We are a family who love to celebrate. We will celebrate anything and everything. But, we are also year round homeschoolers so finding a way to mark the first day of school and last day of school proved difficult at first.
That was until we remembered that we make all the rules and we could do whatever works best for us. So each year the last week in May is our official time to end the school year, promote Emily to the next grade, and celebrate!
Annual Traditions To Make The End Of The School Year Memorable
Traditions don’t have to be big or over the top to be memorable. Most of ours are simple but have become things that we all look forward to year after year.
Last Day of Homeschool Surprise
Emily always knows the last day of school is nearing but she never quite knows what day it will be. So, I like to kick off the last day with a surprise.
She wakes up on the last day of school to a surprise display in the living room. I hang a banner and put out all of the fun gifts/activities that we will be using for the summer.
Fun Educational Gifts for the Summer
These fun educational gifts are things I would have bought over the course of the summer either way. I just like presenting them in a more fun and exciting way. Some of the typical things include some educational games, a new book series for some summer reading, and toys we can enjoy using at the beach or in the pool.
Here are examples of what we’ve done in years past:
Destroying the School Work
This might be Emily’s favorite tradition. I mean what kid doesn’t want to destroy their school work?
The night before our last day of school I scan all of Emily’s school work into our digital homeschool portfolio so that our records are up to date which means I no longer need any of the paper.
That means Emily is free to destroy her school work from the year in any way she sees fit. In past years she has thrown it in the garbage or shredded it. But, the one she’s loved the most and keeps returning to is burning it.
She gets such a kick out of seeing her school work literally go up in flames.
End of the Homeschool Year Photoshoot
Each year we do a graduation photoshoot of Emily. This is by far my favorite end of the homeschool year tradition. But it is such a bittersweet one.
After Emily was born Kevin and I decided to return to college. She made us want to be better people. For years we struggled juggling work, college, life, and later homeschool. We graduated the same year Emily finished kindergarten.
Because Kevin and I had different degrees we were graduating at two different time slots. So, we decided to share a cap and gown – I mean it wasn’t like we needed two of them.
Emily was jealous that she didn’t get a cap and gown for finishing her school year like we did so of course we let her wear ours. Fast forward 4 years and it’s become a tradition. Each year she puts on that same cap and gown to celebrate graduating another grade.
It’s bittersweet watching her grow into the cap and gown that once swallowed her. But I love the sentiment of her growing into the cap and gown that both of us once wore across the stage to receive a diploma that she inspired us to get.
Last Day of Homeschool Dinner
We like to end our last day of school with a special meal with family and friends. In the past we have had a meal while hosting an art gallery. But, this year we just had grandparents over for a dinner of Emily’s choice.
Her only request was a cake with a candle she could blow out. So that’s exactly what she got. I just picked up a premade birthday cake from Publix and a number 3 candle since she was graduating 3rd grade.
She was absolutely thrilled with my lack of effort and loved it just as much as if I had worked in the kitchen for hours.
End of the Homeschool Year Presentation
This was something new we tried for the first time this year but I can tell you we will be doing it from now on because it was Kevin’s favorite.
Emily went through all of the units we had completed and chose Betsy Ross. This should surprise me because I wrote that unit last summer when she spent an entire month pretending to be her.
She dressed up as Betsy Ross, pretending to sew the flag as she told us about herself. I was blown away by how much she remembered! Kevin and I both agreed that moment made us more proud of the homeschool year than any test grade ever could have.
When does your homeschool end and what do you do to celebrate?