For most school kids, the end of the school year is a big, exciting event: one day in June there’s school and the next day there’s not. For homeschool kids, it’s a bit different. Different subjects tend to wrap up at different times during the year. As a kid, I usually finished most of my school sometime in May; Saxon Math always took us into June, but we never did school until the very end of the month.
Right now, Sunshine is wrapping up her school year. She finished her religion book first, so I’ve had her go back through the workbook to do a few pages we missed during the year. She finished her spelling book next. Last week, she read her last little reader, so again, I’m having her read the last unit of readers as review. Saxon Math was finished at the end of April, which amazed me slightly, so we’re already two weeks into Grade 2 Math.
We actually won’t be taking a break for the summer. When I noticed that Sunshine was almost done Math for the year, I sat down to talk with my husband about it. I figured we could (a) take a four-month long summer break, (b) find other math materials to supplement her learning over the summer, or (c) just start on Grade 2 math. My husband’s comment (from his years as a teacher) was that September is usually spent reminding the kids what they knew before summer vacation, and he didn’t want her to take a big long break. So I ordered Grade 2 Math.
For reading and writing, I plan to have Sunshine write letters to friends and family and to work on reading some of the leveled readers we’ve gotten her. We’re also going to join the library’s summer reading club (which brings back memories from my own childhood… one year I got all the prizes from the club—three times). For science, we’re jumping into Earth & Space from Bright Ideas Press.
That’s not to say we don’t have some fun planned for the summer. I also went through the summer programs offered by the city and signed the girls up for some. They’re going to continue their dance classes for June and July. Then they’ll do a Bike Safety Camp and an Arts Camp together, as well as swim lessons (once our outdoor pool opens). And Sunshine is going to do a Theatre Camp, since she had so much fun doing that for Spring Break.
We also joined a year-end homeschool retreat this weekend on the Island. It was a fun way to reconnect with some of the homeschoolers whom we started the year out with and to talk with other parents about the past year and what we’re doing next year. We had a potluck meal together at a local church, sang some praise and worship songs, let the kids watch a VeggieTales movie, and then attempted to tuck them into the tents so that we adults could play some board games together. In the morning, we went to Mass, shared a breakfast, and then packed up.
When I was homeschooling, we’d usually get together with another family to celebrate the end of year. Usually we went to a local park for a picnic and some hiking or canoeing. It was a great excuse to hang out together and celebrate the past school year (even if we were still just working on Math or had long since wrapped up doing any actual schoolwork).
Are you planning to homeschool year-round or do you take a break for the summer months? How do you celebrate the end of the homeschool year?