. The parents supplied their own certificates and awards. Then, they either presented the awards to their students themselves or prepared information for the emcee to share.
The lady who organized the event usually arranged to have a special speaker. One year, it was the youth pastor from her church who was a homeschool graduate. Another year, it was a World War II veteran.
2. Create homeschool portfolios or progress reports.
Okay, writing homeschool progress reports and assembling portfolios may not be the most entertaining thing to do at the end of the school year, but many state homeschooling laws require it.
We’re in a progress report state. I’m glad we don’t have to assemble and turn in portfolios. However, they seem like a fun way to look back over the year and preserve the highlights as a keepsake. (That may just be because I don’t have to do it.) I wish I had done this for my kids. It could be helpful for a homeschool graduate applying to colleges.
3. Complete year-end testing.
Again, this one isn’t on the list of fun things to do. However, many state homeschooling laws require standardized testing for homeschoolers. Try these tips to make testing more fun:
- 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.
There are also practical steps you can take to make testing less stressful for test-phobic kids.
4. Create a summer fun list.
Now for something fun: Sit down with the kids and compile a list of activities you’d like to enjoy together 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 – jump parks, playgrounds, children’s museums, or indoor rock climbing
- Sign up for volunteer opportunities
- Start a family book club
- Go to the zoo
- Pick some fun and frugal family activities
As many families near the end of the year, they find themselves finishing up some chapters and units without time to start and finish another one. This is the perfect time to do a cumulative review. Try some of these hands-on review ideas:
- Build models
- Create dioramas
- Review with food! Make cell cakes, cookie maps, edible rocks, etc.
- Put on a “show-and-tell” presentation for friends and relatives
Even when we were homeschooling year round, we took about six weeks off for a summer break. Whether you’re year-round schoolers or are looking forward to summer break, how do you like to celebrate and/or wrap-up your school year?
updated from an article originally published May 13, 2014