Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's That Time Again

It's that time again! Time for what, you may ask? I'm so glad you asked! It's time to close out the 2008-2009 school year. How does one do that? It's not that hard, really.

First of all, make sure your kids are finished with all the schoolwork you planned for them to finish. Does this mean they have to finish every page of every textbook. workbook, and reader? No! It just means that you should have predetermined how much of each book constitutes "done," then they need to complete that much. For our family, I am very neurotic (I know, you're so surprised!) about making my kids finish all of everything. Over the years, I have relaxed a bit about doing every single assignment and every single problem, but they still have to finish the entire book/textbook/workbook. I know everyone has different expectations and standards, and that is absolutely fine. That's why we homeschool, right? The key is to set your expectations and then to make sure that they get met.

Okay, we've finished everything, now what do we do with it all? The best thing to do with a year's worth of papers, workbooks, and projects is to make a portfolio for each child. Yes, even if they're not required by your state laws! Portfolios provide a permanent record of everything your children accomplished throughout the year. They can be shown to doubting friends and relatives to prove that your kids are learning and doing things throughout the school year. Kids also love to look back at their own progress. Check out this post for step-by-step instructions and for more reasons portfolios are good things.

After you've got all the papers, projects, and workbooks organized, what's left? Report cards (if you do them), desk/area cleaning, and deciding what to do with your books. If you do report cards of some sort, this is the time to make sure that all the grades are recorded properly for the year. If you've got a high schooler, it's very important to update her transcript every year to make sure that you're including everything. Have each child clean her desk or area thoroughly--throw out garbage and organize what's left, clean the surface and drawers (or bins, or boxes, or whatever you use). This means you need to clean out your desk/area, too! Then, you need to decide what to do with all the textbooks, teacher's manuals, and living books you used this past year. If you're saving textbooks to use with a younger child, designate a special spot on the bookshelf for them. If you're never going to use them again, why not sell them to get a little extra cash to use for your next year's stack of books? General history and science books should be put back on their appropriate shelves.

There, that wasn't so bad, was it? Now you can start planning for next year, see what supplies you need to buy, and begin putting your new purchases away properly! Leave me a note and let me know how you wrapped up your school year.