When we began homeschooling, one of my concerns was that there would not be many opportunities for my children to show what they’ve learned. In public school, it seems that there are plenty of chances to proudly display your work for the world to see. While that’s certainly not a requirement for a well-rounded education, there is a sense of accomplishment when others see the hard work that went into a school year.
So I set out to think of ways that my children could show their work from the year, and finally, I came up with what turned out to be one of my grandest ideas: an End of the Year Homeschool Showcase.
There were just three requirements:
- It had to be simple or it would only serve to add stress to my already full plate.
- It also had to be celebratory. After all, a whole year of hard work is something to celebrate, right?
- Finally, it had to include the important people in our lives.
So without further ado, here is my recipe for an End of the Year Homeschool Showcase.
1. Display Great Work at Your End of the Year Homeschool Showcase
First, go through your child’s papers from the year or, if they are old enough, have them choose the best samples of work. Hang them on the wall. You can do as much or as little as you wish. I like to group work samples together by child, so each of my children has a showcase space. Try to pull out pieces from the beginning of the year as well as the end so everyone can see progress.
2. Display All the Books at Your End of the Year Homeschool Showcase
This is probably my favorite part. Each child pulls neatly arranges all the books he or she read that year in their designated showcase space.
Then, I pull all the Read-Alouds, Science titles, and History books that we studied together and display those as well. It is pretty amazing to see just how much reading took place over the course of a year. Our Sonlight bookstacks are impressive!
3. Serve Simple Snacks for the End of the Year Homeschool Showcase
Simple is the key here for me. You might be a baker extraordinaire. If you are, feel free to make a spread. Good food is always appropriate! However, if you’re like me, head to the store to pick up some cheese squares, pretzel sticks, and a tray of cookies. If I’m really feeling fancy, I’ll take the cookies out of the plastic container and arrange them on a platter!
4. Prep Your Kids Before the End of the Year Homeschool Showcase
Talk to your children beforehand about your expectations for them.
- Would you like them to greet the guests?
- Will they be speaking with their guests about their work?
- Would you like for them to recite memory work or make some sort of presentation?
Take a few minutes every day for a week or so to practice good conversation.
5. Invite Your Guests to Your End of the Year Homeschool Showcase
When we first began, we started out small by only inviting our grandparents, but then the kids wanted to invite our neighbor who we had been visiting. Then they wanted to invite their homeschool buddies. As you can imagine, it grew from there. Now, we have quite a crowd every year, and we love it! It’s one of the events that my kids look forward to the most.
It’s so funny. Every year when I’m preparing for our End-of-Year Showcase, I think to myself, “This year might be sparse. I don’t think we’ve done much.” But when I start pulling out their work and hanging it up, I see just how much we accomplished this year. It has quickly become one of my favorite events, too, giving me a boost at the end of the year to see all that my kids and I have done throughout the year. This tangible display of all we've done is great medicine for homeschool burnout, and it’s fun for everyone!
Sometimes, I’ll get everything ready while my kids are gone for the day or the evening before so that it will be a surprise when they see it. Their faces light up when they see their work so carefully displayed for everyone to see. It’s a moment that we all cherish and anticipate. Great work and progress is worth celebrating, and this has proven to be a great way for my family to celebrate! How do you celebrate the end of the year?
When you use Sonlight, you end the year with a collection of great books on your shelves. To find out more about Sonlight's unmatched Read-Alouds, and our complete book-based homeschool programs, order a complimentary copy of your catalog today.