I love celebrating progress in our homeschool. I love to throw a party! So one of the highlights of our homeschool year are our unit celebrations.
I use “unit celebrations” loosely. Our curriculum recommends celebrating after each 9 week unit. But I honestly can’t pull off more than 2 parties a year. So we usually celebrate midyear and end of year. It’s less work for me and yet still creates those special memories that I love about homeschooling.
5 reasons for celebrating progress with a “unit” party
- a chance to review and recap: This is our cumulative review, but so much more fun than the pressure of a big exam. We have some kind of game that reviews all the content we’ve covered so far; the kids study diligently for these games because their rival opponent—is Dad!
- a chance to include Dad: Our “unit” parties are a highlight for my husband as well. It’s a great time for him to interact with the kids and what they are learning, gives him an opportunity to see all that we’ve done, and allows him the platform to praise their accomplishments. And the trivia game is serious business. Dad reviews the questions for about 5-10 minutes before the game begins, and then—it’s on: the kids against Dad! (or youngest child + Dad against the olders) Sometimes, team names are chosen, and that is usually hilarious, too. One thing about a household of creative, out-going, ADHD family is that drama and humor abounds! My family is flat-out funny. I love them!
- a chance to positively report progress: I hand out report cards at the party. The kids see them at the same time Dad does. As part of the report card, I include not just their grades but a summary of some of the character they’ve shown and an area for progress. Dad looks over the report with the child, reads the character report outloud, and praises and affirms that child.
- a chance to display and perform: The kids are often in charge of the program for the evening, though I do offer a few suggestions. Notebooks with the kids projects are usually on display, and then the kids have an opportunity to perform something they’ve worked on: a puppet show, a song, a speech from a President, a poem, a report, etc.
- a chance to create memories: Over the years, we’ve made some really terrific memories. We remember ancient history four years ago because of the huge poster-sized map my son colored and dramatically re-enacted Scipio and Hannibal with his plastic army men. We remember wrapping plastic cups in aluminum foil to make goblets for our Medieval Feast. We remember singing “Get your Kicks on Route 66” and our hobo dinner in the garage. And we will never forget our hippy party, perhaps our all-time favorite!
The kids are already asking about this term’s party and making big plans: an ancient history Headbanz game, a puppet show, some poetry (“Ozymandias”), and maybe some Christmas cookies. It’s the kind of thing that allows me to look back on all the hard work and struggles of the last few months and say, “This. This is why I homeschool. This makes it all worth while!”