The end of the school year is approaching fast! Your kids (and you!) have worked their hearts out and you want to make the last day of school special.
But you’re tired and so ready for summer break. You don’t feel like throwing a birthday party type celebration that may be difficult to recreate or top next year.
So what to do?
I want to give you three awesome traditions that are simple, reproducible every year, fun for the whole family, and something your kids will look forward to every year!
Feel free to do all three, or pick and choose what fits you best.
3 Simple End of the Homeschool Year Traditions
1. A memorable (inexpensive) gift that will last
This last day of school tradition started when my oldest completed 1st grade. I wanted to give her something that would help her remember what she accomplished and all the fun we had together.
I know there are a lot of paper certificates you can make or print out…but we all know those will end up in the trash soon enough. I wanted something that would last – because we had a great year!
I decided on a charm bracelet and one charm that would represent a highlight of the year.
1st grade is the year she really took off with reading, so I gave her a little charm that was a stack of books.
This year we dove deep into U.S. History. She discovered that history is her favorite subject, and we had an awesome field trip to Mount Vernon! I decided to surprise her with an American flag charm.
My plan is that we will fill that bracelet with 12 charms and she will have a gift she can treasure!
Something she can take to college and remind her of all of us at home rooting for her!
All three of my girls will have something special and unique that tells the story of their homeschooling years.
These charms do not have to be expensive or pandora quality. Amazon has many highly rated options for every budget. Here is the American flag charm I picked out:
Um, I don’t have girls
No problem! I love the idea of buying a soft sweatshirt blanket and purchasing a patch at the end of the year to add on to it.
Who doesn’t love cuddling up with a soft blanket?!
I love the idea that all the patches will remind him of what he has accomplished and motivate him towards what is ahead!
Call me sentimental, but I hope it will be folded up and a packed for college – a piece of home for your kid!
No you don’t have to sew anything – Geniuses have invented something called Badge Magic!
Here are some Amazon links to get you started!
And no worries if you are not starting with a first grader! Just start now and your child will treasure this tradition and the effort you put into recognizing their work.
2. Play it by the numbers
When we celebrated “100 Day” (the 100th day we did “number of the day”), I discovered how much kids LOVE celebrating something that is related to numbers.
We measured 100 inches, we bounced a ball back and forth 100 times, we played follow the leader for 100 steps, we sat still for 100 seconds, we danced like crazy for 100 seconds, we made a 100 cheerio necklace – it was a blast!
It gave me the idea to start a fun end of the school year tradition!
We made a one layer cake at the end of the year, a two layer cake the next year, and we plan to continue until our youngest is graduated – which would be a 15 layer cake!
I think it will be quite the STEM challenge for them and a really fun activity to look forward to at the end of every school year.
Here is how we did it this year:
1. I made a cake from scratch (because I didn’t feel like going to the store to get a box cake) and it turned out great! Check out this recipe for – Classic Vanilla Cake – no cake flour required!
2. I whipped up some awesome frosting – also because I didn’t want to go to the store. This frosting recipe was super easy and tasted so good! I then let the girls dye the frosting if they wanted to.
3. I used a circle cookie cutter and cut out a total of 6 circles from the cake – 2 “layers” for each of my girls.
4. I gave the girls their frosting and some left over sprinkles from Easter and let them go!
Um, we hate cake
No problem! If you have kids who are not into cake decorating – there are still many awesome ideas for to “play it by the numbers.”
- How about going camping – one day for every year finished.
- Hike or bike a mile for every year completed.
- An Ice cream sundae with a topping for every year completed – might have to be creative with your toppings towards the end there!
- Your kids get to throw one water balloon at you for every year completed.
- You make a pizza together with a different topping for every year completed – that also might get exciting towards the end!
You get the idea. Think about what your family enjoys and maybe ask your kids. They might have something that they would love to do and build on every year. Let their creativity shine!
Maybe you do something totally different every year, but you still keep to recognizing the number of years. (i.e. Make 1 layer cake, next year 2 toppings on ice cream, next year go on a 3 day camping trip, etc.)
Maybe you rotate every year whose turn it is to pick the activity.
The point is just to recognize every year as it passes and have a fun, memorable activity that you can build on to celebrate. Your kids will love the memories and how much you cared about celebrating their hard work!
If you are not starting with a first grader – that’s okay! Just start making the memories now!
3. Field Trip, Baby!
The last end of the school year tradition is to take a special trip that ties into the interests of my kids.
I want to continue to fan the flame of whatever they are interested in and keep up that desire to learn more.
It does not have to be expensive, or elaborate!
Last year all three girls had a blast studying zoology for months, so we took a family trip to the zoo to celebrate the end of the school year.
A trip? Are you crazy??
I’m gonna be honest and tell you that parking was crazy, it was soooooo hot outside, and we had to walk so far with our three kids. We were charged $50 for ice cream and water…and then told that they were out of spoons.
When we finally got back to the car at the end of the day, I felt like I’d found water in a desert.
The zoo is not my favorite memory as a parent.
But I would do it again! My daughters have a great memory of the event and seeing all the animals they studied. I got to see their eyes light up when they saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, monkey, snakes, and pandas – that made it worth it!
So my point is, you may be in a place where going on a field trip/day trip with your kids sounds too hard. But, I want to encourage you to do it anyways!
Maybe squeeze it into a family vacation that you are already have planned.
Plan it for when family is coming to visit and they can stay home with the little ones. Maybe ask a friend to come with you to help with the kids.
I don’t know where to go!
Ask your kids what the highlight of school was or what they loved learning about to give you some ideas.
- Maybe you could go visit a working farm.
- Tour a museum that has dinosaur bones.
- Take a tour of a historical battleground (investigate to see if there are any near your area – you might be surprised!).
- Go for a hike in your nearest regional or state park with binoculars for bird watching or other animal sightings.
- Visit an animal refuge center.
- Call your local fire department and ask if your kids (and maybe some friends) could come learn about the fire trucks and what it means to be a fire fighter.
- Do the same with your local Police Department. I have never met a fire fighter or police officer who didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to make a positive impression on kids.
You get the idea. There are many opportunities out there to show your kids their interests in the real world – outside the classroom, outside of a book, outside of youtube.
Get after it!
A gift to treasure, a silly number activity, and a day trip are all end of the school year traditions that you can do every year to build fantastic memories with your kids – no degree in pinterest party planning required!
If you feel a bit overwhelmed – that’s okay!
They don’t all have to be the same day or week – schedule them out through the summer if that helps.
Maybe you can only handle one or two of these right now. That is still a win for you, your kid, and your family.
Above all – have fun and let your kids know you are proud of their efforts!
Feel free to share any end of the school year traditions you already have going in the comments! I know other people would love to hear them and I am always looking to try new things!
Want to make sure you hold on to this for later? Be sure to pin it to Pinterest or share it with your friends and followers!