Tuesday 21st December saw the Hayes family have our very first Celebration Dinner. What were we celebrating? A successful completion of our home school year. It’s an idea that we unashamedly stole from our home schooling friends and adapted to suit our family. You can read all about the details of the certificates, reports etc at the end of this post, but to start off here is what we did on the evening itself.
The kids planned their special celebration dinner menu. The requests were easy to handle – cottage pie; the forbidden coke and special yummy chocolate-filled ice-cream. That I could do.
Dad came home early for a swim with the kids. Then it was a quick change into something smartish for they were to present dad with their mini-year end "concert". They had prepared a little sample of some of the things they had learnt in the year, including a few scripture verses, a poem and some Xhosa songs. My perfectionist self would have loved to have practised this with them until they had it "performance perfect". Certainly, an edited version would create a more polished looking product. But, why? This little video of their performance for dad is all them in all their childishness and all their sinfulness and all their strengths and all their weaknesses. The performance perfect version may serve to stroke my ego now, but this performance serves to remind us all that we’re human and I will most definitely look back on it in years to come with nostalgia and, most likely, a few tears of hilarious laughter too!
I hope you enjoy their little unpolished and unedited performance for dad here:
Supper followed their performance, but first – gift opening time! The girls each got a lovely baking book and Sam a book on pirates! (Here’s an aside – the Book People in Diepriver sell excellent books for really great prices normally. But, in December they have a HUGE sale of all their overruns and shop soiled books. No book is more than R50. I got these normally R120 books, which would sell for R200 at Exclusive Books, for R50 each. I got loads of other excellent books from as little as R10 each! Definitely worth sharing!)
The excitement was bubbling over as quickly as the Coke!
Micah was especially delighted with his forbidden fare:
After dinner came the special awards. Sam first up – Dad talked about how proud he was of his little boy. The delight on his face brought tears to my eyes!
Then Katie next. More words and congratulations. She received her Sonlight certificates for completing Core 1 and Science 1 and the first three books of her I Can Read It series from me. Craig, as dad and principal, gave her her official year end certificate. These little smiles are so full of happiness and joy!
And then – Kiera. Mom first presented her Sonlight certificates – for Core 1, Science 1 and Language Arts 2 intermediate. And then, the big certificate…. Such seriousness in that first photo as she listens to her dad read to her from her certificate. Then a handshake of such happiness!
After our yummy icecream dessert (chopped up chocolate, smarties, jellybeans, mint aero etc in vanilla ice-cream – a la Sally style) we gave them their last gift. They’re all into cowboy things lately, thanks to Kiera’s craze. We spotted these cowboy hats in our local Chinese shop, Yu Tom, a while back. At R25 each, they were dirt cheap, so we got one each for our budding scholars to enjoy during their holidays!
Report and Portfolio Summary: An inside look…
There are certain things that I love about formal schooling. I love uniforms. Yes. I do. I love formal functions like prizegiving, school plays, galas and athletics events. I even love report cards and certificates. I know that many home schoolers are glad to be free of these things, and in some ways I am. But, while I am convinced that home schooling is a really fantastic schooling option and I am thrilled that my kids get to experience this path, I admit that I am sad that they don’t get to experience some of the things that formal schools do – at least, not experience them to the same degree.
But, not all is lost. We have our own homeschooling athletics days, get involved in other activities and even have the opportunities to attend our own homeschooling prize giving and eisteddfod events thanks to the organisation skills of the Cape Home Educators committee. And, as far as reports and certificates go – we can create our own.
Some friends of mine in the homeschooling world have made the year-end a special time for their kids by giving them a celebration dinner, complete with reports/certificates and even a little gift. We’ve not done anything like that yet, but this year I really wanted to recognise my kiddoes’ hard work throughout the year. And, it doesn’t hurt to have a few things on record.
Well, the idea started out as a simple dinner with certificates and then turned into yet another mammoth task as the planning took on a life of its own. Deciding to combine their reports with their portfolio for the year (portfolio – sample of their work, activities and achievements) meant that a lot of time and effort went into the final product. Eventually, I put all their certificates; a summary report of their work, activities and achievements; samples of their written work; photographs of their artwork and photographs highlighting their activities and homeschooling moments from the year into a special folder for themselves. Then I duplicated all that information into a bigger folder for their Foundation Phase portfolio, with the aim to include everything they do from Grade R – Grade 3 for future reference. I included things like their attitude and attendance charts and their self-assessments in that folder.
In planning their special certificates, I ended up designing a special badge/coat of arms for our little homeschool. It’s completely corny, I know. But as I mentioned in a previous post on the subject … I love it, cheesy or not! The symbols are as follows:
- Lion: Courage and Strength,
- Cross: Faith and Trust;
- Flower: Hope and Joy;
- Eagle: Justice and Mercy.
- "Dieu me conduise" is a variant of the original Hayes motto which means "God guide me!"
I think that the idea of God guiding us and giving us courage and strength to keep trusting Him, growing in our faith with hope and joy and exhibiting justice and mercy is a pretty cool way to approach our lives!
Here is a little peek into some of the pages from Kiera’s portfolio: