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. Pingback: Inspiration for the New Year | Homeschool HUB

  2. 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 🙂


  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. 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


  5. 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.


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