Starting School ~ those first days …

Many moms around the world worry about the first days of school.https://i0.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2499/3928914499_43366dcce7_z.jpg

Homeschool moms worry about starting homeschool too.

New homeschool moms worry even more.

May I offer some gentle advice?
  • Just start slowly.
  • Don’t try do the complete schedule.
  • Ease into your schooling.
  • Go gently.

(Just remember that the professional teachers spend much of their first weeks of school doing orientation; they hand out new books, explain note-taking, give an overview.  They don’t jump straight in with the full program.)

Here’s some tips (that I still use after all these years …):

Set up your school area the night before:

(I like to do this as a surprise for the kids!)

  • Put tables, stationary and books/workboxes/or files in order.
  • Write a welcome note on the whiteboard or prayerfully write to each child and place a personal note on each child’s place.
  • Arrange the CD and music player ready with your song or praise and worship for circle time.
  • Get into a simple “Early to bed & early to rise” routine.  Chat and pray with each child before bedtime.

On your first day:

  • Wake half an hour earlier than the family, make yourself a cup of tea, have your quiet time and pray.  Commit your plans to the Lord and surrender all to Him.
  • Gently wake the kids and get them into their morning routine and chores.  (I like to have a “test-run” a day before school and start the school morning routine a day earlier than the actual day.)
  • Have a simple but nutritious breakfast, or go ahead and make it something special!
  • At the agreed starting time, start school.
  • I like to start each year in a circle or on the couches.  Start with a chat about the year, the themes, some planned highlights and goals.  Let the kids talk about what they expect, what they are afraid of, what they look forward to. Ask them to use one word descriptions to express the qualities they want to see from their mom/ teacher and of themselves. (We wrote all these words on a page and stuck it on the board.)
  • Then pray about all these things.
  • Sing and learn a memory verse for the week.  Make it fun!  Chose something really simple and easy.
  • Now chose what you will do the first week.  Either just do some basics3Rs (Maths, Reading and Handwriting) or just do your Core (History, Literature study)for the first week.  Tell them that next week you’ll add the rest of the subjects, but this week they must just do their very best with the easy schedule.  (They may beg you to do it all!  If they seem relaxed and the work done was excellent, then, by all means, do your full plan.)  If things are really awful and stressed, just cuddle and read together
  • Try have a lovely tea break with some healthy snacks.
  • Include some fun & games in between lessons if they get fidgety.

Make these precious moments matter:

  • Take some “First Day” photos of each child.
  • Prepare a special breakfast.
  • Ask Dad to give a “Welcome To School” speech. (My hubby is our homeschool “Principal”!)
  • Give each child a small gift – some stationary/ stickers/ new hair accessories for their first day.

I trust this encourages you.

Blessings as you plunge in,

10 thoughts on “Starting School ~ those first days …

  1. Thanks as always, Nadene, for a timely post! I’m recovering from several months of illness and fighting the urge to “load up and catch up” as we start back. Your suggestions helped steer me towards a better plan of action that (hopefully) won’t end up with me on total bedrest again.

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  2. This is such a wonderful reminder, even to us “old time” homeschooling moms. We are in the US, and so January 3rd saw us returning from Christmas break to the second half of our year… and yet after even a week off, it can feel like starting again!

    For those who are just starting, I’d only add that the first day – or the first day back – can be emotional and tiring for everyone. I have learned to anticipate some tears as the discipline of staying focused is reintroduced (however lovingly). I also plan an easy day, filled with favorite stories and lots of review. The week before school starts I keep the schoolroom closed from children’s eyes. And on the first day, with the room completely (well, mostly) ready, the kids enter and find their “schuletute” (German for school cones) – little school supplies and treats that they look forward to every year. And we end the first day with frozen yogurt or some other treat.

    All these – covered in prayer – make our days back go as smoothly as we can.

    Thanks for all your encouragement and your generous sharing of resources. I love having a post from practical pages show up in my inbox!

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  3. How encouraging! I’m a homeschool graduate, and my husband and I plan on homeschooling our children. Our only one is 11 months old right now, so it’ll be awhile, but I look forward to using wonderful resources like this blog someday.🙂

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  4. Hi Nadene,
    What a wonderful post! I’m not a homeschooler and don’t konw if I’ll ever be one… my baby is only 4 months old, but I love your creative ideas! Your suggestions really make things special and more fun🙂.

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  5. Pingback: New Year Preparations | Practical Pages

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