You can almost feel it in the air, can’t you? It’s almost summer time which means we are almost done with this school year. Some of us are more relaxed in our daily routines, but I still love these last day of school traditions for homeschoolers. It’s a fun way to mark the seasonal transition to summer. (I tried schooling year round once, but didn’t love it).
Last Day of School Traditions for Homeschoolers
I have tried many different schedules and routines over the years but one thing has been consistently true – by April I am checked out and ready to be done. Partly, I think this is induced by the spring air and being antsy to be outside more. We are also usually finished with a big portion of our studies by then, so our routine has disintegrated into much more free time – and no one is complaining about that!
The last day of school traditions for homeschoolers can be marked in a myriad of ways. In truth, our tradition is more just celebrating the occasion – it rarely looks the same from year to year. My social media feed is usually filled with homeschool friends celebrating the last day of school or completing an end of year assessment in May. It’s always so fun to see how others mark this occasion. Here are several ideas for celebrating the last day of school if you’re a homeschooler.
End of Year Assessment for Homeschoolers
One question I often get is whether or not homeschools have to take the end-of-year testing. Is there any formal process to make sure homeschoolers are learning anything? This depends on your state and what the homeschooling requirements are there. I live in Colorado and students must be tested at certain grade levels with the state’s standardized testing. Other states might stipulate standardized testing for homeschoolers is voluntary.
Whether or not you are required to participate in formal testing, it’s always a good idea to have an end-of-year assessment. This is a fun way for the kids to see all the progress they’ve made in the school year. It’s also validation for you, dear mama, that you are doing the thing! I usually use the testing and assessment at the end of the year as the starting point of our last day of school traditions.
If you’re not participating in testing or formal assessment, here are some more ways you can gauge your progress over the school year.
- Samples of work. My kids love to be reminded about how much better they are doing and how much more they know at the end of the year. We use Getty-Dubay handwriting books and there is a pre-assessment and end-of-year assessment in each book. The kids love to see how much better their handwriting is after a year of practice. They also like to look back at the math from the beginning of the year. There is usually at least one lesson that they struggled to understand. When they see it at the end of the year, they remember that struggle and get a real sense of pride that it would be easy for them now on the last day of school.
- Pile O’ Books. You’ve probably seen homeschoolers on Instagram celebrating their last day of school with each kid sitting in a pile of books they read over the year. I’ve never personally done this as most of our books come from the library but every year I get jealous when I see others doing this. How fun to look back at each book and remember how it carried you away or the lessons you learned from it.
- Review a Timeline. If you use Build Your Library or another Charlotte Mason-inspired curriculum, you might have a timeline of historical figures and events. This can also be fun to look through and ask questions about. It’s always interesting to me what connections the kids make between historical events and the political events of today.
- Games. Play educational games that review concepts your kids learned this year. There are games for everything – including history, math and science.
Fun Ideas for celebrating the Last Day of School for Homeschoolers
There are school or education based ideas for the last day of school, but there is also nothing wrong with making at just a completely fun day. I’m kind but also a bit petty 😉 and it brings me satisfaction to get one last day of play in at the park or a visit to the museum before public schoolers are free for the summer. I love having those amenities to ourselves or with a small group of other secular homeschoolers.
Fun ideas to build last day of school traditions for homeschoolers might include these:
- Take a “Bucket List” Field Trip. Is there some more expensive or logistically challenging field trip option you’ve been putting off? Plan this for the last day of school and have a big hurrah!
- Food and Snacks. If your family is like mine, then we can always get excited about party food and snacks. If you want to make this a bit more educational, try creating a buffet of food from all the places you learned about this year. You could also try a new restaurant or food truck in your area. This year, we are finishing up with a tour of Asia so one of our end-of-the school year activities will be visiting a local Vietnamese restaurant.
- Spend the Day Outside. When we lived in South Dakota, my absolute favorite thing to do was sit by the creek in the city park with our best friends. The kids would play and build dams and skip rocks and sparkle in the sunshine. A carefree day outside is the perfect way to kick off your summer!
- Visit a nursing home. This will take a little bit of planning and organization, but nursing home residents would love to see your children. You could plan a history or science fair and display it or give presentations at the nursing home. This population is often forgotten and they generally love having kids around. Your kids will also learn some interesting stories and local history.
- Have a Party! My last day of school is spent in party mode. It kind of combines the above ideas of experiences and food. (What’s not to love about that?) Print off some party decorations. Invite your other homeschooling friends. Play games. Eat snacks. Give out End of the Year Certificates. Don’t forget to give yourself a Teacher of the Year certificate and make sure you frame it!
You’ve worked hard and you deserve to celebrate a bit! Keep it as low-key or structured as you like, but take the time to recognize all the progress you have made and the memories you have shared with your kids over the last year. Have fun with these last day of school traditions for homeschoolers and have a great summer. You ARE homeschool teacher of the year – don’t forget it!