Back to School Basics

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

Start Simple

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!


9 thoughts on “Back to School Basics

  1. Ahhhhhh I sigh a big relief. Thank you for your thoughts about this. it is such a great reminder to allow time for transitioning, to be gentle and wise allowing kids to be people and loving them through the challlenges. I am blessed to read this today.


  2. What a wonderful and very helpful post! Your approach to homeschooling and your schedule is similar to mine. I loved all your ideas and thank you for sharing them.

    May the Lord bless you and your precious family this coming school year.

    Under His Wings,

    from Colorado


  3. Nadene, Thank you for the sweet reminder! We are currently on summer holiday and I have begun to feel the tension as I think through all that I must accomplish before beginning our new school year. Thank you for your calming words. Many blessings to you also. Tami


  4. Nadene, I just LOVE your blog! I have popped in briefly a couple of times, but have only now had time to really have a look around and can’t believe what a valuable resource this is. Thank you for all your hard work and generosity!



    • @Shirley Ann, my absolute pleasure!
      @Tami Black Pilchard, enjoy the summer holidays! Having a few things planned and ready for the new school term gives one such peace.
      @springcreek, enjoy all the days up to your back to school date 🙂
      @Alex, @Malinda and @Karen – your confirmation is very encouraging!
      @Sarah, I’m so glad your heart is put at ease. It is a blessing to grow in this area of homeschooling – nurture and grace 🙂


  5. Pingback: Inspiration for the New Year | Homeschool HUB

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