I plan to get nothing done the first week of our homeschool.
And, it is the best thing I do all year.
Every summer, I plan for the upcoming school year knowing I may not use any of it.
The first week comes and we try everything.
Because, what looked like such a perfect plan in July may be thrown out with the peanut butter and jelly crusts on the first day of school.
I have tried to do it my way. Forcing my plans and trying desperately to finish anything resembling school work the first week and it just doesn’t work. It ends in tears, tantrums, fights. And what mama wants that?
That is not why I started this journey.
Here’s 4 things you can do the first week to start your homeschool year off right:
Take the time to figure out what works by treating the first week as a test run.
I have found that every school year is different for us. The curriculum, schedules, and what worked so well the year before doesn’t mesh at all with my kids now.
Your kids are changing and growing, maybe you have a new baby at home, a teenager this year. Give it a few days to see what works and be willing to change because it’s just a “test run.”
Even if you’re already weeks into the new school year, it’s never to late to call a do-over. Take stock of what is working and what isn’t. Pray, plan, take a deep breath and plunge back in.
2. Give your kids a voice
My kids respond to new curriculum, routines, and schedules best if they know they have a say in it.
Just this week my son and I had a heart-to-heart about how I thought writing workshop would look for us and he was very clear that he didn’t see it that way at all.
I could’ve gotten frustrated with him and pressed the issue so I could stick to my plan, but I didn’t. I listened to him. We ended up having a great conversation about what he hopes to learn about writing this year. I put my son’s heart before my plans. He knew it and felt heard.
Not every subject allows for wiggle room, but there is probably somewhere you can offer them choices. Knowing there is room for their opinions, sometimes helps your kids relax and feel like the pressure’s off. It’s one of the things that is so great about homeschooling. We get to tailor make our kid’s educations.
3. Plan in some fun
It’s a good idea to plan in fun breaks from your routine throughout the school year. But it’s also a great way to ease into things that first week.
My oldest gets anxious just thinking about the pressure of calling our learning “school” again come August. So, this year we actually spent the first few days at the beach doing some relaxing nature study.
We love getting outdoors, so nature study and scavenger hunts are things we do often. But, you could also watch a documentary or go on a field trip. Plan a fun snack or surprise them with new school supplies.
Planning some fun educational games is another great way to ease back into school. Check out my post on Math games for kinesthetic learners to get some ideas.
4. Plan B
Mama, if you don’t have a plan B you need to stop everything and get one ASAP. Because I promise you this, if you are a homeschooler you are going to need one.
If there’s anything I know for sure about homeschooling it’s that Murphy’s law solidly applies.
The field trip will be cancelled due to rain, the cereal bowl is going to spill all over your lesson plans, someone is going to pee their pants in the middle of your fractions lesson, a fever will rage, the baby won’t sleep through the night, again.
If nothing works you need a plan of attack not a panic attack.
Having a plan b will keep you from worrying about those inevitable issues that derail a perfectly planned day.
Check out my list of our 100 Favorite Plan B Homeschool Day Ideas to get inspired.
Plan now by having a list of educational shows on Netflix, a pile of board games ready to play, some recipes ready to pull out and make together. It doesn’t really matter what it is. What’s important is that you know you have a back-up, waiting and ready to assist you.
I hope these tips help you start your homeschool year off right.
Think of those first few days as a test run, try to give your kiddos some choices, plan in some fun, and have a plan b idea ready and waiting and you’ll be sure to have an easier transition.
Download my Nature Study Scavenger Hunts here to add some fun to your first week. A twist on the original, the first is a See & Draw activity and the second is a Photography activity.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a joyful beginning to your school year,