A Painless Transition – Back to Homeschool
Written by Erin K.
This is one of the MANY informational articles in Homeschool.com’s
newest e-magazine-Back to Homeschool
Childhood memories of going back to school have never been fond ones for me. Granted, I was not homeschooled, but the lack of transition can affect those that homeschool too. An abrupt end to summer fun, abundant time outside, and flexible schedules can be hard on any child, and their parents too! So why not start off the year by creating a smooth transition from all of the summer fun to a new school year. Starting off the year on the right foot can make all the difference in the world in how your year will go. Our family has found several different ways to transition into a new school year that are fun for everyone.
Keep a flexible schedule
There is not a homeschooling rule that says you have to jump right out of a fun and relaxed summer schedule directly into one that does not allow for any flexibility. Late summer and early fall can provide some fantastic weather and many learning opportunities. Don’t ignore these opportunities just for the sake of keeping your schedule. One of our favorite late summer activities is visiting our county fair. We can’t forget just how much meaningful learning takes place in these spur-of-the-moment activities that would otherwise never make it onto our schedule. Take advantage of these unplanned activities and enjoy them!
Take school work outside
A great way to ease back into school work is to take your books outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Before we know it, winter will be upon us and our time outside will be filled with winter coats, hats, and gloves. So take this time to enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures. Learning doesn’t have to take place inside a building. In fact, there is an indescribable peacefulness for us when we do our school work outside. Grab a picnic blanket, sit at a picnic table, or climb a tree, and soak in the beauty of nature all around you.
Ease back into the work, subject by subject
There are two ways to approach the slow introduction of subjects. You can either start with the subjects that are a little bit harder for your children and give them a head-start, or you can start with those that are easier for them. You know your students best. For my oldest, I start with the easier subjects because he has a tendency to get overwhelmed easily. But for my second oldest, she would do better to start with harder subjects since she likes a challenge. Then you can continue to add subjects at a comfortable pace, whether that be one per day or one per week. Either way, there is no need to jump in the deep-end of the schooling swimming pool; dip your feet into the shallow end and gradually work your way into a full schedule over time.
Build the excitement
Planning some meaningful experiences based on the upcoming year’s subjects is a great way to spark the interest of your students. Late summer/early fall are great times for field trips since most other children will be back in school. Are you studying fish this upcoming year? Plan a trip to an aquarium. Will you be learning about American History? Plan to visit a few local historical sites, or plan an entire vacation around it and go to Washington D.C. This will give your students a great introduction to a topic that may be new to them. These little trips will give your students wonderful connections to their school work. All year long you will probably hear them saying things like “Remember when we saw this?” or “Is this like what we saw on our trip?” You can also try to visit the same place at the end of the year and see how much they have learned and remember.
Play some games
Who doesn’t love a good game! There are some fantastic and educational games out there that can provide a bridge to new learning. The “10 Days in …” series of games are great to focus on any geographical area you will be studying this upcoming year. Since we will be studying American History this year, we plan to play “10 Days in the U.S.A.” to help solidify my kids’ knowledge of where each and every state is located. Are you going to be introducing a new math skill, such as multiplication, in the upcoming school year? Right Start card games are great for making math fun. Trust me, these games are so much fun that your students won’t even know they are learning, and there are so many out there to choose from.
Getting back into the school routine doesn’t have to be something that everyone dreads. Make it fun, make it meaningful, and make it memorable. As homeschoolers, we have the opportunity to do things differently than everyone else does them. We don’t have to jump right back into school work or spend our entire day in a school room. Try something new with your family this year, and you may just start a new family tradition that will last for years to come.
Written by Erin K., from http://wateronthefloor.wordpress.com/