How does a homeschool mom truly know when the year is done? Is it when all the boxes are checked? Is it after the last chapter of the book? What about if you didn’t use a set curriculum or if you skipped around in a resource?
Ending the year well is as important (if not more so) than beginning the year.
Ending the year isn’t just to celebrate accomplishments or give permission to “break.”
Ending the year is important because it honors the need to reflect.
Knowing when to assign closure is simply a matter of deciding to do it. I don’t believe you have to finish the last chapter of the math book in order to earn the right to have closure on the year. You can go ahead and continue in the same read aloud and assign new writing prompts if that’s what your summer needs to look like.
How you experience closure to your year will look as unique as your homeschool, but here are some suggestions to help foster affirmation that you’ve truly finished the year.
- Clear out all the resources that you’ve finished (or the ones that you decided not to finish)
- Sell anything that you know you won’t use again
- File all papers, workbooks, and art projects
- Take down charts or other wall hangings that went along with your year that are no longer relevant
- Move furniture – get creative with your space, see it in a new light
- Reorganize your bookcase and purge anything that is no longer necessary
Chances are you don’t need to do all of these things in order to feel a sense of closure come over you.
I also recommend that you involve your children in this process. Ask them questions about which books they remember most, what project took the most time, which field trip would they like to do again/or not do again, etc. Notice I don’t ask questions about “what did you like?” Because liking something doesn’t spark a memory. If you can ask them about a simple neutral detail, then you are more likely to get them talking about it on their own and their opinion will naturally flow from there.
Once this conversation is active and everyone is engaged in reflecting on the past year – you’ve accomplished your goal of having closure! Now you can transition into your expectations for the summer: this is when I lay out the plan for our family to continue with our history read alouds and math work through the summer (3 days per week). And my kids were fine with that.
To wrap up, I shared:
- What I liked most about the past year.
- What was the hardest part for me over the year.
- How much I enjoyed being with them – giving specifics for each child.
- And I ended with a little teaser about what our next year’s science topic is going to be.
This whole conversation happened over a normal lunch. I didn’t prepare to celebrate extravagantly. Actually, I think sometimes when I try to celebrate an important occasion and I take them out of the house, it self-sabotaging because I lose their attention. So don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to make the end of the year closure an “experience.”
Just clean up, reflect, and move on.
You’ll be happy you did.
This is the second post in the spring homeschool planning series. To read the first post, click here.