With the homeschool year coming to an end, here are seven things you can do to wrap up the year successfully.
1. Have your child complete a student-selected project
We know that projects can be time-consuming and messy. We also know that kids love and remember their projects for years and years. Allowing your student to create a project based on an area of interest is a great way to wrap up the year. It doesn’t need to be academic, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be on a topic learned during the year.
We recommend having your student complete a project that involves both writing (a good way to sneak in some academics) and visuals. Some options could be a tri-fold poster or a digital-media presentation (PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi, etc.).
Be sure to give your child the opportunity to share his/her project with friends and family members, or through a co-op/homeschool program. It gives them a chance to receive some feedback and have the opportunity to practice some “public” speaking.
2. Complete an end-of-the-year assessment
This might not be the most exciting of ways to end the year, but it’s a very important one. The end of the year is the perfect time to have your child complete assessments. You want to evaluate what your child knows and what he/she still needs to learn. Assessments provided at the end of a curriculum will indicate if your child has reached independent mastery of the material. It’s important that you assess what your child knows without your help. If your child still needs some support through the material, that indicates that the content is on the child’s instructional level.
Assessments don’t have to be a stressful experience. If you have been giving regular assessments throughout your school year, this will be a routine experience for the child. If you haven’t done the best job checking in through assessments, consider making this a goal for the next school year. The more familiar your child is with a variety of assessment types (summative, formative, standardized, etc.), the more comfortable they will be when encountering assessments in the future. Use the results of your assessment to plan for the next school year.
3. Review Curriculum
After assessing your child in the key academic areas, take a close look at the curriculum you are using. Determine which category your child fits into for each core subject:
- If your child did well on the assessment and the curriculum is a good fit for him/her, order the next level in the curriculum.
- If your child did well on the assessment but the curriculum isn’t a great match (maybe it didn’t match well with your child’s learning style, it moved too slowly, there was too much/too little instruction), order the next level in a different curriculum. Do your research before ordering to try to get the best possible fit.
- If your child did not do well on the assessment, but you and your child like the curriculum, consider repeating the same curriculum at the same level. This will give your child a chance to move quickly through the curriculum and build confidence, while reviewing key skills.
- If your child did not do well on the assessment and you or your child did not like the curriculum, consider repeating the same content using a different curriculum. Consider the match between student and curriculum, as well as if you are delivering the curriculum as intended.
As you review curriculum, think about what you may want to add in or take away in the next grade level. For example, your second grader may want to try cursive in third grade but may no longer need a structured phonics program. You may want to add in or take away programs involving keyboarding, foreign language, vocabulary development, art, logic, etc. It’s fun to do a little something “different” every year so that things seem fresh and new for both you and your kiddo. For more tips on choosing curriculum, check out this blog post (applies to regular classroom teachers as well as homeschoolers).
4. Survey your kid/s
As you get to the end of the year, it’s important to ask your kids what they loved, tolerated, and couldn’t stand during the current school year. What was their favorite topic to learn about in math? What topic gave them the most trouble? What was the best book you read to them? What was the best book they read on their own? What was their favorite field trip? Favorite project? Did they enjoy the schedule? If so, what they did like about it? If not, what would they suggest for next year? If they could change one piece of curriculum, which would it be? Which topic do they wish they had learned about?
Surveying your kid will give you some great ideas for the following year and really make your child feel like he/she has some ownership over their schooling.
5. Plan some summer FUN
Summer is a time to relax, celebrate, and make some memories. Before school is “out,” sit down with your kids and brainstorm some activities they’d like to do this summer. Try to think of things that can be done at home, as well as activities that can be done in the community. Cheap or free are ideal! Check out your local library to see what types of summer reading programs they are offering. If your kids are older, see if you can find a summer “job” for them to do (mother’s helper, yard work, babysitting, or an official job if they are old enough).
If you will be taking a vacation, have your kids help with the planning and budgeting. If you plan to drive, we have a fun Road Trip packet to keep school-aged kids occupied along the way.
Some people prefer to homeschool all year long. If this describes you, think about what you can do in the summer to take advantage of the nice weather (we hope it’s nice where you are) and that summer vibe. Maybe some sidewalk chalk during math time or some free reading time at the neighborhood park. There are lots of great ideas on Pinterest (just search “outdoor homeschooling”).
6. Create a list of goals for next year
Take an evening (or afternoon, or 5 minutes in the pantry – whatever time you can get) and think about what YOU want to do differently next year as a homeschool teacher. Here are some questions to consider:
- Did you have enough time to get through everything you wanted to this year? Why or why not?
- Did unexpected life events (ill relatives, sickness, last-minute trips) derail your homeschool routine for a few days (or a few weeks)? Were you able to get back on track, or do you want to add in more time next year to account for these types of occurrences?
- How was your schedule this year? Would you rather have a more rigid, or more relaxed schedule next year?
- If you have multiple kids, do you feel like you had enough one-on-one time with each child to do schoolwork?
- Did you and your kids ENJOY homeschooling this year? Which parts were fun? Which parts were a struggle? How can you add more fun to your homeschool days?
Start a homeschool tradition. At the end of every homeschool year, do something fun as a family. Maybe cook a special meal or go out to a fun restaurant. You could also put together a slideshow or memory book about your school year that you can share during this special time. Have a “graduation” at your home or through your co-op where you present each kid with a certificate of grade completion.
Do something every year that will mark the occasion and that your child will look forward to. Don’t forget to celebrate yourself too! Homeschooling is HARD, and being a parent and a parent-teacher is no joke. Do something nice for yourself! You have earned it!
Do you have an idea for a great way to wrap up the homeschool year? We’d love to hear it in the comments!