Children who learn at home enjoy time off from school just like their public-schooled peers. School schedules are different from one family to the next. Some learn all year while others take a full summer off. One thing that is the same is ending one school year to begin the next. Students move up in grades, calling for celebrations. Planning a few, fun activities to celebrate the end of the school year is a great way to mark the progress made throughout the year.
A tradition in the public schools can be brought to the home. Year end parties often include baked goods and simple games for everyone to enjoy. The best part about a school in the home means spending less money. Instead of buying cupcakes for an entire classroom of children, one dozen covers the members of most families. Invite children from the neighborhood to have fun with the family at a homemade ice cream bar. Everyone can do this activity, including young children. Homemade ice cream can be made in single serving sizes with just a few ingredients. Place ingredients in a bag and shake to make delicious, soft-serve ice cream. Pick some toppings, place in plastic containers and let everyone dig in. Everyone will have fun making their own ice cream and personalizing their toppings.
Crafts are another fun, party activity. If pictures were taken during the school year of various field trips, science experiments or other activities, bring them out. Provide some poster board for each child with some basic scrap booking materials and allow them to make collages. They can cut the pictures into interesting shapes and decorate with ribbon, glitter or stickers. Talking about each picture will help them remember how much fun they had during the school year.
Most homeschooling parents make use of every situation as a learning experience. Setting up a treasure hunt using clues from past quizzes or material that was covered is a fun way to review at the end of the year. Utilizing discount stores or using homemade items the children will enjoy, hide treasure throughout the house or yard. These could be small stuffed animals, collectible items they would enjoy or food items. Write or type questions regarding the various subjects covered over the year. If teaching multiple levels, more questions will need to be made. Place questions wherever the treasure has been hidden with a clue to the next piece of treasure if they get the answer correct. If they make it through all the clues, a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or a movie pass would make a great reward for paying attention all year long.
Students that are interested in illustrating, acting or the arts can have a lot of fun with these projects. Using events from the year, children can make their own comic strip. Have them come up with a simple story to make a short strip, or they can make a comic book portraying the whole year. The Comic Creator may help them get started on the project by giving them some ideas.
If illustration isn’t their strong point, they may be interested in making a play. Including friends or relatives to create more people is an option for smaller families. Have each child dress up as someone in the family and make scenes depicting a typical day in school at home. Let their imagination run wild as they have fun being silly. Older children may even want to make props that younger children can help paint or put together. If there’s anyone in the family who want to pursue a career as a director, he could turn the play into a movie with the help of a video recorder.
There’s nothing stated that graduation or promotion ceremonies have to include hundreds of people. Small ceremonies in the house, the backyard or a park can include extended family members and friends. Speeches can be given that express the strengths of the child or children as they move on. Favored scripture can be read or the child can show off talents such as singing a song. Smaller celebrations for those advancing to the next grade are also a great way to help the child feel like her hard work was worth it. Dinner or dessert at a favorite restaurant would be a great way to cap off the evening.
Even though children are being taught at home, they still need to have some fun and burn off steam. It makes the schooling less mundane if there is an actual finish to one year and beginning of another. Advancing in grades or graduating is a big accomplishment and needs to be celebrated. Celebrating doesn’t have to be expensive as long as a few creative ideas are incorporated.