So, you’ve reorganized the book shelves and sharpened all the pencils. You even added a white board and a time line on the wall this year!
Made up those schedules? Check!
Updated the menu plan? Check!
A new year in homeschool is about to begin!
Especially if you’ve been on break for a while, the first day back is very exciting — both for parents and their kids. Bravo on your planning efforts and making everything so special for your very first day!
Although you’re already set up for success, let me throw out another list of things some parents forget. Don’t worry if school has already started, cause it’s never too late to implement new things any time of year!
1. Notice what your kids have been reading.
In their space time, that is. While you’re at it, notice what they look at in book stores, watch on television, or talk about with their friends. These are interests (a/k/a study material) for the rest of the year. Score!
2. Hang things in conspicuous places.
Have a child struggling with letter formation? Hang a chart above his/her desk, on the back of a cereal box or even in the bathroom. It’s amazing how staring at something makes a difference after seeing it for a while. Can you say ‘effortless learning’?
3. Go hunting and gathering in your home.
If you’re a treasure hunter like me, it’s easy to forget all the goodies that are stashed in different places around the house. Remember the safety goggles you bought on clearance last year? What about those great stickers and pencil toppers you found at the spring convention? Root around drawers and closets and round up all the cool stuff you wanted to use this year. This is fun, plus it helps uncover other goodies you didn’t even think of using in school either (think: measuring cups, eye droppers, fun containers, and more).
4. Create an Inbox for yourself.
Where do your kiddos drop the stuff they want you to see? On the kitchen counter? (You mean on top of that growing stack of stuff that is already there?) On your desk? (Under your keyboard where you never see it?) Buy, create or identify a box, tote, file organizer or other place and put a giant label on it. Make sure the kiddies know what it is. Never miss anything important again!
5. Figure out things they can do together. And alone.
I won’t bore you with details. Just know, you’ll thank me later. Every parent with more than one child should make a list of activities the children can do together (without bothering you). Every parent of only one child should make a list of activities the child can do alone (without bothering you). Enough said.
6. Make a kit for the car.
It can be whatever you want. Find a box, bag or bin, then fill it with stuff the children can use in the car. Ideas include office supplies, drawing supplies, snacks, music, small (non-messy) kits, a writing surface, small toys, plus anything else. Leave it in there. Swap things out from time to time. (Here’s one idea)
7. Schedule time off for yourself.
I know, I know. Time off doesn’t always have to be scheduled. Homeschoolers can take a day off any time they want. True. But here’s the rub. If you don’t schedule time for yourself, it may never happen. So, why not take a minute to think about it now? Is there a podcast you enjoy listening to once a week? Do you like an occasional Friday night off with friends? What about a long soak in the tub every night? Whatever it is, put it on the calendar. Prioritizing it now will make sure you actually do it later. Time off for homeschool moms is HUGE. Don’t forget yourself in the process.
8. Schedule time off with your partner.
See above. Then, read THIS.
9. Make a list of reasons why you homeschool.
Then, hang it prominently somewhere. Write it while you’re fresh, eager and rested (as in, now). Please don’t wait until your stress level is so high you forget why you’re doing what you do. Trust me on this one.
Today. Celebrate every day of freedom to raise your children as you desire, without intervention, and on your own terms. Celebrate the first day of homeschool, the last day of homeschool and every other day in between. Celebrations can be big (like a not-back-to-school bash) or small (like a cup of tea shared with your kids on the back porch). Just celebrate the extraordinary opportunity you have to live another extraordinary year.
To your success!