Finishing Strong with your Homeschool

Hang in there! You are so close to finishing the school year. This last couple of weeks can be some of the toughest as you near the end of school. The finish line is in sight, just keep going!

You may be seeing that you have more textbook to finish than school days. Don’t panic. Here is something to consider: Will some of these topics be covered again next year? They most likely are since the first couple of lessons typically review previous concepts. If not, then concentrate on teaching this. You can also start your school year with things you didn’t finish this year if they are foundational. Many times you will see that the lessons towards the end of the year are review of what has been learned.

Switch up your schedule. Routine can get b-o-r-i-n-g. What about instead of doing math first you start with a read aloud or a baking lesson? I like the baking lesson because you can be learning about measurement, some chemistry, and fixing breakfast. 🙂

Reflect with your son/daughter what they have accomplished this year. Did they learn to read? Was division hard for them and now it is easier?

Countdown! Make a tear away calendar so that you and your child can count down the number of days you have left. It’s motivating to see there are fewer days and a break is in sight.

Celebrate with your child! Once you finish have one big We Did It day. Pack a picnic lunch, go to the park, and finish it off with a favorite dessert. Or, do whatever is fun for your family.

I am celebrating with you! Congratulations as you complete this school year. While assessments have been waived this year, I am still meeting virtually with families. If you are interested you can sign up by going to

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

End of the School Year Considerations

The end of the traditional school year is quickly approaching and you may be wondering what to do to finish the school year. Here are some things I liked to do when there were about six weeks left.

Check to see if all areas of study have been covered. If your child is still struggling with multiplication, then review over the summer with fun ways to continue to keep those facts fresh. (Concentration, matching product to problem, playing the card game War, race mom to see who can skip count fastest)

If there are still new concepts to be covered, then be sure to teach these before the end of the year.

Although assessments have been waived again this year, perhaps doing a standardized test such as the California Achievement Test or having a teacher assessment will give you guidance for next year and help you with decision making for next year.

End your year with a celebration! Your child(ren)has worked hard and so have you! The party can be planned by your daughter/son. it can be a simple dinner of pizza and a favorite dessert followed by a family movie or an activity. You can reflect on the year with accomplishments and areas that you saw progress. Everyone wants to feel that they are successful.

Consider assigning schoolwork over the summer. My sons would have to read and do some math several days a week. They could read books that interested them, sometimes it was comic books (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts), joke books, a book about an animal, etc. I allowed them to pick out what they wanted to read and no book reports were assigned. 🙂

Have a great week! ~ Lisa ~

Busy Jar

Having things to do for your children after they complete school can be a challenge. Creating a Busy Jar can help. Write activities on pieces of paper and place all of them in a Busy Jar. Your child(ren) can pull out one from the jar to do. Here are some activities for your jar. another benefit to this is that it can be considered school. (art, science, language arts)

Build a fort.

Paint a self portrait.

Write a play and act it out.

Make cards for: nursing homes; veterans; family; friends; neighbors

Using a roll of paper, create a comic strip or storyline. One person writes, the next person draws/ writes a line, the the next person does the same.

Draw a design on a piece of paper and then hand it to the next person. They add to the design. Continue around to the rest of the group until it returns to its creator. You get some fun and crazy things!


Make a maze or marble tower out of a cardboard box and paper towel rolls.

Air dry clay- create a sculpture and paint a few days later.

Make goop.

Make slime.

Blow bubbles and see if you can pop all of them before they land.

Google Lego 30 Day Challenge and choose your favorite prompts.

Choose a theme and make a photo collage with words/ pictures. (ex; pictures that have red in them; all pictures begin with a certain letter, etc.)

Learn to say your name and a few phrases in sign language.

Hide an object and draw a pirate map to its location.

Create a stuffed animal zoo.

Play flashlight Hide and Seek.

Create window art.

Using a map, close your eyes and point to a place. Now, figure out the roads you will use to get there. What places would you like to visit along the way?

Write a song or create a cheer about a topic without using the word.

Dance for three songs in a row.

Create a new board game (This can stretch out over weeks if you like. They have to write the rules/ directions, draw and color the board, play the game.)

Have relay races inside or outside.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Testing Options for Homeschooling

Last week I wrote about the homeschool Written Assessment option if you are interested in learning more about that. This week I am addressing Option 1 for yearly assessments: testing. The requirement is that you must have your student take a nationally normed test. There are several from which to choose: California Achievement Test; The IOWA Test of Basic Skills, and the Stanford Achievement Test. I located a comprehensive comparison chart so you can determine which test is best for your family’s needs. Standardized Tests Comparison Chart.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering testing:

Is your student reading well? I would not have a child take a standardized test if they are not reading independently or are not good listeners. In the younger grades, students read parts of it and also have portions of the tests read to them, but when they are in third grade they read all of it independently.

Some tests are not available for the primary grades. Be sure to check.

For some of the tests you order a specific test based upon the time of year. Students are expected to have acquired more knowledge at the end of the year as opposed to the beginning of the year.

Check the guidelines and whether you can administer the test yourself or if you have to have someone else administer it.

Consider the length of time for the test. Online is different than paper, and some tests have a shorter period in which you can administer the test.

Is there a deadline when your student can take the test?

See how quickly you get the results. There can be a spring rush and take more time to get the test results.

Where do I order tests? Here are two reputable testing companies from which to order tests. BJU Press or Seton Testing

Once you have your student’s results, you can fill out this form and return with next year’s notification form if you are going to continue to homeschool. Option #1

If your student is returning to school then you do not need to test or do a homeschool assessment. You enroll your student and the school will determine what placement testing they would like to do, if anything.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Gratitude/ Attitude Jar

If you are like me, you are beginning school again this week. It’s easy to lose sight of why you homeschool when January rolls around because no one likes to start back after having a break. How about combining a bit of art, writing and character traits to create a gratitude/ attitude jar? Here is what you will need:

1 jar

slips of paper

a pencil or pen

ribbon, jute, or wrapping paper cut down to size to fit around the outside of the lip of the jar

Give each person 3-5 slips of paper and write one thing you are thankful on each of the slips. Fold the paper and put into the jar. Once a week you can pull out one of the pieces of paper and read it aloud and discuss what is on the paper. You can replenish the jar throughout the year, especially if you have had a fun time doing something or have gone somewhere. When you stop to be thankful for something it really does help lighten your mood and focus on what is important.

If you are feel exceptionally “craftsy” then you can decoupage the outside of the paper with strips of tissue paper to create a stained glass effect.

It sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it, until you have your daughter/ son begin to write down items. I can think of several things that might spark some ideas for writing.

I am grateful for: a sibling (no fair using all three slips of paper if you have several children), holiday, parents, pet, a special vacation, toy, game, relative, a favorite memory, best loved season, thing to do, book, a memory verse

Have a great week! I am thankful for you following my blog. 🙂 ~Lisa~