Preparing for a new homeschooling year is an exciting task. A new year filled with challenges and accomplishments is just ahead; here are some tips to help you get ready. Begin with a reminder of why you are homeschooling in the first place. As homeschoolers, it is easy to get caught up in the curriculum needed or extracurricular activities and forget why you even began on this journey. More than likely, you began homeschooling to educate your children in a more complete way than is available in the public or private school. You want your children to be problem solvers, able to reason and to ask the question why? and then be able to answer it. You may be homeschooling to instill greater character in your children and allow them to pursue their dreams. Whatever your personal reason; bring it back into the light and regain the goals and inspiration that brought you here to homeschool in the first place – the love of your children and helping them to reach their full potential.
Now, you can commence with preparation for the new year. Start with de-cluttering; put away materials from last year that are no longer needed. Rid yourself of items that you thought you would require but never actually used. Sell items that are not needed – someone needs them and you can use the money you make for your new curriculum and supplies.
Next, assess your plan and your curriculum. What works well with your child’s learning style? What worked well for you and your children the previous year? If you have found their learning style and curriculum that teaches, stick with it. If your children struggle with a particular plan or curriculum, do not be afraid to try something new. There are a multitude of courses, programs, and styles to choose from; check out recommendations from fellow homeschoolers. Likewise, ask your children about past curriculum – after all if they truly enjoy a particular plan or style – they are learning. Try non-traditional learning plans, seek out quality websites (many are free), utilize local community opportunities for learning. Add in as many field trips as you can – the more visual, hands-on and fun the better – encourage exploration! Remember every child learns a bit differently – learn what works best for you and your family and educate!
Continuing on, organize your plans, books, curriculum, coloring pages, school supplies and learning center. Bookshelves, square baskets or cubby storage are a great way for each child to keep their books and supplies together and can work for you as well. Plan how you will present assignments (daily, weekly, etc.) and create a folder or notebook for each child. A simple way to do this is a daily or weekly schedule by subject. Insert a divider in the notebook for grades; keep it simple with subject at the top and daily recording of activities and grades. This will keep you organized and also let them mark off assignments completed and see their progress. It has the added advantage of record keeping of school days for reporting.
Lastly, get your children motivated and enthusiastic. Take the children shopping for supplies, let them choose favorite colors, characters and style. Let them help plan your field trips. Lay out the options for afternoon outings and day trips and let them decide on their favorites. Gather together homeschool friends and have an end of summer / back to school bash at a local park or pool or in your own back yard.
Preparing yourself and your children for the new homeschool year is both challenging and exhilarating. There is much to do, see and learn. With a little inspiration, planning and organization – this new year will be your greatest, most amazing homeschool year yet!