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June 2017 Subscribe to the Toddlers to Tweens newsletter >>

Finishing Your Homeschool Year

(or: Where Did the Year Go Already?)

by Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens Consultant

Vicki Bentley
Vicki Bentley

It seems just last week that you were writing up those lesson plans for the fall, planning a few field trips, organizing the bookshelves, and … whoa! Where did the year go?

Here are a few tips to help you confidently close out this year’s adventures.

1. Collect/organize the paperwork. Do you have all the completed assignments in one place? 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). Sites such as Shutterfly will print a lovely keepsake book of scanned writing, work samples, artwork, projects, field trip or activity photos, recital programs, and quotes or thoughts from the year, scrapbook-style. You can photograph the original documents and “gift” them to grandma while using the digital files for your book.

Not sure what to keep? Our newsletter entitled “What Records Should You Keep?” will guide you through the process, and “Records to Keep: Souvenirs of the Journey” includes a detailed list for you.

I chose to keep most of the little notes and cards my children gave me to thank me for being their mom and for teaching them at home. They proved to be priceless encouragement when I felt weary in well-doing, travel-worn in the journey.

2. Finish any final grading or assessment. If applicable, annotate any grades or scores in a cumulative file or transcript. If you aren’t sure how to assess your students’ work, or you’d like a template for recordkeeping, check out the resources in our article “To Grade or Not to Grade.”

If your state requires end-of-year testing, or you’d just like to assess your students’ progress for your own knowledge, you’ll find all the key information in “Testing Basics.”

3. Evaluate how things went this year. Are you still traveling in the direction you intended? Is this where you expected to be? If not, was this a deliberate shift or 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. If you’re ready, jump straight into planning for next year. Start with our article “Is It Really Time to Plan for Next Year Already?” or visit the curriculum and lesson planning sections at our Toddlers to Tweens webpages.

5. And if you need a breather: Many families find that taking some time in the summer to organize their homes for fall can energize their homeschooling efforts! Or maybe you’ll be taking a little road trip—check out, “Aaand … We’re Off!” Staying home? Well, “Summertime, and the Learnin’ is Easy” is chock-full of ideas for laid-back summer learning.

Maybe you haven’t quite finished yet, and 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 “When Life Broadsides Your Homeschool.”

And if you need help with last-minute details, HSLDA members can call our education consultants for practical guidance. (Not a member? Join today!)

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, “The definition of finishing well will surely vary by household; for us, finishing well means we’ve made not only academic progress, but more importantly, spiritual progress and character development. A wise friend once challenged: What good does it do for our children to make it into Harvard but not into Heaven?

“I must ask God to continually renew in us His vision for our family. Working in my own power is so overwhelming, but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! ‘We can make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps.’ (Proverbs 16:9)”


School’s Out—Now What? (Part 1)

School’s Out—Now What? (Part 2)

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