Ending the School Year!

Another year of home education is coming to an end for the many families that follow a traditional school calendar. Before we turn our complete attention to the fun and freedom of summer, take a moment to consider how to successfully end your homeschool year.

Here are 5 ideas that might be helpful…

Finish Well: As the end of the year approaches, it is often tempting to put aside final grades, assessments or testing for a later date. The idea of waiting for a rainy summer day to focus on these unpleasant tasks is quite appealing to a weary mom. But the lure of vacation days pushes all thoughts of “wrap-up” tasks to a dark obscure corner…and then suddenly the vacation is over. Don’t procrastinate. Go ahead and schedule a time to finish grading any outstanding work, file papers for review, schedule assessments/testing, log all curriculum used for that year, etc. Make it a family affair by giving children tasks that suit their age and ability. With all hands-on deck, fun music in the background and a promise of a fun snack or take-out meal at the end – your final tasks can be completed in record time. Then mom can relax knowing all is taken care of and children learn (by example) what it means to finish the work at hand.

Individual Student Reviews: We all need encouragement and a pat on the back when tackling a difficult job. We want to feel that our work matters…that someone is proud of the effort exerted and battles fought. Kids are no different. They want (and need) to know that mom and/or dad are proud of their accomplishments as the year comes to a close. While we are typically providing feedback throughout the school days, try scheduling individual student reviews with your children at years end. Make it fun. Point out all the skills they have learned, old abilities that have been enhanced and/or developed and provide reassurance in the areas that were difficult. The “reviews” do not need to be long – maybe 15 minutes of one-on-one time to provide words that help and encourage. This can be a truly joyful experience for parents and students alike! A great way to end one year and set the tone for the next.

Celebrate! Take/make the time to truly celebrate together. Go out to dinner at a favorite restaurant. Head to the park with a special picnic for leisurely afternoon together. Visit the local zoo and take in all the favorite exhibits and foods. Let the kids have input into the details of the day. If your children are older, let them take the lead in scheduling and prepping for the adventure. The celebration does not have to be expensive or demanding… the main goal is to reward hard work for the year and rejoice together as a family!

Reading for Summer! A break from the daily study schedule is a good thing for everyone, but moms do not want to see any student lose ground on their reading skills as the summer months fly by. Let the vacation days be a time of pursuing “favorite” reading. What interests do your kiddos have that may not be completely explored in the day to day of the school year? Is there a hobby that they would like to pursue and want to read more about? What about a time in history that really interests them? Check out your local library and let the joy of reading instruct the summer. Come up with an informal “plan” and encourage time spent with a friendly book!

For Moms: You need a well-earned break…a time to thoughtfully step back and rest from the demands of homeschooling. We all love our kids, and we love directing their education – but it can be a bit overwhelming at times. It is okay to recognize this, in fact…it is vital that we take note of our own feelings and affect change when needed. Make time during this break to spend extra moments in the Word. Take your joys and sorrows to the Lord in prayer and then let go of the past. Turn your attention from what was not completed in the last school year and focus on all the possibilities that await you in the fall. Rest your mind, body, and spirit in the warm and sunny days of summer. Enjoy the season!