It seems like just last week you were writing up those lesson plans for the fall, planning a few field trips, organizing the bookshelves, and suddenly . . . the year has gone by! Where did the time go?
Whether you’re raring to go for another few months, or you are dragging to that end-of-year finish line, here are a few tips to help you confidently close out this year’s adventures.
1. To finish strong, you have to, well—finish.
Whether you have an official “last day of school” or you continue with studies year-round, you might find it helpful to have a time to transition from one school year to the next, for recordkeeping purposes. Here are some things you might want to do as part of that:
- Wrap up those last-minute studies. Finish up final chapters, lessons, projects, or exams. Document any final grading (for more on grading, check out this article). Need a place to log it all? Pick up your copy of My Homeschool Planner.
- See to any end-of-year evaluations, tests, or other paperwork to be turned in.
- Celebrate the end of the year with a traditional “We’re done!” activity or treat—or start a new tradition! For our family, our local group’s end-of-year celebration (recital and awards ceremony with a show-and-tell-style open house) and their annual summer picnic at a local park both served to signal the close of a school year. For others, year-end activities could range from a celebratory milkshake to a family adventure or a s’mores bonfire made of school papers you don’t need to keep!
Okay, keeping it real here: Maybe you haven’t quite finished yet, and just reading this article makes you hyperventilate. Don’t panic! Take a deep breath and take some encouragement from The Teaching Home’s newsletter on finishing strong.
Maybe you had great plans at the start of the year, and you aren’t sure why you aren’t where you wanted to be in your school year—check out this article I wrote about when life broadsides your homeschool.
(And if you need help with these last-minute details, I do offer personal consultation.)
2. Organize (or at least gather) your records.
Do you have all the completed assignments—or a representative sample—in one place? What about art projects, workbook pages, poems, reading lists, lesson plans—whatever you deem important?
- You might scan anything you want to keep for posterity, so you have a digital record.
- Consider creating a portfolio of work from the year (the special stuff). Digital book printers can help you produce a lovely keepsake yearbook of scanned writing, work samples, artwork, projects, field trip or activity photos, recital programs, and quotes or thoughts from the year, scrapbook-style.
- Is the artwork multiplying like bunnies? Check out this recent blog post, entitled “What to Do with Your Child’s Artwork.”
Not sure what to keep? This article will guide you through the process, and includes a detailed list for you.
3. Evaluate how the year went.
Are you still traveling in the direction you intended? Is this where you expected to be? If not, was it a deliberate shift or was it a missed turn? Are you happy with where you find yourself today?
Our Lessons Learned self-assessment tool poses some questions to ask yourself about your homeschool as you evaluate your family’s journey this year.
4. Plan a few summer activities.
Maybe you want to take a break from your homeschool routine, but you’d like the children to continue using skills they have been learning.
Or perhaps you homeschool year-around, but you hope to relax a bit during the summer months while still maintaining an atmosphere of learning. Here are a few ideas to kick-start your summer:
- “Summertime, and the Learnin’ is Easy” (coming soon to this blog)
- “School’s Out—Now What?” Part 1
- Enjoy reading together—“Read Aloud to Build Skills and Relationships”
Or maybe you just want to play a little . . . .
It’s okay to take a little breather and to enjoy just being a family. A break can energize everyone to start afresh.
- “Aaand—We’re Off!”—summer adventure and travel
What are your favorite strategies for finishing strong?
Next up: Tips for a strong start in your new school year! (coming soon)
Adapted from a newsletter by this author, previously published at HSLDA.org