Whether you are beginning school or just getting back into a new year or term, here are some basics that have helped us:
I do this at the end of the term, and a few days before school starts. The more prepared I am, the better my days flow. There is nothing more stressful than starting off “on the back foot”!
- prepare my files and notes
- fill in my planning pages
- organize all the books and downloads
- photocopy notebook pages and lapbooks
- rearrange the whiteboard and displays with new themes
- clear out and re-stock stationary and art and craft supplies
- sort and purge/ pack away the books and educational games we no longer use
I like to prepare my children and …
- mark off the start date on the calendar
- count down sleeps (for young children)
- have a “final fantastic fun holiday” day/ picnic/outing
- re-arrange their school desk and supplies
- write a welcome note and/or place a gift at each place
- have a “practice run” wake up, chores and breakfast the day before school
I like to start school on time and keep the basic schedule, but I prefer to start a new year with a “sampler day“:
- keep lessons to 10 minutes and no longer than 20 minutes each.
- do just a little really well
- do only the basics – Bible reading, song and prayer, followed by maths, dictation or copywork, language arts, spelling and reading
- have a nice tea time treat and a quick physical exercise or count & clap game
- do a core read aloud with a short narration (usually oral if children are young)
- I tell them that the next day/ week we may do 1 more subject or activity each day, but stop when it is lunchtime.
- It really doesn’t matter if you have not “done everything”. Within a short while, everyone will master the basics and have enough time to tackle longer assignments or activities and cover all the subjects for the week.
Most children are tired and
a little discouraged after they complete their first day. They have forgotten maths skills or “lost” their neat handwriting muscles during the break! This is when a read aloud really helps. We go to a comfy spot and snuggle up to listen to a story.
Have realistic expectations, but keep your hope and compassion high! Homeschoolers are so blessed – moms can give lots of cuddles, hugs and loving touches during difficult times.
When I try to establish new routine, I avoid all unnecessary outings, extra-murals and visits for a week. We stay home, keep things simple and focused and calm. I cook simple, nutritious meals and snacks, and we try to have early bedtime. When children go to bed happy, confident and calm, I find that they generally are more enthusiastic about new challenges. Starting school after a long break (or for the first time) is very stressful.
May you have happy new beginnings!