By the time you read this post, my boys will have finished their first non-homeschool year and been on summer break for a week already. It was an incredibly successful year of transition for us – not perfect by any means, but full of great learning experiences for education and life. We are all very pleased with how the year went and know God was with us every step of the way, as He always is. The kids loved school, but they are also equally ready for a summer break!
Whether your school year has ended yet or not, a lot about how the school year ends for our kids can be impacted by our behavior as parents. The way in which we end a school year can help our children see the big picture of how they grew over the past nine months as well as help them to actually look forward to the next school year, even if summer is all that is on their mind!
I have a few fun ideas for ending the school year strong as a family and you can use them whether your kids were out a few weeks ago or still have a few weeks left!
Host a family awards ceremony.
The school our boys attend has an awards ceremony on the last day to celebrate things such as perfect attendance, performance at contests, and other accomplishments. Your child may be called for every award or not receive a single one. Your family awards ceremony could be about recognizing individual growth throughout the school year. Did your child make huge leaps and bounds in his reading ability this year? Give him a “Most Improved Reader” award! Did you witness your child grow in compassion and kindness toward other students? Make a “Kindness Queen” certificate to recognize this behavior! There are lots of ways your child could have developed and matured over the year – pick out a few favorites for each child and let them know you notice their hard work! Our kids often don’t see this big picture growth unless we help them see it.
Write teacher thank you notes with your kids.
As a teacher, there was nothing I loved more than thank you notes from students and parents. I still have a lot of the ones written to me over the years and I haven’t taught in eight years! Words mean so much, especially when they are written out. Teachers appreciate it so much, but I also think it helps our children see how much their teachers are FOR them. Written thank you notes are a great way for kids to discover and recognize the ways in which a teacher encouraged or challenged them in the classroom. And as a parent, I know I have a lot to thank my boys’ teachers for, and I want to tell them! Sit down with your kids – even if your school year ended already – and write thank you notes to teachers together. You are setting a great example and making it a fun family activity when you join in! Believe me – the parent thank you notes were some of my favorite.
Create a school year “top ten” list.
I like to challenge our boys often in the area of gratitude. Sometimes it is a struggle to help them see things they should be thankful for, but this mindset is beneficial for the whole family and results in less entitlement and more thankfulness. Ask your kids to come up with ten things for which they are thankful from the past school year. Type up the list or make it fancy with pictures or decorations. Keep this gratitude list with the papers you are keeping from the school year. With your child’s permission, email the list to his teacher. This list will end the year on a positive note and also be a great memory for years to come!
However you choose to end the school year as a family, make it an occasion that celebrates school and ushers in summer break with fun! Education is a blessing and we can be the ones to help our kids see that even as the summer fun begins!
How do you purpose to end the school year strong with your family?