Take time to Start Looking Back

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  • Tristan

    Ladies, I just wanted to encourage you to do something in the next week. Take some time to look back at the beginning of the school year and remember what your children were doing. Think about the things you’ve done together this year and how much you truly have accomplished. Get some perspective. It is so easy to forget just how far we’ve gone!

    I started this process after breakfast this morning. My first task – have the kids clean out their backpacks. They each have a backpack where they can keep their personal papers from the year. They pull them out and exclaim over them, then put the papers in a file folder for me. They see history narrations (notebooking) they’ve made and comment on the things we read. We open their math book and go to lesson 1. We pull out sample pages from the entire year  (I’m ultimately using these for a portfolio for the state I’m in). They laugh at what ‘easy’ math they were doing at the beginning of the year and I remind them how hard it was when they first tried it.

    I’ve taught an art class with one other family most of the year and after hanging their artwork for a couple weeks it has been stashed in a large artist portfolio, so we pulled out the stacks of art and they helped me sort through to find their own pieces. Each child had a stack of projects with lots of fun memories attached.

    I will get on the computer to print out final copies of writing projects they’ve worked on this year.

    I will sit and write a paragraph for each subject for each child sharing my memories of what we did and what they’ve learned in subjects that didn’t produce paper (for example, I’ll make a list of books they read and discussed for literature, and notes about our science studies and experiments).

    With a large family this may take me a bit longer than a week…but it is worth it! Each year I am reminded how small, consistent efforts over time bring us so far. It doesn’t seem like we’re accomplishing a lot in our simple daily work, but it adds up.



    Tristan, thank you so much for the reminder to do this. I so often focus on what we didn’t get done or how slow our progress is, it’s nice to remember how far we’ve actually come.


    I love doing this, and the kids have so much fun looking back too.

    I keep a 1″ binder for each year of school, plus an art portfolio pocket. Each trimester I go through their work and pull out samples of their work (almost like if I was to prepare a portfolio showing their work) to put in the binder (so instead of waiting until the end of the year I do it 3 times/year). At the end of the year it is so much fun to look back over their progress instead of getting caught up in where I think we should be.

    It is also so helpful as the younger ones are moving up, to keep my expectations in perspective. I can look at what the older ones were doing at the same age and remind myself that the younger one is doing great. It is so easy to forget what each grade/age/ability is when focused on the older ones.

    The kids like to look back at their binders too. The other day my DD pulled down her 1st grade binder and was laughing at some of it, and saying “I can’t believe that is how I used to write” or “that was when math was easy, but I didn’t think it was at the time” 🙂


    It’s so true!  Even for me to quickly look back and think about what my two youngest kids were capable of reading when school started in the fall – compared to where they are now – makes me realize and appreciate what gains they have made this year.

    Math, too, is an easy subject to judge.  My youngest two are now doing multiplication.  Wow!

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