Finishing Your School Year Successfully
The time comes when the school year must end and the next begin.
Whether you school on a nine-month, year-round, or quarterly schedule, there are items that all administrators must do to finalize the school year.
If you are winding up your home school year, may these ABC’s of Finalizing Your School Year guide you to a successful finish.
ABC’s to a Successful Finish
A — Assess your school year. Note your children’s accomplishments. Accept what you did not accomplish and adjust plans for the following year accordingly.
B — Brainstorm ideas for the following year.
Broaden your vision by attending homeschooling conferences, teacher’s conferences, writer’s conferences, and support group workshops.
C —Clarify your goals for each child for the next year.
Create new folders for each and make comments to remind yourself of why you chose those goals. Those goals can be changed later, but your comments will help you as you plan for the next year.
D — Dedicate a small portion of each day during your school break to plan for the next year so that you will not be overwhelmed as the new year draws closer. This time should be devoted to research curricula, gather needed materials, make plans for field trips, and develop lesson plans.
E — Enjoy your school break by exploring the environment with your children. Engage in meaningful activities that will peak children’s curiosities and enrich their learning experiences.
F — Finalize and fax or mail required forms with your state’s Department of Non-public Instruction. Keep your own file copies of these forms for future reference.
G — Gift graduates.
If your own child is graduating, host a great graduation reception.
H — Have a holiday and relax. Take some much-needed time for yourself.
I — Invest in storage containers for children’s assignments that you wish to keep.
J — Join online homeschooling groups/blogs to stay encouraged.
K — Keep a journal of summer activities
L — Lobby legislators during your break from teaching. Let them know of any concerns you have concerning home school legislation.
M — Make final reports of grades for the year.
Even if you do not issue official report cards, your children still need to have that feeling of having passed to the next level. Give a report card, certificate, or statement of completion for the school year.
N — Notify family members and acquaintances of school year accomplishments, graduation dates, or other pertinent information you wish to share.
Nominate your children for scholarships to academic camps that may be of benefit to them.
O — Own up to any failures during the past year. Make a commitment to yourself to avoid those failures next year.
P — Persevere to the end. Prevent burnout but stay productive.
Praise progress and promise something special when all lessons have been completed. Follow through with that promise.
Q — Quiz your children. Develop a questionnaire that allows your children to critique their school year. Make it simple. There are no right or wrong answers. Let your children be honest with you.
What did they like most about the school year?
What was their favorite lesson/project?
What did they find most difficult?
What would they change if they could?
Ask a variety of simple questions. Use the answers to critique your teaching style versus their learning styles. You may be surprised at their answers. What may have been most difficult for you may have been most enjoyable for them.
R — Revise your schedule. Don’t just fill in lessons to fill up time.
If your children are through with lessons for the year in a certain subject, then utilize that time for completing your records, putting away unnecessary resources, and finishing other end of year projects.
Check registration due dates for graduates furthering their education through college or vocational schools.
S — Smile a lot. Don’t allow yourself to get stressed out with end of year tests or to start rushing through lessons to get done by a designated date. If your projected end date needs to be adjusted, do so.
Don’t let pressures ruin your testimony before your children. Be as excited about ending as you are about beginning. Success is not measured merely by pages completed.
T — Transcripts should be completed. This is an important record of each student’s accomplishments especially during the high school years.
U — Unexpected interruptions seem to be more frequent during this time of year. Plan your response before they happen.
Some interruptions may be valuable opportunities, but weigh each carefully before you change your schedule. Are they worth extending your school year?
V — Vary your teaching style. As subjects taper off, use the extra time to add variety to the rest of your lesson plans.
W — Welcome the school/summer break with a well-deserved end-of-year party.
X — Exalt your children for jobs well-done. Recognize achievements and victories from the school year. It is okay to give your child a certificate of completion, a certificate of victory over some difficulty they experienced, or a certificate of accomplishment such as learning cursive.
Y — Yesterday is gone. It is in the yearbook of life. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but learn from it. What do you wish to do better next year? Write it in a simple statement and place it on the first page of next year’s school planner.
Z — Zip up the pencil cases and notebooks and enjoy time away from the kitchen table.
Zoom to the zoo. Zoom to the beach or to any other of your favorite getaways.
I hope these ABC’s for finalizing your school year have been helpful.
What other activities are necessary to finalize your school year?
Does your family have a special end of year activity?