We’re done!!! With the exception of a field trip I have planned for today, homeschool for the 2015-2016 year is complete and I’m left with the task of tying up all the loose ends to officially close out this year and prepare for next.
So what steps does a homeschooling mom take to wrap up her homeschool year? What you need to do according to state law will vary from place to place, of course, but here are just a few simple things I do at the close of every year:
Complete any final grading and record grades
This is always easiest if I’ve kept up on my grading throughout the year, but it seems I always have some catch-up to do at the end. Grading is simple and very basic with my younger kids, but I’m keeping transcripts for my high schooler, so grading for her is a little more meticulous. I keep copies of her transcripts both on my computer and in printed form.
Sort, trash, and save samples of schoolwork
I used to keep everything from our homeschool year. I mean EVERYTHING. Finally I learned that wasn’t necessary or wise, but keeping some samples of my kids’ schoolwork is a good idea, just in case my homeschool, (God forbid,) is ever audited. I also save my favorite writing, art, science, and history projects as well.
Store away the things I plan to keep
If you don’t have much storage space, this may be more of a challenge for you, but I buy one clear bin for each year’s schoolwork and label it on top. As I said before, in the past I’ve generally kept far more of my kids’ work than I needed to keep, but I buy a big enough bin to hold everything I’m saving from the school year, including my planner for that year and any 3-dimensional projects I might want to keep.
If you don’t have the extra space for storing bins, you can pare down the papers enough to fit them in a folder and add photos of any projects you can’t keep.
Pack away the books I will reuse and then donate, trade, or sell the rest
I don’t have the space on my homeschooling bookshelf to keep all my favorite books accessible at the same time, so I have to rotate them out when I’m not using them. At the end of the year I pick out those books I’ll use again and I put them in storage to make room for new books. I sell or donate books I won’t use anymore, and I frequently trade books and other resources with a friend.
Start compiling next year’s curricula
Well before the school year is over I’m usually beginning to pull my curriculum together for the next year. Because I make purchases at spring homeschool conventions and take advantage of springtime curriculum sales, I start buying early, which saves me both money AND stress because I buy a mix of materials from multiple companies. As soon as the old books are cleared off my shelves, I start shelving the new so they’re all together for when the new school year begins.
Make notes for the start of the next year
I’d like to think I’ll remember certain details from the end of one school year to the beginning of the next, but I can’t always do that. I keep a notebook designated for all my homeschooling ideas, notes, and lists, and I write down things I need to remember for the next year, like any books I want to read aloud to the kids, some subjects I think we need to study, or an interesting field trip someone has told me about.
Start a running supply/book list for the next year
This is another thing I add to my homeschooling notebook. There are usually items I know I will need before the next school year. Sometimes our books will even have lists of things I need to collect for various projects. It’s easiest for me to have all these items listed in one place, along with other books, art supplies, and basic school supplies I know I’ll need for the next year. I add to the list as I think of more things and mark off items as I find them, being sure to take advantage of the back-to-school sales when I can.
*For more information on the homeschool laws specific to your state, visit HSLDA.org.
What steps do you take to wrap up your homeschool year? Feel free to share in the comment section below. And thanks!
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