It’s a new year and homeschooling season is once again in full swing. But are you prepared? When I first started homeschooling, the annual post-holiday time was a real struggle. And I was rarely ready. After all, I had just spent weeks organizing for the holiday season and celebrating with my family, partly because my kids enjoyed it so much and partly because I needed a break.
After my second year, I realized my plan for starting homeschooling after the holidays was no plan at all! That’s when I changed things up. While our family still has a blast during the holidays, I now do a few things that make a huge difference. I hope these ideas will help your family as you begin to homeschool again in this new year.
Make a Plan
Take into consideration that there will be some holiday fatigue associated with your first weeks, so don’t plan on a major test or other stressful exercise. I found that incorporating some of their gifts into the curriculum is helpful. If they received a new book, board game, tech gadget or whatever the case, provide time for them to read, play or figure out how to use their new gift. When my daughter received her first camera, we spent a few days during the first week figuring out how to use it!
Make certain the physical space where you homeschool is organized. I usually corral my kids and have them help me a few days before we start school. This lets them know that school is fast approaching, but we’re not in a rush to hunker down on our computers yet. If possible, let your kids redecorate their space or perhaps give the place a facelift!
You should also be organized. If you have older kids, make certain their homeschool portfolios are in order and all other essential paperwork is accounted for. I use an online curriculum program, Time4Learning, that includes an automated system that grades the lessons, tracks my children’s progress and keeps reports. I simply access their files and make sure everything is up to date.
I don’t know about you, but the flexibility that homeschooling offers was a huge factor when we began this adventure. Don’t forget about it, use it to your advantage. Take a longer lunch break and make a special meal or two during the first week, enjoy the outdoors even if it’s chilly out, or watch a favorite movie. There is no reason to be rigid. Let the first few weeks flow easily and with few must-dos: It will make easing back into the homeschool process so much easier for everyone.
Even when you take every precaution, there will be bumps in the road. Don’t sweat it. Nothing is perfect. Getting back into the homeschooling groove takes time but before you know it, the holidays will be in the rear-view mirror and your kids will be chugging along. Just breathe easy, take each day’s challenges in stride and don’t doubt yourself. If you need to adjust your plan, adjust away! You’re in charge of the school. That alone should make you feel like you kids are in good hands.
I hope these tips make things easier for you after the holidays. Oh, and one other thing: Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help from other homeschoolers. I have relied on the wisdom of more experienced people for years now. We’re in this together. Have a great second half of the school year!