Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wrapping Up Your Homeschool Year

This post includes a few amazon affiliate links. There is very little made from any purchase through that link, but is greatly appreciated! 


It's almost SUMMER!!!


For our family, who didn't start homeschooling until the kids had many public school years in, we love keeping with the summer break tradition...for the most part! We do our best to finish out the curriculum, and get grades logged, papers filed, and cleaning the plate so to speak! This year, our summer break has a vacation in it, so everyone is super motivated to wrap up! 

 But... 


 I'm a planner. I plan ahead. I don't want to wait until the last minute in July to piece together the next year's plans. Are you like this too? Here is my personal list for wrapping up the Homeschool year! 


  • Recollect Successes- Think about what worked really well this past year, and try to plan a few things like it the following year. For us, we tried Morning Basket's, Christmas School, Unit Studies, and Nature Journal's. The things they liked most, we will continue to use!
  • Order next year's curriculum now! Sales are going on. Convention season is in full swing, which means discount's galore! If you order now, you'll not only be prepared, but you'll have plenty of time to go through the book's, set things up the way you like, plan it out, and be able to purchase all the fun school supplies in July! Scroll down if you want to see our favorite curriculum supplements! 
  • Gather summer reading materials and games! It's important to keep those little hands and eyes busy. They will get bored. No matter how many activities you plan, or how much free time they have to play..it never fails. We never stop learning, so have some fun themed books and games on the ready! You'll find my list to the left on the sidebar!
  • Grade those papers! This may not be necessary if you have little ones, but mine are older, so it is important for us. I also like to use my middle daughter to help as she is an excellent grader/helper.
  • Organize & File Away! As your children complete their workbooks & lessons, you will need to decide what to keep and what to toss. If you move often, it's necessary to keep a portfolio if you don't know where you will move onto next. For some of us, we have to be mindful of our household weight as well..so tossing old workbooks after samples are removed, and selling books that we are finished with or didn't work out, is imperative. 
  • Creating Portfolios- I love to use this Mead Organizer with file sections. I label the cover with their name and school year, then put in samples, test grades, report cards, etc. This is just a precaution in case I need to prove their home education. See my previous post on How to Create a Portfolio

So those are my main steps for wrapping up the year. Then the fun begins for cleaning and reorganizing book shelves and our learning spaces! But we have all summer for that! Ha! 


Looking ahead, we also created some fun LOGBOOKS for each child to use to help them accomplish their daily tasks! You can use them all year or just for learning purposes! Revisit my Grade Tracking post about how we use our logbooks!


The great thing about our logbooks, is they are downloadable and you can customize them! If you have a binding machine, you can easily print all the pages needed for the year and snap those suckers together! I recommend printing the cover on cardstock and/or laminating it AND adding a stiff back to keep it nice all year long! We recommend the Swingline ProClick Punch & ProClick Coils to add and remove sheets as you go! 

Our Favorite Curriculum Supplements! 


Curriculum Shopping is upon us! We either love it or hate it. No matter what, it need's to be done. For me personally, I love it. I love looking at it, discussing among peers, and always finding a new & fun thing! This year, I found a few new fun things!  

  • Grace&Grit- I stumbled upon their booth at the DFW Great Homeschool Convention! It was soo cute and I immediately fell in love with their historical empowering female figure boxes! 
  • eat2explore - These great little food kits are perfect additions to your older child's culinary experience! They come with a curriculum guide, with geography, cooking skills, spices, a fun tool, and a country pin to start a collection! 
  • Lego Education - Years ago, my son fell in love with robotics at his public school. Today, lego education offers more robotic kits for early ages to high school! Coding and computer jobs are our future, so I never skip out opportunities to teach STEM & Computer Science. This year, we purchased the WeDo 2.0 for my 9 year old! 
  • Drew's Art Boxes - We have been using Liza's art boxes all year! She is continuously coming out with new, fun, and unique ways to teach modern techniques. We just purchased her Fluid Art kits and look forward to the next Alcohol Markers & Agamograph kits! 
  • Back to the Roots- If you're a nature loving, green thumb, these kits are great! You can find free curriculum online for an Herb kit, Mushroom kit, and Aquaponics Garden! There is even a special discount for educators if you contact the company! 
Do you have a fun supplement you'll be using too?  Please share! 

Comment here, or reach out to me on Instagram @WeWouldRatherBeReading or email me: underthedreamingwillowtree@gmail.com 




What is a Homeschool Portfolio & How to Create One


What is a Homeschool 
Portfolio?

So, you've committed to creating a portfolio for your child but have no idea where to start...
If you live in a state that does evaluations, a portfolio is necessary! It shouldn't be stressful or time consuming. The requirement is simply to show progress. 

It's never too late to create that homeschool portfolio, even if you have to dig papers out of bins from two years past! 

What is the purpose of a 
Homeschool Portfolio?

Many homeschoolers have a variety of choices to evaluate your child each year. Creating a portfolio is a popular choice throughout the US. Always make sure you check your state's requirements.  Here in Arizona, we don't need to create a portfolio, but it is a good way to keep some things for your child to look back on or in the case you move where one is required. 

The purpose of a Portfolio is to show progress of your child's learning throughout that year. It can also become a keepsake. The idea here is to create something that can best convey what your child learned. 

Gathering Supplies 

You need to decide what to keep your work samples in! Some people choose a 3 ring binder, and some choose an accordion file folder like the Mead Five-Star Organizer. 

Not everything has to fit. You can also take pictures of large works like lapbooks, posters, dioramas, etc. Then put them in the file with a small description. 

If you're super organized, you may want to create a Table of Contents, Book Lists, Curriculum Descriptions, Report Cards, & details of Course Studies. 

You will need to possibly print out a lot of these, and use Page Protectors to keep them clean. 

You will also need your planner and dates of field trips, and the attendance dates your child did school. 

Best Things to Include in a Portfolio

  • Table of Contents
  • State Homeschool Laws
  • Attendance
  • Examples of a Weekly Schedule
  • Description of Curriculum and/or Study Area
  • Work Samples for each Subject (Labeled or Divided)
  • Book Lists 
  • Certificates of Completion (Dance, PE, Music, Sports) 
  • Extras like Art work, or other documentation, and Report Cards
*You can visit HSLDA for a list of requirements for each state. 

Ways to Show Progress 

If you struggle trying to think of ways to show your child's progress for different subject areas, here are a few ideas. 
Writing Examples, Math Worksheets, Tests, Quizzes, & Book Reports.
You'll want to show a few samples from the beginning of the year through the end. No, they all won't be a shining example, but it WILL show progress! 

For English/Language Arts: 
handwriting
narration
book reports
spelling tests
grammar excercises
outlines
research papers

For Math: 
worksheets
quizzes & tests
practice sheets

For Science: 
Lab notes
science reports
experiment pictures
quizzes and tests
nature journal pages

For Social Studies: 
worksheets
timelines
history reports
history projects 
pictures of projects

For Fine Arts:
 artwork
composer and artist studies
certificate of completion for music or art lessons

For PE: 
Certificate of completion
Competition Medals or Trophies
Pictures of Activities 

Time to create!

You've now got a great starting point! You can share these ideas with other homeschool moms that are in the same boat! 

Have suggestions??

Comment here, or reach out to me on Instagram @WeWouldRatherBeReading or email me: underthedreamingwillowtree@gmail.com 

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