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    by Mike McHugh

Finishing the School Year Well
Date Posted: May 15, 2008

Most home educators will bring their school year to a close in late May or early June. For too many of these families, the end of the school term will be little more than a mad dash for the finish line. This is often the case, because parent educators seldom realize that the manner in which they end a particular school term, will have a profound influence upon how well their next school term begins. Before home school parents take a break for summer vacation, therefore, they should take the following steps to put their house in order.

  1. One key to finishing well is for parents to take the effort to ensure that their students stay on schedule until they finish their assignments. The closer students get to the summer break, the more common it is for them to become apathetic toward their school work. For this reason, parent teachers must set clear goals for their students as they “inspect what they expect.”

  2. Toward the end of the school term, home educators should review each of their students’ progress in order to determine precisely where they need to make the most improvement. This review will enable parents to know the extent to which students need to engage in additional study over the summer months. Students who are struggling in a particular area of study should be directed as to how they can overcome their weaknesses during the summer.

  3. The close of a school year is a good time to introduce students to unit studies which center upon places that your family intends on visiting during summer vacation. Particularly when it comes to historic sites, students will be equipped to get much more out of their visits to such places if they have some background knowledge of the significance of the place they are about to visit.

  4. When parents are finishing up their year, they must not forget to keep good records. Home educators should ensure that they place final grades into their child’s permanent transcript records, along with a simple attendance report. Students in eighth and twelfth grades who have completed their prescribed studies, should have a diploma awarded to them in a prompt fashion as well. It is also a good idea for parents to record the details regarding which books were assigned to students during the school year, and a note concerning where the curriculum materials were purchased. It is not uncommon for parent educators to lose track of these details with the passage of time!

  5. School supplies and texts that are still useful should be stored away in a secure location at year’s end. Educational materials that are no longer needed or desired should be sold, tossed, or given to a needy family. The end of a school term is a great time to de-junk your home school setting!

  6. Parent teachers should make plans before the start of summer break to attend educational conferences and lectures that will give them needed direction, inspiration, and encouragement. As any seasoned home educator can testify, parent teachers need to re-charge and re-focus at least once or twice a year in order to keep from falling prey to the dreaded disease known as “home school burnout”.

  7. Parents should sit down with each of their students at the close of the school term, so that they can assess on a personal level how well each student is progressing. Parents should make sure that they talk with their children about how they feel they are progressing in their general study habits and spiritual development, in additional to their routine academic studies.

  8. If home educators have a student(s) who is graduating from eighth or twelfth grade, time should be invested to make sure that these graduates are recognized in some manner by way of a ceremony, complete with a special time of celebration.

In closing, home school families must not let the hectic days that proceed the close of a school term get the better of them. Careful planning, and a good dose of old-fashioned discipline, can help to enable home educators to make it across the finish line with integrity and a clear sense of accomplishment. Closing the school year decently and in order, will also place families in the best possible position to start their next school term well.

Copyright 2008 Michael J. McHugh

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Biography Information:
This column is written by the staff at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. As a pioneer in the homeschool movement, Christian Liberty ministries has been operating a full service, K-12 home school program for over thirty years and a Christian textbook ministry (Christian Liberty Press), since 1985. The mission of Christian Liberty is to provide parents with quality, affordable educational products and services that will enable them to teach their children in the home and to train their children to serve Christ in every area of life. A more extensive explanation of the CLASS home school program can be obtained at
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