Do you celebrate the end of the ‘school’ year? If so share how, if not, share why not.
Lacey: We do – we’ve worked hard! I set a final day for the year, and always make the last day more light-hearted (no cramming). We take a trip to Cold Rock to round it off.
Corinna: We don’t really mark the end of the school year in any way. The end of academics and beginning of holidays merg together seamlessly for us. It’s a gradual thing as children’s extra-curricular activities end, concerts are performed and books completed until it’s only a few things to finish up and the majority of our days are focussed around summer/christmas related activities. We always tend to end our ‘school year’ in early November as we are all running out of steam by then.
Ainsley: We do go out for dinner as a family some time in Dec and we spend time encouraging each child with one character trait we can see that they have really grown in and also one areas of academics they have improved in over the past year.
Jen: Yes, we tend to take a trip that includes something fun like bowling or a movie then do our Christmas shopping.
Barb: We aimed to finish up by the end of November and have two whole months clear over the summer break. Earlier in our journey, we used to gather together with other families for a speech night and concert where Year 12 graduates gave a tribute and testimony, children had the opportunity to perform special items and a guest speaker gave a positive message of encouragement. Parents awarded each of their children an academic and a character award. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the family’s achievements as a community and invite extended family. We went out to dinner with grandparents afterwards.
Belinda: We rarely celebrated the end of a school year because years rolled from one year to the next even though our focus often changed month by month. Sometimes our homeschool co-op celebrated the end of the year with a concert or Christmas party. We tended to celebrate achievements through out the year.
Do you integrate Christmas into your homeschooling? If so how?
Lacey: I don’t – we tend to finish our year early December and then Christmas activities and stories come after that.
Corinna: Our family life and homeschooling are seamlessly connected so it is hard to tell what comes under the banner of ‘life’ or ‘homeschooling’. Nothing relating to Christmas is officially integrated in our homeschool routine. But throughout December many books are read, crafts made, food cooked, family discussions held, pencils picked up and even Christmas related entries are sometimes added to nature journals and Book of Centuries. This is all very similar to our regular school year in many ways but most of these activies flow on from our everyday life rather than anything I specifically plan. Each year I make sure I have a good supply of great Christmas books, activity suggestions and thought provoking reading material and discussion ideas on hand.
Ainsley: December is a time when we don’t do ‘normal’ school. We continue to do our family morning time that includes devotions, bible stories and read aloud time. But for the rest of the day we focus on making, giving and sharing what we have with others in a more intentional way. We have daily ‘giving’ activities which range from baking biscuits to give away to buying groceries for a christmas hamper charity and many other things in between. We make presents for our assigned family member and also have general projects that we don’t get to in the normal school terms that we work on.
Jen: Yes, we do lots of reading and writing (aka sending Christmas cards).
Belinda: Yes and No. During primary school and middle highschool years we stopped our book based learning early November. During November the kids main focus was making gifts and mine was preparing our Christmas / Advent studies. During November we would still have family Bible time to start our day. In December our Bible studies turned towards a Christmas topic/theme, and our daily focus was more community minded as we entered the Christmas season. In Highschool the kids continued their book learning through November and started their Christmas prep in December. But all of this was a part of our homeschooling – the skills they learnt, regardless of what they were doing was always recorded as a part of our homeschooling plans.
What was one highlight for you and/or your family this year? This can be homeschool related, or not.
Lacey: My highlight has been seeing God ask things of me that seemed too hard …. and then how faithful He has been to help me step into them. I am ending the year as a very different person and mum.
Corinna: Our highlight for 2019 was spending 2 months travelling as a family through Tasmania and the southern states. Camping in some amazing places, hiking through remote wilderness (with children who are all now capable to tackle some pretty long and challenging hikes) and generally all appreciating being together and exploring new parts of this country.
Ainsley: My highlight for our school year was a family road trip that included visiting many areas that related to the unit studies we have done in the past. We visited Ned Kelly region, Ballarat and Gold Rush region and Melbourne. Seeing our boys make connections between their readings and research projects and the real life experiences is one of my absolute favourite
things about our homeschooling journey.
Jen: Our family trip to Alice Springs and Uluru.
Barb: Being brave enough to go zip lining at Mt Tamborine with my youngest two children. It was a fabulous day to celebrate Daniel’s birthday. I enjoyed the adventure as much as they did!
Belinda: Since we are done with our homeschooling, a highlight for our family this year is to see each of the children leave home and pursue study, work, and relationships as adults – leaving Peter and I in a new season of life as empty nesters.
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