Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special

I wrote this post, Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special, for Sonlight Curriculum.

While looking through a family photo album recently, Eliana, 11, said, "You've captured all the special moments. I wish you would have taken more photos of everyday life."

Surprised because I'm intentional about capturing day-to-day life, I looked through a few pages with her pointing out all the everyday things happening such as eating oatmeal at the breakfast table.

"OH! You make it all seem so special!"

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special

By taking photos, you can make routine moments special. In the same way, you can make ordinary homeschool moments special, too. When you document your story, you naturally tend to focus on what kind of life you want to live, so it becomes about living a more purposeful, intentional life.

An intentional homeschool life will look different for each family, but it might mean:

  • reading good books to your children ~ I can only remember one book from my childhood, so I want my children to have fond childhood memories of reading lots of books!
  • unplugging to plug into your childrenI want to give my children my undivided attention. Since putting my phone on do not disturb during the day, I am not easily distracted by it. 
  • tuning in to their individual learning styles to encourage positive growth ~ What a blessing to teach our children the best way for them. 
  • doing something special in your homeschool to create a memory ~ If you make it special, you will have a fond memory to look back on. These memories instill a deep value in my children. 
  • recording those memories to instill a sense of identity and self-worth in your child ~ Taking pictures and recording your child's life tells them they are special and helps create a healthy self-esteem which is vital to our relationship with others and with God.  I know that my children feel a stronger sense of who they are and how valued they are as a part of our family with these recorded memories and visual reminders of our life together.

What does it look like for your family?

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
I love these photos of Bo working on Developing the Early Learner from Sonlight Pre-K because they capture a variety of facial expressions. 

Ideas to Make Ordinary Homeschool Moments Special:

❤️ take a photo of your child with their Sonlight stack
❤️ wrap books, new school supplies, or a small gift to unwrap on the first day of school
❤️ create a back to school tradition
❤️ take a picture of your child on the first and last days of school
❤️ take a photo of your child with their favorite book (or stack of books) this year
❤️ celebrate accomplishments/milestones with a special family outing such as a picnic
❤️ make an End of Year Memory Book
❤️ read, recite, sing, or give a presentation at the family dinner table
❤️ have an "It's too nice outside to do school today" day or do school outside
❤️ establish patterns of rhythm, ritual, and rest in your homeschool day
❤️ create a silly tradition such as ice cream for dinner
❤️ equip your children with sketch pads, pencils, and watercolors and start a nature study
❤️ learn a new skill or handicraft or do a hands-on project together
❤️ have a science experiment day just for fun
❤️ play a game, or better yet, turn a lesson into a game
❤️ have tea time during your read-aloud time
❤️ plant a garden or grow something together
❤️ challenge your kids to read in an unusual reading spot
❤️ have a special day ~ pajama day, crazy hair day, opposite day, or dress up day
❤️ be totally random and pick a national day to celebrate such as national hot dog day
❤️ make a bucket list each season
❤️ make a "what I love about you" list for each other
❤️ document a day in the life or make a family movie
❤️ make a “documentary” to share what you are learning
❤️ pop popcorn to eat during a video lesson or documentary
❤️ celebrate the 1st, 100th, and last day of school with a party
❤️ create new family traditions centered around your homeschool
❤️ school year round so you can take more breaks
❤️ be an encourager
❤️ help your children find a worthwhile project they want to do and invest in it
❤️ give them plenty of time in the day to pursue their own interests and capture it on film.
❤️ host a book club
❤️ invite friends over to learn with you
❤️ celebrate growth and reflect on your year together
❤️ have a themed meal or party to celebrate something you learned this year
❤️ celebrate the completion of a year-long book
❤️ give out silly awards - perfect attendance, top of your class, book club member
❤️ make encouraging "report cards"
❤️ fill out the certificate at the end of your IG
❤️ take photos of everyday life
❤️ cuddle and hug your children, smile, and tell them you love them often

Documenting Your Homeschool Moments

You start each new school year with a fresh, clean, organized house and by the end, you have piles here and there — evidence of a productive school year such as school work, pictures, artwork, journal entries, and memorabilia.

You may have field trips, community experiences, extra-curricular activities, volunteer opportunities, and more experiences you want to remember.

You also have Sonlight Moments and conversations about books you don't want to forget.

Where to start?

Documenting your homeschool memories can be done ANY way you want. You invest many precious hours and days into homeschooling. Whether you are required to record keep in your state or not, it helps you and your children to see all you have accomplished!

