After a few months of summer off, it can be overwhelming getting back into the homeschool routine. While there are families who have their own customized yearly schedule, many of us start back up sometime around mid August. We are starting tomorrow on Tuesday (8/23). This will begin our first week for this school year.
That First Week
I think most would agree that the first week is the hardest; that time of getting back into the swing of things. It is a time where parents finally execute their pre-planning (books, schedules, etc.). The kids may be excited for the new challenges and the curriculum, but any drastic change in schedule and focus will take its toll on them. Then, of course, life happens for mom and she finds herself juggling this with her other duties; the crying baby, doctor appointments, and the beloved after school “mess” all over the house.
It is that first week where things usually do not go as planned. But should we really expect them to? Does it have to seem this stressful? Are there a number of things you can do the first week to take the pressure off and enjoy it?
Yes There Is
Here are 6 suggestions on how to have a smoother first week of homeschool. I created this list for my family and hope it benefits you as well.
- Have a pre-defined start time. For example, 9:00 a.m. class starts. Stick with this and enforce it. Do not worry about waking early. Be flexible on things before this time, but let it be known that 9:00, class begins (or the time that you set).
- Consider starting on a Tuesday. This is what we decided to do. Sunday is a day of rest. Don’t sweat then over the work and preparations for the following day. Instead, let Monday be a work day for preparing the desk space, books, printing sheets, sharpening the pencils, etc. Let the kids work with you to create their workspaces. Have fun. Come Tuesday morning, all is set and ready to go.
- Stick with one, maybe two subjects only the first week. Many moms go and buy huge curriculums and do extensive planning and scheduling, to have it fall through the first week or to have the kids completely overwhelmed. This is can create real discouragement from the outset. For the first week, take it slow. Pick one to two subjects and focus on how that operates within the day, within the schedule, with the child. Evaluate it for the week and when you add in another subject or two the following week you will have a better picture of where to put it in the schedule and how to better adapt the overall scheme.
- Make appropriate adjustments each day. Make this week a refining period to learn what works best with your family and how to proceed ahead for the following months. Again, this is why it is so important to stick to one or two subjects, so you can focus on getting the right flow from the start.
- Make them a killer breakfast. You want the first day to be fun for the kids. You want them to be encouraged. I do not know about yours, but I can make my kids’ day by fixing a breakfast they really like. Why not get up early and start the day off right.
So be flexible that first week. Ease into a routine. Don’t beat yourself up if things do not go as planned…. there are plenty of weeks to follow.
**Side note: Make it a major priority to teach each child to read. Subjects like Science, History, Geography, etc., can all be covered for years by just having a great selection of books (which can be checked out from the library for free!) they can read in their free time. Here are some examples (listed below) that we have recently bought that the children are really enjoying and learning from, just in their spare time. In addition, you can consider a self-taught curriculum and let them teach themselves.
First Animal Encyclopedia
First Encyclopedia of Our World
Mystery and Marvels of Nature
My First Book About Weather
National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space
History for Little Pilgrims
Our Nation Under God
Our Father’s World
God’s Wonderful Works
How do you start your homeschool year off? Do you have any practices that make it easier? Leave a comment below and tell me about it.