End of the Year Wrap-up!

Y'all.  I am SO glad Sarah gave me the encouragement and push needed to get this done.  If she hadn't, it would've been one of those things that I never got around to but looked at longingly from my sea of way less necessary and way way less gratifying in the future chores.  I am so so happy I took the time to do this.  I guess this ridiculous amount of June rain is good for something after all!  My end of the year folders aren't elaborate but they are something that we will treasure.

Our cover pages:

(I know.  I should've used a darker bigger font.  Next time.)

David really wanted to do it as well so...

(I'm particularly fond of his hardest thing all year.  Ahem.  We'll still be working on that lesson for several more years to come, I think.)

I do have an ultra fancy banker's box for each of the boys shoved into their closet in which I dump lovingly place select artwork, awards, cards, etc.  But I've never done something this organized or specifically related to what they're learning.  This is good and I hope to keep doing it each year.

In each of their end of the year folders I placed samples of their writing, artwork and designs, and various awards and certificates from the year.  Next year I WILL keep better track of the books we've read.  It was supposed to happen this year but didn't.  I did do some but John Paul just blows through books so fast or only reads parts he is interested in so that I find it hard to keep up!

I also included in each folder a small bullet-pointed summary of their personal accomplishments and highlights of the year (shown below).  Going back in the blog was really helpful for that because there was a lot I had forgotten!  I decided to write out some of our family highlights since so much of our learning is done with the whole family and it's just plain neat to look back and see all the things we accomplished this year.  I'll throw a copy of that in each one, too, for memory's sake.

(Note to self:  Do this again!  Especially when you're feeling like you're a homeschool failure and that you have "nothing" to show for the year!)

2012-2013 School Year Highlights:

As a family we...

•took the adventure vacation trip of a lifetime where we:
-explored Red Rocks.
-visited the Tetons.
-camped in and explored Yellowstone.
-learned the geography and experienced the crazy variance of the Northwest terrain.
-toured a fish hatchery and hiked a waterfall.
-visited the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
-toured a cheese factory.
-saw Crater Lake and learned about geology and volcanoes.
-visited Salt Lake and camped in Utah.
-learned about the Gold Rush, mining, and went "prospecting."
-spent a day in Arches Park climbing and learning about erosion.
 -climbed and explored in the Rockies.
-attended a presidential political rally.
•listened to the entire audio version of Story of the World Volume One during our road trip.
•learned about and experienced a national election.
•had our most successful garden to date.
including our very first pumpkin patch!
planned and implemented an All Saints' Day party for local homeschoolers.
•raised turkeys and meat chickens.
•participated in a Jesse Tree ornament exchange.
•learned and lived the Corporal Works of Mercy during our Intentional Advent.
•For Lent and Advent earned enough money with our sacrifice activities to buy a water pump, food for a family for a month, forty chicks, a fruit tree, and two kerosene stoves.
•experienced a papal resignation, a papal election, and did a little unit study on the papacy itself.
visited the Botanical Gardens.
experimented again with dying Easter eggs naturally.
•Began this year's garden.
•read Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, and Farmer Boy.
Experienced the Niagara Power Vista.
Visited The Strong Museum of Play.

John Paul...

•learned cursive.
•completed IEW's Student Writing Intensive I.
•breezed through Singapore fourth grade math and began fifth grade math in April.
•finished three quarters of Latina Christiana.
•took classes studying the life and work of Tomie DePaola, art, gym, science, and American Sign Language.
•began piano lessons and is working through Suzuki Piano one at a very fast pace.
•listened to all of Story of the World volumes one AND two.
designed and built an air-powered gun and wrote it up in a blog post.
planned and executed a lemonade and produce stand.
•read anything and everything he could get his hands on.  Specific full books included From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler, Prince Caspian, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, most of the stories in our Hans Christian Anderson collection, Grimm's Fairy Tales, most of the Cornerstones of Freedom series, and most of the Childhood of Famous Americans series. 
•read aloud all of The Mistmantle Chronicles and The Hobbit with Mama.
•memorized several poems.
•wrote two poems.
•went camping in the Rockies with Papa and celebrated Father John's priestly ordination.
played on the Colorado Rockies baseball team, division 2A.
began archery lessons.


•learned basic reading, completing the entire Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book.
•began beginner readers including CHC's Little Stories, Frog and Toad, and Little Bear.
•completed Singapore 1A math.
•listened to all of Story of the World volumes one AND two.
•took classes studying art, science, the history of New York State, safety, and gym at the Homeschool Resource Center.
•memorized several poems from the IEW Poetry Memorization program.
•learned the Angelus, the Regina Caeli and several Latin prayers.
•went camping with Papa in the Rockies and celebrated Father John's priestly ordination.
•played on the Cubs tee ball team.
•began archery lessons.


•was desperate to begin his own lessons so...
•completed through Lesson 22 of Teach Your Child to Read.
•began beginning handwriting.
•began kindergarten math at his request.
•listened to much of Story of the World.
•memorized several poems from the IEW Poetry Memorization program.

I had Brian print the cover pages with his work printer so they could be in color.  The quality wasn't the greatest but they'll do, I think.

You can head on over to Sarah's to see more.  And dear Sarah, my present and future self thank you for the idea and encouragement!


  1. What a wonderful idea!!! It is very impressive when you compile a list of what you accomplished in a year. The lists add so much more than just saved projects. Your boys of the future will appreciate that you did this.
    Grandma & Grumpy

  2. Love!!! I really love that David's favorite story was David and Goliath. :) and seriously- John Paul's workload is IMPRESSIVE. He could keep up with my oldest!

  3. I love this idea, Mary (or should I say Sarah?). I need to take some time to do this.

  4. Tell David that I have a hard time "not saying no" too. : )

    These are wonderful!

    Many blessings,


    1. I know, right?!? Me too. I think maybe I just figured out where he gets it from :)

  5. Great idea .... And I love the pictures of the boys:)

  6. Wow, you homeschooling mamas are incredible! What a lovely treasure for you and your boys to look back on as they grow. I also took a peek at your Intentional Advent posts and they're incredibly inspiring. It's exactly the type of thing I'd love to use for my catechism students next year to help them be more mindful. I know next Advent is pretty far away but I hope you don't mind if I squirrel away some of your ideas for class.


    1. Not at all! It makes me so happy if something here can help someone else!

  7. Beautiful! Yeah, my son's response to the hardest thing was "not huffing and puffing". When he's asked to do something, that is.

  8. Beautiful pictures of the boys - they're not too photogenic! What a great idea to record the year's progress in this way. See, you really have accomplished a ton this year! And yes, I can vouch that David gets his "no" gene from his maternal side...

  9. Boy, these came out super cute. David's in particular... so sweet. It's hard not to say 'NO'. LOL

    God bless.


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