Starting off the school year at full speed seems natural since there is so much to learn, and we want to get our routines in place as soon as possible. But if you’ve taken a significant break, coming in like a wrecking-ball can cause trouble within just a few days’ time. This suggested method is all about managing your transitions and eliminating the frustrations that often come with change.
Plan the Work
- Schedule time dedicated to planning, just like you would plan a doctor’s visit.
- Review your reasons for homeschooling. (Take time to write those reasons down to make sure you align your schedule with your purposes.)
- Set goals for each child, for yourself, and for the family.
- Gather your curriculum.
- Write down your planned schedule for family and school routines.
Prepare your Students
Once you have a plan, hold a brief family meeting to tell them all about it. They need to know when school starts and what it will potentially look like. Giving them this info will help them understand what you expect and help them create more appropriate expectations.
Instead of schooling at full strength, ease into the year by taking the first week or two to do “lite school.” Stick to the basics, like phonics/reading and math facts review or starting your math program. During the first week or so, you may even try to plan something fun to do that’s not related to school. If you are in a homeschool group or co-op and you know the start date, plan to begin a few weeks before to set your routines for preparing for the day, breakfast, morning work, and afternoon plans.
Lite School on Breaks
Some families use lite school in little chunks throughout their longer breaks. Consider or create a reading plan with an exciting, achievable goal. Continue your read aloud or morning basket if that is a favorite part of the day. You may have to try a few different methods before landing on what works for you.
Transitioning from Traditional School
If your student is coming from a public or private school, let them know that homeschooling will be different than what they are used to. Be honest with them that even you may not know what it will eventually look like. Homeschooling is just different: different goals, different work, different expectations.
What if I’ve already started?
If you’ve already started the school year and found that tensions are high and your students are easily frustrated, remember that you are the teacher. You set the curriculum and the pacing. Your children will not “fall behind.” They are right where they need to be, learning what they need to know.
Is it the curriculum or the kids?
If your curriculum isn’t working and you’ve given it a good month’s try, adapt it to what you need or throw it out. If you know that the curriculum fits your family’s needs, but the kids still complain about it, you need to address a heart issue while continuing to be firm and loving. Change is hard, and its harder for some than others. Likely, they are not bothered by the curriculum but by the difference in their environment or their schedule. Gently remind them that change takes time to adjust to.
You can do this! Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org