This is a sponsored post written by Time4Learning.
As the end of the homeschool year approaches, parents need to think about what needs to be done to wrap up the learning this year. Even if you homeschool year-round, many state homeschool laws require end of the year reports. So, this is a natural time to take a short break while you prepare for and complete any state evaluation requirements, personally, assess your family’s homeschool year, and add in a little celebratory flair to applaud your efforts. Bravo!
Check Off State Homeschool Law Requirements
Your first concern should be ensuring that you’ve completed all of your state’s homeschooling law requirements. While some state laws are quite relaxed and don’t require any accountability on your part, others expect proof of learning and assessments. Visit Time4Learning’s state homeschool info page for a detailed explanation of your state homeschool laws. Make note of important dates and any assessment requirements, make a list, and check off each item as it’s completed. This is also a good time to update all your records—attendance and/or lesson plan log, reading lists, final grades and test scores, immunizations, etc.
Assess Your Family’s Homeschool Program
An annual assessment of your homeschool program can reap a multitude of benefits. Look at your schedule, your curriculum, any co-op classes, extracurricular activities, and your overall experience. Did this school year go well? We all know the likelihood that many and varied bumps can occur along the homeschooling journey, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the year didn’t go relatively well. Consider your current program and ask yourself the following questions:
● Does our schedule work well? What changes, if any, should I implement?
● Am I happy with our current curriculum choices? Do I need to make any changes or consider a different program for one or more of my students? A different program for specific subjects?
● Do I feel that our homeschool program had a nice balance between work-at-home time, co-op classes, and activities? Do we need more enrichment? Or were we too busy?
● How do I feel about our overall experience this year?
Your students’ input is priceless. Sit down with each of your students and discuss his or her learning experience over the past year. Ask about likes and dislikes. Most kids will be thrilled you asked and happy to give you the scoop on their school year. Ask for any ideas he or she might have for improvement. When kids’ feel that their input matters and that you might just incorporate their ideas into your homeschool program, you empower them and strengthen your bond.
This is also a good time to assess your students’ comprehension of core subjects such as language arts and mathematics. Even if annual testing isn’t state-mandated, this can help you better recognize individual strengths and weaknesses and make any necessary changes for the upcoming year.
Regardless of whether you’re required by law to present a portfolio of student work samples, creating portfolios together is time well spent. Portfolios make awesome keepsakes and can be a unique blend of your student’s personality as well as academic accomplishments. And, going through the year’s work together gives you both a chance to reminisce and reflect on the year as a whole. So, what makes up a portfolio?
● All documentation and records required by your state homeschool laws
● Student work samples for all subjects
● Photographs of hands-on learning, artwork, special projects, volunteer, and field trip activity
● Honors and awards
● Curriculum and materials list
● Book log
● Links to digital highlights such as YouTube videos, performances, and sporting events
When you’ve completed any evaluations, you can file away all the business stuff and personalize your homeschooling scrapbook even more.
Yes, it’s time to kick up your heels and celebrate! A year spent homeschooling is a big accomplishment whether you homeschool a single student or a big brood. Gather your family together and brainstorm ways in which you’d all enjoy celebrating. Have a party, showcase student work, take a day trip, or simply enjoy some quiet down time together. Cheers!