When I first started homeschooling, I wrote notes right in my Sonlight IG and dated it. I slipped artwork, samples of their work, photos, and even newspaper clippings right into my IG and it became a scrapbook of our journey.

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
History / Bible / Literature B+C from our 1st year of homeschooling

There’s no doubt my Sonlight IG is the easiest way for me to document my children’s learning throughout the year. From the schedule grid and book list to reading logs and the boxes we've checked off and filled in, I have everything I need to track and monitor what my children have learned throughout the school year.

Of course, a big bulky binder is a cumbersome scrapbook so much of it will have to go. 

What to keep?

Keep just a handful of things such as your child's best pieces of art, a few handwriting samples, and of course, the awards, certificates, and any other pieces of “evidence” from their school year that tell their story.

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
Bo when he completed All About Spelling 1

Some of my kids are more sentimental than others, but I may be the most sentimental of all. So I begin with the end in mind and keep the memories I will treasure when my children are grown, and let them keep the memories they will treasure.

What do you want to remember the most?

If you are feeling especially sentimental and can't part with something, you can scan and shrink flat items you want to keep.

You may want to consider saving:

  • a sample of their best handwriting (and maybe a sample of their everyday writing, too)
  • a favorite Bible verse your child copied, illustrated, and memorized this year
  • a favorite poem handwritten and illustrated 
  • a math worksheet or page they are especially proud of or one with cute drawings and messages 
  • samples from the beginning of the year to compare to the end
  • creative expressions that reflect personal stories

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special

This year, I had each child pick a writing assignment to polish up, illustrate, and save. While looking over their papers for the year, we were happy to see how much our writing had improved. Eliana chose a paper from the beginning of the year, and it was fun to see how much she delighted in her growth. It will be fun to compare their best writing this year to the work they do next year. It also gives them a little nudge to do their best!

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
If you reduce an 8.5x11 to fit in a 4x6 slot, you can place it right in your scrapbook or photo album!

Scanning only works for flat items, so photograph the bulky stuff you want to remember and recycle what you can.

Here are a few Sonlight memories we've made over the years:

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
This year we did History / Bible / Literature B and G ~ Introduction to World History 1 with the little kids and World History 1 with the big kids.

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
Charlotte's Web with History / Bible / Literature B ~ memory making fun.

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
Making Tanghulars for Little Pear in History / Bible / Literature B ~ a memory making treat.

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
Everyday homeschool life with History / Bible / Literature A ~ Introduction to the World: Cultures with Malachi and Eliana

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
More everday life ~ Math, Language Arts 1, and Science A.

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
This is special to me because Eliana loved to make pancakes starting at the age of 6. I love looking back on their Sonlight Creative Expressions!

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
My Father's Dragon memory making snack + HBL HScience H 

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special
Our biggest Box Day ever ~ as tall as Dylan at age 13!

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special

Obviously, pictures are one of my favorite ways to document our homeschool memories! See more here!

To get good photos, use natural, indirect light from a window or open door. No flash. Place artwork or other items piece on a neutral floor or simple background. I like to use my wood coffee table, the kitchen table, a white foam board, or even a pine board.  Stand directly above the item for a nice straight-on shot. Focus and hold the camera steady for a clear, crisp picture, then shoot.

One of my favorite ways to document a project is to take a photo of my child holding his/her artwork. It’s fun to see them at the age/time they did the work, so I like to immediately take a photo when a project is completed for a more personalized photo.

Art with Artisitic Pursuits 

If you scan or photograph things, you don't have to feel bad about throwing stuff away, especially if you’re facing huge piles of stuff. So if you can't reuse or recycle it, throw it away. This is the hardest part for me because I'm sentimental, but it's worth it because it is freeing. I can focus less on stuff and focus more on making new memories.

If you need an easy way to document your school year, grab the End of Year Memory Book and have your kids fill it out. Be sure to include a few photos!

Keep it simple, stress-free, enjoyable, and fun!

I wish you all the best as you make everyday homeschool moments special. Thank you for sharing this journey with me!

Making Everyday Homeschool Moments Special

Homeschool memories are happy memories to make, keep, and share! Share yours on Instagram using the hashtag #sonlightstories!

Previously on Delightful Learning:


Are you in planning mode for next year? If you need help choosing your curriculum don’t forget the helpful Sonlight users on the Sonlight forums, or feel free to contact a Sonlight Curriculum Advisor via live chat.