Whew…We just wrapped up another year (our 15th year of homeschooling)! And the truth is–I’m so tempted to shove all our homeschool books in a cabinet, jump in the pool, and not think two bits about school until August! But this year, I’m vowing to actually end with some semblance of grace and be intentional about my homeschool organization!
I’ve decided to challenge myself to a School’s Out Clean Out Challenge! I’d love for you to join me! I created a check-list for wrapping up the school year–all the big “To-Do’s” that will make starting our next school year easier and also give summer break a clean and fresh start! All of my subscribers have access to the check-list in my Free Resource Library…And if you’re not already a subscriber, I’d be tickled pink if you joined…You can sign up here and download the checklist!
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Day 1 Focus: Grades/Record Keeping:
The importance of tracking of grades and creating official school records depends greatly on your child’s grade level–and in some cases your particular state’s requirements. I personally do not keep official grades in elementary school–I prefer a mastery approach. In middle school, I think it’s good practice to begin creating official records–but I don’t get too wrapped around the axle over it. However–high school is a totally different ballgame!
High School Grades:
My daughter just finished up her freshman year of high school–which has been such a huge success! But one important distinction about homeschooling high school is the significance of record-keeping and grades. My role as her teacher has truly transitioned to mentor, facilitator, and record-keeper.
Most of what I know about keeping high school grades comes from Lee Binz, The Homescholar! She is lovely and such an amazing resource for homeschooling high school! Her website, Home High School Help is jam packed with information about keeping track of grades and credits, creating high school transcripts and course descriptions, and how to homeschool high school! If you’re homeschooling high school, don’t miss all her free resources–including books and webinars! (I personally own her Total Transcript Solution and Comprehensive Record Solution–which made creating my own course descriptions a breeze!)
In my School’s Out Clean Out Challenge I’m making sure all final grades are calculated, my daughter’s high school transcript is updated, and all course descriptions are finished. In addition, I’ll collaborate with my daughter to create a comprehensive list of all the books she read over the year.
If you need help calculating grades for your child, please check out my High School Grading Tool! My husband made it for me after I spent hours trying to calculate and weigh my daughter’s grades by hand over Christmas Break! He’s an expert at Excel–I think you’ll love it! (Plus it includes a high school transcript template and grade card template!)
Portfolios–basically a fancy way of saying, I’ve got a 3-ring binder showcasing my kiddos’ best work! I like to keep yearly portfolios for each of my children. Some states require portfolios–mine does not. However, I think they’re a great way to document your child’s growth, so I love creating them! There were years when every piece of paper was added to the binders–and there were years when I just picked a few samples and finished projects. There’s not a right or wrong way to create a homeschool portfolio! (Don’t forget to take photos of large projects or artwork–add the photos to your portfolio, and then feel free to toss out the project!)
**Tip: Add student work to your portfolios throughout the year! Utilize Teacher Workdays to stay on top of the paper clutter and organize your digital files!
Day 2: Put It All Away!! (Nicely)
If you’ve followed me for awhile, then you know I’m not organized at heart! I’m a “stuff-it-in-the-drawer,” girl at heart! Thank goodness I found the FlyLady years ago!!
Here’s my post about I how utilize her system–she’s made such a positive impact on my life!
As we wrap-up the school year, my goal is to put all my homeschool materials away (nicely)! Which means it’s time to clean out my drawers and cabinets! I’ll be throwing away quite a bit of trash and putting my resources back where they belong!
If it’s a curriculum, book, or resource I’m planning on using next year (or over the summer), I’ll leave it upstairs in my main homeschool storage area. (Aka…my laundry room!) My sweet hubby bought pre-made, unstained cabinets at Home Depot–we stained them (our attempt at DIY), and they’ve been a HUGE help in keeping my homeschool materials organized!
If it’s something we won’t be using next year, I take it to the basement (which is NOT currently organized…I basically hunt through piles of books…15 years of books! That’s an organization challenge for another day!).
Day 3: Heart of the Home/ Heart of the Homeschool…The Kitchen!
Oh, Sweet Friends…I am in my kitchen. all. the. time! Sound familiar? As part of my organization challenge, I’m spending the day giving this room the TLC it deserves! And this part of the challenge prepares our homes for summer! A fresh start for my favorite season!
**The checklist for Day 3 is a bit lengthy–feel free to split it up over 2 days! (Or more..make it work for you…as the FlyLady says, “You are not behind! Jump in where you are!”)
Day 4: Kids’ Rooms
For the School’s Out Clean Out Challenge, I’m focusing on cleaning out the kids’ rooms!
The first places I’m attacking are the drawers and closets! Because currently, mine are filled with winter clothes, too-tiny clothes, and mismatched socks!
Then I’m focusing on the toys! Yikes! We need to go through them and throw away, give away, and put away!
**Don’t forget to clean out under those beds! Who knows what we’ll find!
Day 5: Toy Room
Finally, for Day 5 of the challenge we’re focusing on the Toy Room!
It’s time to go through all the toys and again decide: Throw Away, Give Away, or Put Away!
Some toys will be put in storage and rotated back into our toy room later. I also plan on putting groups of toys into busy boxes for my preschool aged twins (I LOVE these Quiet Time Bins for Preschoolers from Kristen over at Arrows and Applesauce!)
But, perhaps the greatest challenge of my Toy Room…organizing our books!
Here’s how I like to group our books:
- Science & Nature (Divide by Topic)
- History (Divide by Time Period)
- Board Books
- Dr. Seuss Books
- Fairy Tales & Fables
- Bibles, Devotionals, & Bible Stories
- Easy Readers (Divide By Level)
- Series or Collections
I cannot wait to get this space cleaned-out for summer!
Finally, it’s time to bring all my “giveaway,” items to the thrift store so they can bless someone else! This is always the hardest step for me because I procrastinate horribly! I end up with “giveaway bags” sitting around my closet for
months years! So I may need to treat myself to see this part of the challenge all the way through! (Starbucks–I’m looking at you!)
Starting Summer With a Clean Slate!
I’m so excited to complete the School’s Out Clean Out Challenge–I hope you are too! I’m ready to start the summer with a clean slate and enjoy some lazy days with my kiddos! Plus, my homeschool planning for the new school year will be so much more pleasant with all my resources tidy and organized! In years past, I’d be excited to start planning in August–only to be greeted by an avalanche of books! Not this year–we are going to end with grace and intentional organization! Then we’ll jump in the pool!
Let me know if you have any questions! I’d love to see your progress! Tag me @jenmerckling on Instagram or use the hashtag #schoolsoutcleanout …Be sure to share any of your end-of-year homeschool tips! Let’s encourage each other!