As we close on our first week of our 12th homeschool year, I’m here to reflect on some of the best ways to get the homeschool year off to a good start. Even if you homeschool all year, usually summer still has a different schedule than fall. Maybe not, but I have found it typically does. So, the fall brings us to the more structured school year. Starting out the right way sets the tone for the year ahead. Here are some of the traditions and practices we use to get the homeschool year started right.
Plan and Organize
Starting out the year with a plan and organized is the best way to get the year started out right. I mean, doesn’t it feel good to have everything organized? Are you the queen of procrastination? I can be. So I always think I’ll get it together next week, then next week comes and goes. So, making sure I have a plan for the year and a plan for organization is imperative for our homeschool success.
So how do I plan and organize?
Map it out – You want to have a general idea of how your homeschool year will go. Consider the subjects you will cover with each student, what curriculum you plan to use, and generally what your daily schedule will look like. Then get your start date on the calendar.
Everything is ready to go – You want to have your curriculum purchased, supplies ready, and workspace planned out. Running around trying to find pencils, paper, and books will certainly make for stressful day.
Where will you do your homeschool day? – Do you have a homeschool room? Great, make sure it’s cleaned up and ready to go. No homeschool room? That’s ok, where will you do the most of your homeschool? Your dining room table, the loft, your living room couch? Whatever it is, have it planned and have the space ready to go. Pillows on the floor. Book baskets nearby. A plan where to keep all the homeschool books and supplies ready and available.
Have a family meeting – The first day of school for us is a fun day. We do traditions like a special breakfast, do our first day of school pictures, get all our supplies out and look at them, check out our books and talk about what we are studying this year, discuss music lessons, sports, and extracurricular activities, discuss co-op schedules, and talk about the goals of the year. We usually talk about which field trips the kids are interested in this year as well. (I let them each chose one they want for the year.) This is the best way for our family to make sure we are all on the same page. Then we head out for a fun fieldtrip, park trip, or lunch.
Don’t be afraid to start your year off slow. Whether you school all year or took the summer off, it’s a good idea to start slow. We start the year with the basics and then add in extras after a week or two of getting the hang of the other subjects. It works well and doesn’t overwhelm them.
Things to Consider
The first week does NOT have to be a 5 day week. We I mentioned we start on a Thursday or Friday and do a light, fun first day, and a mild second day then a break and then start a full week
Start with a few subjects As I mentioned, we start with the basics and then add in extras like Latin, Heath, etc after a week. However, if you kids are excited about a particular subject, get started with it. You want them to be excited!
Keep it fun. I don’t push the kids too hard the first week or so. I keep the assignments not too time consuming and not too rigorous. And I definitely add in a fun reading and a science experiment. Art is good too for some.
One of the best ways to start back to school in a fun way is to have traditions. The kids will remember the little things like that for every year and look forward to them. Think about Christmas family traditions, are there some your kids look forward to? Just something little like reading a particular book or eating a particular meal? This is how you can start your homeschool year too. As I mentioned, we don’t do much work on the first day of school, it’s more of a goal setting, planning family meeting for the homeschool year. But we have our traditions. We don’t do a lot of donuts in our home. It’s more of a thing that happens when we are somewhere else EXCEPT for the first day of school. Then they get a donut breakfast. I realize it isn’t healthy but did I mention we aren’t doing much actual school 😊 Then we do a field trip on the first day or school and have fun!
We use the back to homeschool time as a time to celebrate. We talk about how we get to stay together as a family and how special this time is. We celebrate our time together homescholing and learning together.
And, after the first week has come and gone, make sure you are keeping it fun. Add in fun activities, field trips, and outdoor time. Keep the excitement and fun throughout the school year. It can be hard sometimes but, with planning, you can keep it fun.
Back to school time is such a fun time of the year. Organizing and planning for your year, setting up your homeschool space, and starting off with fun activities and traditions can really get your homeschool year started right. Starting off right gets you and your kiddos ready for a great year ahead.
How do you start off your homeschool year?