You’ve almost made it to the end of the homeschool year! Pat yourself on the back. But before you can throw the routines, books, and glue sticks out the window for the school year, here are some items that you will want to check off your list. Why, you ask? By keeping up with these organization and paperwork tasks, you’ll keep yourself on track and be able to start the next school year strong. So, finish strong and be ready to start again in a few months. Ready? Here’s everything you need to know about ending the homeschool year well.
How Do You Know When the Homeschool Year Is Over?
The first step to homeschooling is always knowing your state laws. Some states will give you a certain number of days that you need to homeschool. Other states will have a more hands-off approach. So, sometimes your state will let you know when a homeschool year is complete by finishing 180 days, for example.
If you don’t have legal guidelines to follow, then it’s up to you to determine this. Here are some common ways that homeschool families know when the homeschool year is “over.”
- complete 180 days
- finish the math book
- follow the local school calendar
- school year-round, so it’s really never “over”
- follow a 6 weeks on, one week off schedule all year, or something to that effect
There is usually no hard and fast rule you have to follow. You don’t even have to finish the textbook if you don’t want to! Sometimes you just know when you need to close out the year and take a break.
Do You Have to Do End Of Year Testing?
Once again, always check your state law for the answer to this question. I live in a state (Pennsylvania) with fairly stringent regulations compared to other states and our families have to test in grades 3, 5, and 8.
If the standardized testing is up to you as the parent, then here are some pros and cons with having your kids complete end of year testing.
- they get used to the format of standardized tests
- you can see how they’re doing
- use the results to make plans for next year (weaknesses/strengths)
- encourages you to see that you’re not ruining them!
- great for the portfolio as a record of progress
- timed tests can be stressful
- your kids might not be used to testing formats
- takes time from your normal learning
- costs money
- might not accurately reflect their progress this year
Whether or not you choose to have your child complete standardized testing might be up to you. But it’s still a great idea to discuss the year and evaluate where you’ve both seen growth. Encourage your child about the areas where they have done well this year. Talk about the challenges and goals for the future.
Part of the end of the year evaluation you might personally do with each of your kids, it’s a great time to ask them which curriculum and resources have worked well and which ones are not their favorite. You likely already know their opinions about this, but it’s still a good idea to take stock before planning for next year.
If your kids are in high school, definitely add all the details and final grades from this year’s courses onto their transcript. Check out our transcript sample and editable transcript template to make the job simple.
Should You Create a Portfolio?
Okay, I sound like a broken record by now, but check with the homeschool law to determine if you need to create a portfolio to satisfy legal requirements. Again, in our highly regulated state of Pennsylvania, we do need to create portfolios.
Even if it’s not required, you still might want to make one so that you have a paper trail of the learning from the year, plus it can make a nice keepsake.
Even if you choose not to create an official homeschool portfolio, you could still make a memory collage. Encourage your kids to pick out the best work from the year and find a way to display it or keep it.
Learn all about the parts of the portfolio, what you might include, and download some portfolio pack pages to get started.
End of the School Year Activities
I really love the idea of an End of the Year Homeschool Showcase. Since the Sonlight blog did a wonderful job explaining the concept and showing pictures, make sure you check it out! In a nutshell, it gives your kids an opportunity to share the highlights of their homeschool year, work, projects, books, and more with friends and family. It also will encourage you as the homeschool mom that you really did accomplish much this year, even when you think the year was less than stellar.
Plan a family trip to celebrate the end of the school year! This doesn’t have to be a huge family vacation. It could be a day at a water park, or maybe a family hike. How about dinner out? Whatever is fun for your family is a great idea.
Having your kids fill out an “all about me” or “all about my year” printable is a fun way to summarize their year in a snapshot. It also provides a great item to include in a portfolio or homeschool scrapbook.
Do I Have To Plan for Next Year Already?
I know you’re ready to head to the beach or have some extra free time now that you’re not homeschooling every day, but not so fast! It will make the start of your new homeschool year so much more peaceful and organized if you take just a little bit of time and make a plan for next year before putting everything away for the summer.
I’ve been homeschooling since 2008 and something I learned early on is that if I can make my next year’s homeschool plan as soon as we’re wrapping up this current year, I can actually enjoy my summer break. The plan is made. The curriculum is purchased. Everything is organized and ready to go. Now I can relax, knowing that whenever we’re ready to start our new year, I don’t have to do a thing!
If you want to learn my minimal planning approach that literally takes me less than an hour, then join us in Yearly Lesson Planning in Less Than One Hour.
Want More Help Every Month of the Homeschool Year?
I created the Homeschool Mom Collective to help moms just like you be able to stay on track with their homeschools all year long. Even if you’re taking a summer break, there are things you can do in your home to set yourself up for more peace, confidence, and productivity once you start homeschooling again in the fall.
So join the Homeschool Mom Collective, where we answer the question: “What should I be doing right now in my homeschool?” It’s like having a private homeschool consultant ready to answer your questions all year long.