Our End of the School Year Project and Other Homeschool Ramblings

We’re nearing the end of the school year. Our first as homeschoolers!

I think the final day will be May 31st, then we’ll take a bit off before launching into 1st grade. Honestly, I’m a little torn on when to kick off our next school year, so, weigh in …

I’m due September 8th with baby 4. So, I’ll be giving birth and recovering right at the beginning of what would be our school year. Most schools around here start the Wednesday after Labor Day. Jemma is definitely self-directed and a school lover so as long as I set her up, she can probably somewhat school herself while I adjust to a new little one. But, then I thought, maybe we should just school through the summer and take off a bit in the Fall. So, do we finish Kindergarten on the 31st, plan a long weekend of fun and roll into 1st grade the following week? Or, do we enjoy summer and kick off 1st grade in late August/early September despite not knowing when baby will arrive and how that might throw off our routine?

Obviously this is one of the HUGE benefits of homeschooling — we get to pick what works for us! But, my pregnancy indecisiveness has had me mulling over these options for weeks and I still can’t decide!

Chime in with what you think and while you do I’ll brag on my crew for their end of the year project!

painted lady butterflies

Our coop announced a display night in conjunction with the graduation ceremony they host a few weeks ago. The kids could share anything they’d learned over the year and since we were in the midst of hatching butterflies, we decided to focus our display on the life cycle of painted lady butterflies!

As you can probably tell, I LOVE creating backboards. I always have. Jemma seems to have inherited that love because as soon as we rolled into Hobby Lobby for supplies she got giddy over creating a giant art project :)

I explained how the title board worked and that we wanted to include a mix of art, facts, photos, and other resources on our topic. She chose a blue backboard “for the sky” and backed all our pieces in orange and black to coordinate with the butterflies she and Max painted.

Here’s the scoop on what all we used for this unit:

Other than our caterpillars and the dress-up wings, everything was FREE! And in regard to creativity, we only “made up” two elements of our unit/display. Everything else was found through Pinterest (and pinned on our homeschool board). Because … why reinvent the wheel?!?

I will admit, the two pieces we created were the most popular. One, the timeline that Jemma mapped and wrote in her handwriting based on the details she noted in her observation booklet and two, the “Facts By Jemma” and “Facts By Max”. That was kind of a last minute thing when we realized that we had more space than we imagined on our backboard. All I did was ask the kids to share in their own words facts that they had learned from our giant stack of library books. It was the perfect addition!

Jemma is pretty stuck on the fact that painted lady and monarch butterflies are different in many, many ways! We watched a documentary on monarch’s migration to Mexico and I’ve never seen a kindergartener so entranced. Max, on the other hand, is all about how butterflies can potentially die. Spiders and their wings getting wet being the primary “PRED-ators”. 

At display night, Jemma, in her true form, felt quite shy in front of so many people and stood by her board for a few minutes here and there. Max, who didn’t care a stitch about the board development, manned it for over an hour! He answered questions, told people to read “all da facts from me and my sister” and made sure everyone knew that he was wearing all black “wike a PRED-ator spider”. It was a hoot! He’s like his Dad in so many ways and it’s adorable!

So, that’s that! Jemma has already finished her kindergarten workbooks so these days were just working to reinforce what she has learned with math practice, handwriting, lots of reading, and some fun extras! Stay tuned for everything we have planned for 1st grade (via a video I think!) and pretty please let me know what you think would be best for this whole September due date conundrum.

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  1. says

    I have pondered the same dilemma- I’m due in September as well and would typically start school after Labor Day too. I’m thinking I’m going to start at the beginning of August to give us a few weeks head start and then we can take days/weeks off as necessary after baby arrives. We’ll see how it goes! If we get too behind we can always make up in all sorts of ways- the other homeschooling perk!

  2. says

    We are in the same boat! Our little one will most likely arrive mid/late September AND our second born will be starting kindergarten, joining her older brother who will be in second grade (our third, who is 2.5 yrs, will be at home some days at a small preschool two or three mornings a week) at home. Do I wait? Do I start, then take a break, then restart? I’m leaning towards explaining to the kids about how baby will arrive and things will be different but we still expect some basic things from them regarding homeschool (a specific workbook they are comfortable with doing on their own, reading some pages from an easy-to-read book). I’m hoping we have a few weeks to get in a rhythm and then when the baby comes, the older two can at least do the bare minimum for awhile until we figure out life (and school!) as a family of six.

  3. Darah says

    Here’s what we’ve done: I was due with Juniper mid July so we stopped school at the end of June and then kind of enjoyed our summer and restarted in late August. So that was when the big kids were 7 and 4.
    Then when Cort was born and we had a 9, 5, and 2 year old he was due early October. We did a 3-4 week chunk starting in August and then didn’t start again until early November.
    I should add that we live in Iowa and have no reporting requirements.
    Here’s the thing though, when both babies were born and I was totally ignoring the “school” aspect of our lives the other kids had massive developmental and cognitive leaps. Like massive- to the point that I needed to reassess what I was doing for the rest of the year.

    Take some time to enjoy becoming a family of 6 and also seriously enjoy your last summer as 5.