the years go on that your child actually
Spend some time sorting through all
of those papers, tests, and drawings that
have piled up during the school year.
Which ones are going into the recycling
bin? Can you mail any of the pictures to
Grandma? Which of the papers, maps, or
tests do you want to keep in a folder? Put
the important papers to keep in a folder
labeled with the year. You don’t need to
keep every scrap of paper, just the ones
that you feel are your child’s best work.
Now is the time to celebrate! You and
your children have made it through another school year together! Don’t get
hung up on whether you completed every single thing in the curriculum. Focus
on what you did accomplish. On the last
day of school or soon afterward, have an
awards ceremony, and present each child
an award certificate (preferably several)
for his or her accomplishments. For example, “Congratulations, Jonathan! You
completed Kindergarten!” or “Good Job,
Heather! You memorized your multiplication tables!” Think about some things
your child has achieved this year, and
congratulate him or her for it. Did your
child memorize the Declaration of Independence, or learn the 50 states and
capitals? Did one learn to spell his name?
I like to give at least two certificates per
Give a small gift. Go to a dollar store,
and get them some stationary, or a cool
pen, or a shovel and pail. It doesn’t have
to be big, just something to let them know
how proud you are of them and that this
is a special time. And don’t forget to get
a picture of everyone on their last day,
together with their teacher! Give yourself
and your children the acknowledgement
of a job well done this school year.
Leah DeLaughter is the homeschool mother of three beautiful children who are 6,
11, and 13. They have been homeschooling for eight years, and have lived for ten
years as missionaries in Tanzania. Leah
loves to spend her time reading on her
Kindle, playing with her kids, and having
dates with her husband, Bill. She writes
about her homeschooling journey on www
• Print out award certificates, or buy
some at a school supply store, and
have a small awards ceremony.
• Give each child a small gift from a
dollar store such as pens, stationary,
a small toy, or book.
• Plan a special meal: make your own
pizza night, BBQ, dip night (in which
all foods are dips or to be dipped).
• Plan an outing to celebrate: go to the
park, go swimming, or have some
friends over to celebrate.
• Make a photo album or “yearbook”
of your school year with pictures of
your children along with some examples of their schoolwork.
• Make a photo collage of the year (if
you took a first day of school photo,
or some photos from the last few
weeks of school or the last day of
school). These can be put up in your
school area or framed and put in
your living room.
10 Free Summer Ideas for
• Go play outside! Play with the garden hose; make a tree fort, or set up
• Borrow books from the library. Most
libraries also have movies and some
even loan out toys.
• Have the kids wash your car. They’ll
have fun getting wet, and your car
will get clean.
• Let the kids make a fire in your
BBQ pit, and burn used papers and
leaves—supervised of course.
• Have a slumber party in your living
room. Stay up late watching movies
and eating snacks.
• Bake a cake or cookies from scratch.
• Break out the LEGO™ blocks.
• Wash your own clothes by hand, outside, in buckets.
• Make a compass with a needle and
cork. The instructions can be found
• Break out your board games and
(These ideas were originally posted on my blog.)