by Stephenie McBride
As we inch our way to this year’s finish line, I am gearing up to start my end-of-the-year activities. This is a busy time of year, and I am more than ready from a break from “official” schooling. And there is something so satisfying about putting away the finished books and filing this year’s sample papers.
Once-a-Year Organizing for Finishing Well
Even if you school all year long or follow a different schedule than we do, some once-a-year organizing can help keep your homeschooling on track. While I currently end my year in May, in the past we schooled all year long. I still picked a couple of weeks a year to do some more intense organizing than I did during the rest of the year.
Here are some of the tasks that help make for an organized end-of-the-year homeschool:
1. Take some measurements. Think of these as a snapshot of your child’s progress. These take various forms for us. When my children were young, I had them write their names in either printing or cursive, had them do a sheet of math problems or two, made a checklist of the Dolch words they could read, and did an easy reading-level test. As they are getting older, the last weeks of school I give them a writing project that I file, keep the final book tests, and add a representative sample of various assignments completed in the last month of school.
2. Sort and file. I keep most of my kids’ papers, assignments, and workbooks on a shelf as they are completed during the school year. At the end of the year, I take some time to sort them by subject and then pick a few representative samples. I throw the rest out. Each child has a plastic tub, and I file their papers by year into each individual tub. Not only could I prove that we really did do school if that were ever in question, but it is very uplifting and satisfying to look back and see how much my children have learned over the years.
3. Clear out books and supplies. Put away all of the books you are finished with and take stock of the ones you still need to complete. I keep a list in my Well Planned Day Planner of any books I have borrowed or loaned out. I take a day to return all of the borrowed ones, and update any that have come back home. I also put all of the art supplies, science equipment, and math manipulatives that have migrated upstairs back in their storage spaces.
4. Sell unused items. As I sort my books and supplies, I set aside any that I know we will not use again. I sell or give these to members of my co-op, on E-Bay, or in online Facebook groups designed for that purpose. Not only does it clear out some unnecessary clutter, but I often make extra money to buy some of next year’s books or supplies.
5. Dump the unusable supplies. Trash notebooks. Go through and clear out the broken crayons and pencils, the used water colors, and check all of the markers and pens. Invariably, I need to dump peeled-off crayon wrappers, marker lids, and other trash as well. This is a great job for kids!
6. Take stock. While I am organizing and putting things away, I make lists in my planner of what we will need for next year. I can keep an eye out for used items, and it helps me to know what we actually need when I hit the school supply sales. Otherwise, I am likely to end up with no glue and sixteen packages of pens!
7. Celebrate! Whether with a co-op party, a family dinner, ice cream, movie night, or a special trip, you’ve all worked hard this year, so take time to celebrate your accomplishments!
Reprinted with permission: Originally published at http://hedua.com/blog/9-tips-for finishing-well/
At age eight, Stephenie McBride developed a life-long interest in teaching others. She taught English as a Second Language and Kindergarten in a public school for six years. Stephenie and her husband, Ben, adopted their two children from Kolkata, India, in 2000 and 2004. She has been an at-home parent and home educator since 2001. They use an eclectic mix of materials and approaches, with a strong emphasis on Charlotte Mason. Stephenie is the Assistant Editor of Publications and a member of the Review Team at Home Educating Family Magazine. She also created and writes for Crestview Heights Academy Homeschool Curriculum. You can read more about Stephenie and her eclectic homeschooling adventures atcrestviewheights.wordpress.com.
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