How we ended the school year well and kicked off summer

21 June 2022

June has wrapped up her first year of elementary school, which means we’ve been in transition-to-summer mode! Just as we marked the beginning of kindergarten, we wanted to mark its end as a family, too. She had a wonderful year with the best teacher and sweetest class – more than we prayed for by every measure – and so celebrating was easy. Here’s what we did:

1. June got to choose our meal. She chose spaghetti, which in our house means Rao’s sauce and frozen meatballs – easy easy. I added cheesy garlic bread (again, frozen), her dessert choice of chocolate lava cakes with vanilla ice cream and raspberries, and “special drink” (sparkling cider, which is the preferred beverage for every special occasion around here).

2. We set a fancy table. That pink gingham tablecloth has been my go-to for years. We added place cards by June, popsicle plates, taper candles, and flowers from our yard (!). Always love setting a table with my girl.

3. We read good words over her. We’ve started the tradition of asking her teachers to write a note each year in a picture book, and at dinner, we read their beautifully-encouraging words. She beamed the whole way through.

(We chose this book for the tradition. I looked at lots of options, and though I wouldn’t say this book is the absolute best story, it’s sweet, the illustrations are lovely, and the pages have enough negative space for notes. For message, my first choice would have been this book, but alas, there’s not enough space for notes on the pages.)

4. We brainstormed summer fun. Also at dinner, we went around the table and took turns adding adventures to our summer fun list. I’ll take the ideas and form them into a list we can print for the fridge in the next week or so.

5. We filled in her school years memory book. I ADORE this simple and lovely book. Over the weekend, she and I spent some time filling in the prompts for the end of the school year and adding photos and artwork.

6. We hung our summer calendars. I printed oversize prints of this free summer reading chart and this $5 summer calendar. The illustrations by Camp Castle are so sweet, and the extra-big size just makes them fun. June got busy coloring the edges while I filled in our plans for June, July, and August. Hanging a summer calendar was a game-changer in 2021, so doing it again was a no-brainer!

Happy first day of summer, friends! If you recently closed out a school year, did you mark it in a special way? I’d love to hear!

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June 26, 2022 9:16 am

How sweet is the book idea?! Looking back at these words from her teachers will be so sweet!
We left town the day after school was out, so I guess our Glamping trip marked the beginning of summer break, ha! But we did do a few of the things you mentioned (like brainstorming a summer fun list and printing that same reading chart :)) And, a few weeks into our summer break, those two sure pay off! Whenever they/we get bored, we either grab a book or do something from our summer fun list :)
Oh, and I went through all their school stuff from last year with each kid to decide on what to keep as a keepsake and it turned out to be a really special time. Hearing their stories that came with each craft or a them beaming at a teacher’s comment on a worksheet or the crumpled up note with sweet words from a friend. At first, I was determined to do this on my own (my kids tend to be hoarders, ha!), but I‘m glad I let them in.
Have a great summer, friend!

June 30, 2022 6:37 pm

I love this idea! I am taking notes for next year! Could you please share where your bamboo flatware is from?

July 11, 2022 9:31 pm

I downloaded the summer reading plan calendar and had it printed for my grandchildren. I got so many comments from the people at Staples about how cute it was and they all wanted to know where I got it. I will be delivering it to them this week. I know they will love it. I think I’ll get one for my great-niece too! Thank you for sharing!