Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wrapping Up the School Year

Whether you follow a traditional school year, set your own unique calendar, or homeschool year round, there's always a transition point from one level to the next. Here, I share my thoughts on wrapping up the school year.

This year has been a bit different for me in that we are doing our first school year that will truly last a full year. This was not planned but is the result of welcoming a new baby and getting hit with a month long sickness. We are honestly not quite finished up with our work, but I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel! Hooray! (Yes, even homeschoolers look forward to our "summer breaks"!)

No matter when wrap-up happens I always follow the same general steps. These are very general, and there are different ways they actually play out depending on your family. That's okay!

Step 1: Catch up on YOUR daily work. By this I mean make sure you have looked over & graded any work that needs to be done. This includes entering grades into your grade tracker (I use a simple Excel spreadsheet), and filling out progress reports. If you are on top of things and not a procrastinator like myself, this step will pretty much be done. :)

Step 2: Keep student work needed by the state, and throw out the rest! How do you know what's needed? Check HSLDA's website and click on "My State" to find out. For my state, I don't have to keep anything specific, just enough to show that learning is happening. Set aside what you need, and then put the rest in the garbage can. Seriously do this! You probably didn't even realize how much was there, and it is so freeing to have it gone!

If grandparents really want that A+ test or you just adore that art piece they made designate a single file folder to hold the FEW pages. Give yourself no more than a week to get these to their permanent homes. If it is a 3D piece, grab your camera and store it digitally! I've seen the most adorable coffee table books that were filled with the artwork of the home's children!

Step 3: Transfer work to student portfolios. Student portfolios come in all shapes and sizes - binders, scrapbooks, file boxes, digital storage, etc. I have chosen to use 3-ring binders for portfolios. I let my children pick a theme and print off a cover and section dividers for each school year. Section dividers are slipped into page protectors. Then I hole punch and store schoolwork & other documents behind the year's divider. I drop progress reports in the page protectors behind the pretty divider. As I previously mentioned, I don't really have to keep a lot, so one binder each has sufficiently met our needs so far. Whatever system you choose, make sure it is easily accessible if you should ever need it quickly. I'd also recommend permanent storage of these in your emergency evacuation kit.

Step 4: Clean up your teacher files. I do this following the same steps as outlines above for the student work - figure out what needs to be kept, set it aside, and toss the rest! I also check my notes section in the back of my teacher planner and transfer those to my new planner (if it's been purchased and arrived).

Step 5: Pack away or sell this year's curriculum. Pretty self explanatory! :) Since I have littles that have not yet entered school, I keep my stuff from year to year. I have a science tub, Tapestry of Grace tub, and then grade level tubs for things like math and phonics. At this time, I also remove the shortcut for my digital Tapestry of Grace products from my desktop. I still have not come up with a good permanent storage solution for these tubs as our home doesn't have a lot of closets or hidden storage.

Step 6: Go through your general school supplies. I have a large tub that I keep all of our misc community school supplies in. During the year, it all ends up getting just thrown in with no regard for organization. I use this time to throw away empty bottles, take inventory of what I have left, and set up a shopping list on my Cozi app for any needed supplies.

Step 7: Sit back and enjoy your summer! You should now have a less stressful start to next year and can enjoy whatever the summer has to bring you!

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