You are almost at the end of your homeschool year! Are you ready to be done?! Don’t make the same mistake I have made many times of slowly fizzling out and crawling to the finish line. When we end our school year this way, it leaves a sour memory of our year and sets the tone for the next school year. It is worth your time and effort to finish your school year well. Here are some suggestions on how to end your school year positively.
Video: How To End Your Homeschool Year Positively
#1 Pick a Last Day and Stick to It!
All the kids want to know…WHEN IS OUR LAST DAY?! It can be tempting at the end of the homeschool year to get lazy in counting days. Maybe you are doing a half day here and a half day there, putting them together and not really sure when you are going to be finished. It’s ok to be flexible in how you count your days, but kids (and adults) are motivated by an end date!
In the past I have made the mistake of not having a definite end date. I did this several years in a row until I realized that it caused my kids to lose their drive to work and learn. When I set an end date, they are more enthusiastic. They work harder because they know the end is in sight!
#2 Review and Remember Your Year
Take time at the end of your year to review and remember.
Review what your kids have learned. Look back at what new skills they have learned this year. Have they mastered their multiplication facts? Started reading chapter books? Learned to type? Studied the Middle Ages and Renaissance? Help them see how far they have come. Let them take pride in their accomplishments.
Remember your experiences together. This can be as simple as a conversation around the dinner table. What field trips did you take? Did you try any interesting science experiments? What classes did you take with your homeschool co-op? What day stands out in your mind as unique or fun?
One of the best ways to review and remember is to MAKE A HOMESCHOOL PORTFOLIO. In our homeschool portfolio we have a cover page that summarizes our progress in each subject. We include samples from each subject covered, one from the beginning of the year and one from the end. We insert pamphlets and programs from performances and field trips we have attended in the notebook sleeves. Our kids love looking through their portfolios at the end of the year.
I usually pick a day near our last day to sit down with each child individually. During this time we work together to assemble their portfolio. Sometimes when we start I worry thinking, “Did we really do all that much this year?!”
But then as we talk about…
- favorite books they have read
- new skills they mastered in math
- their favorite topic in science
- projects they made for co-op
- field trips we took
- hobbies they learned
- performances we saw
….it all comes back to us and we both realize that we really did cover a lot! When we write it all down and compile it in a notebook to show others, my children’s faces light up with pride in their accomplishments!
If you have year where you wonder if you really did all that much, putting together a portfolio will give you confidence when you see that you really covered more than you realize!
#3 Celebrate Your Accomplishments!
Important accomplishments deserve special celebrations. Do you want your kids to start their next school year with a positive attitude? Then end the school year on a positive note!
Celebrating your school year doesn’t have to be costly or take a ton of planning. It can be very simple. It just needs to be something different from the ordinary, something that says, “We have made it to the end together!” Here are some ideas.
- Go out for breakfast your last morning or for ice cream in the afternoon.
- Camp out overnight in the back yard with a campfire and smores.
- Take a day trip somewhere special.
- Take a picture of your last day.
Whatever you do, plan to do something that closes the chapter on that season of the year so you can decisively move on to summer.
#4 Take a Complete Break
This step is very important. When your homeschool year ends, take a complete break. Step away and do not think about homeschooling at all! Do other things.
Enjoy family vacations or reunions, overnight camps, VBS… whatever it is your family does in summer. I like to take advantage of some of my summers to catch up on house projects, organize closets, and update family pictures. I also like summers for spending time individually with my kids working on projects that we don’t always have time for during the school year.
Taking a break will help you avoid burn out. For that reason alone, you should make it a priority. Even if you do school year round, taking a complete break at some point in your year is so beneficial.
Stepping away will help you be able to come back in the fall refreshed and ready to get back to your regular homeschool routine. I always love the freedom of our summer break, but then after about two months of it, I start missing the rhythm and predictability of our regular school routine.
Now of course, just because we close the books doesn’t mean that all learning stops. Our kids are always learning. As homeschoolers, it is sometimes difficult to determine where school and life begins and end. They kind of mesh together.
Truthfully, I think that our kids learn almost as much or more during summer as they do during the school year. It’s just a different kind of learning. They may learn to swim or ride a bike. Maybe they will meet new friends and learn new skills at an overnight camp. Summer is a great time to pursue interests and learn life skills. Our kids tend to get pretty creative during summer because of having more free time. Maybe they will learn how to play a new sport, sew, bake, build a tree house, catch a fish. Additionally, our kids probably read just as much during summer as well because they have more time and they love to read.
Summer is a time to let their minds have enough rest and free time to be curious and wonder. Often after our break has begun I hear questions like these.
“Will you help me with this sewing project I found on Pinterest?”
“Can we build a fort in the back yard?”
“How can I make money selling firewood/lemonade/baked goods this summer?”
Whether the kids realize it or not, some of their best learning starts when summer break begins! (Shh, don’t tell them!) Let them learn the things that interest them without the pressure of counting days or completing checklists.
If you are the end of your school year, it is worth the time and effort to finish well. I hope these suggestions for how to end your homeschool year positively can help you close out your year and jump start you into summer!
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!