How are things going in your new homeschool year? Are you unsure how or where to start? Here’s what a new homeschool year looks like for us. Let’s chat about Starting a New Homeschool Year with some Q and A.
Video: Starting a New Homeschool Year Q and A
What does the first day/first week look like?
This really depends on if you are a brand new homeschooler or if you have some homeschool experience under your belt. If you are new, it will likely take you several months and maybe a year to find a rhythm and routine that work for you and your kids. Give yourself space to try, experiment, fail, start again, and find what works!!
For us, learning has become a lifestyle, so that first week of school doesn’t look a whole lot different than other school days. For our first day/week, we simply open our books again and pick up where we left off. Although we do a little something to celebrate the first day, we are very laid back as we ease back into our normal homeschool routine.
Usually, when we wake up, the house is cluttered from our weekend of fun family times. We start with breakfast, have our Morning Time, and then begin chores. By 9:30 or 10 when chores are finished, the house is fairly clean, put back together and ready for the kids to get their checklists and begin their independent work.
What should a mom have prepared for the first week of homeschool?
These are the three things I try to have prepared ahead of time for our first week of homeschool.
- Make a daily checklist of the independent work that I expect them to complete. We don’t do everything on the checklist for each day at the beginning of school, but the checklist will be their guide. It will also help them to see what they will be doing in a full school day once our year gets going. For more on this, read How to Make a Workable Homeschool Checklist.
- Have plans for Morning Time. We begin our year with Morning Time, but I start slowly. Usually, we pick up where we left off. At the beginning of the year this may look like: Bible story, review memory work (let the kids pick which ones they want to review), listen to current events. For more details, read How to Simplify Your Homeschool With Morning Time.
- Pick out a new Read Aloud book. The kids get really excited when I start a new read aloud book. It is a new place for us to explore, a new character for us to follow. For more on reading aloud to your kids, see Teach a Child to Read with Two Important Habits.
I wrote a post on Simple Guide for Planning a New Homeschool Year if you are looking for most details on this topic.
What subjects do you start out with at the beginning of a school year?
You do NOT have to teach every subject starting on the first day of school! A new school year is for getting back into your rhythm. Start your homeschool year simply. We start our school year by making sure we are doing Reading, Writing, and Math work every day. We also do a short Morning Time. This begins our day together with truth, goodness, and beauty. Additionally, we read aloud a fun chapter book after lunch when the baby goes down for nap.
All the other subjects like history, science, geography, health, etc. can wait a little as you ease into your new homeschool year.
How do you help your kids adjust from summer break to school routine?
I think the best way to begin a new school year is to end your homeschool year positively. When you end your homeschool year by celebrating your accomplishments and then taking a complete break, it gives your child the space they need to do something different for a while. We take three or four months to enjoy the different kinds of activities that we like to do in the summer, so when it is time for that to end, then the kids are usually ready for something new. They miss the rhythm and routine of our school year.
How do you decide if year-round schooling is the right approach for your family?
Consider the benefits of both year-round and traditional school days and see which is the best fit for your family. Every homeschooling family looks different so your needs may make one approach more appealing than another.
Some benefits to year-round schooling are these.
- Being able to take frequent breaks throughout the year.
- Avoid the summer slide. Kids won’t forget or regress over summer break.
- More time off for holidays.
We have chosen a traditional school for these reasons.
- We have farm animals and a large garden during the spring and summer months. The added summer outside work would make it difficult for us to do all the outside work AND accomplish book work as well.
- When it is warm outside, we want to be out as much as possible. Though we do love taking our school work outside, we don’t want to spend our daylight hours with our noses in a book. When winter comes with shorter days and less sunlight, this is an ideal time for being inside reading and writing.
- Our extended families and close friends often plan get-togethers during the summer months when they are off. Our calendar tends to fill up quickly with these types of days, so it is easier if we are off completely for the summer rather than have interrupted, unpredictable homeschool weeks.
- My kids and I are both motivated to start a new school year when we have ended our previous year by taking a complete break from school.
What can I do to get the kids engaged and excited about a new homeschool year?
Ask them what they want to do. If they could pick anything they want to learn about this year, what would it be? Have them make a list of the things they would like to learn about. What skills would they like to try? Find out their interests and really listen to them. Get books from the library on that topic. Make plans for field trips where they can learn more about their interests. Initiate conversations with people in specific trades that might be able to show them more about a certain skill.
What are some simple ways to celebrate a new homeschool year?
I like to do something small, but memorable to celebrate a new homeschool year. In the past we have done different things. Sometimes we have made a special breakfast or gone to a special place the first day. Usually we take a beginning of the year picture, both group and individual pictures.
One of my favorite things to do is give each of the kids a new book. This is something they really enjoy. It is something everyone looks forward to. They still remember some of their “first day” books from previous years.
You could also have them write an All About Me Page. Put it in their homeschool portfolio. When you get to the end of your year, pull it out and let them see how they have grown and changed.
Another idea is to have them design the cover of their homeschool portfolio on the first day. This could be a short project that they could complete in 30-45 minutes. For more on homeschool portfolio cover pages, see How to Make a Simple Homeschool Portfolio.
What questions do you have about starting a new homeschool year?
I would love to hear your input. Leave a comment below to let me know how this information has helped you! Also, tell me what questions you have about starting a new homeschool year. I’d be happy to share what I have learned from homeschooling our kids!
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!
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