We’re gearing up to start our 12th year of homeschooling.
Or maybe I should say, I should be gearing up. I have purchased all our curriculum. It’s waiting on the shelf. And waiting. But I have not felt like starting to plan. I’ve enjoyed taking the summer off, and it’s hard for me to admit that it’s already almost the end of July. I really am not ready to get back into the daily grind.
So in case you’re feeling a little less than enthusiastic about starting the school year, here are 7 things (I call the UPDATED approach) to help you get motivated for school planning.
Refueling for the New School Year
1. Use momentum (gained at the end of last year)
It is always helpful to highlight the strengths of each of your children. You don’t have to start all of your curriculum all at once. Pick your kids’ strongest subjects and introduce them one at a time to get a great start to the new school year. You can choose one subject added per week or two per week, or whatever it takes to get a good start to the new school year. Sometimes we focus on our children’s weakest subjects because we know that they need to spend more time on those; however, if the school year doesn’t begin well, then that extra time may not be beneficial. So start the year off with subjects that your students love, rather than the thing they struggle with the most.
2. Plan for some review time during the year.
I am usually very good at planning things out at the beginning of the year. I have good intentions. My kids have good intentions. But there are always little things (sometimes good things), and other outside activities that get in the way of the perfect plan. Start your year off by planning for some review time for your kids. Don’t wait to insert some time until later in the year. Do it early while things are still going well. If students are on a roll, and don’t want to slow down too much, use this time to work on some fun interdisciplinary projects. This is different than taking a complete break from school work (step #5) which we all need as well. This can be a valuable part of reinforcing the learning that is going on in your homeschool.
3. Do something new.
It’s not good to constantly switch to the latest and greatest curriculum. But sometimes adding just a little something new is enough to bring enthusiasm and excitement to your school day. You might get excited about a new curriculum or a supplement. Your excitement as a mom can be contagious.
4. Add some fun.
When my older kids were younger I realized I had trouble getting the fun projects done. I was pretty good at keeping us going through our math and English books, but making salt dough maps just wasn’t happening. At that time I instituted Fun Fridays. On Fridays we didn’t do our regular handwriting, math, and grammar lessons. Instead we made time for those hands-on opportunities I was too tired to do on other days by giving them priority. It’s something I’m considering trying again with William and Lizzie this year since I am once again struggling to find time for the “fun” things.
5. Take a break.
Hopefully, you’re doing that. I know schooling year round is popular with some, but we all need breaks. If you school year round, enjoy the shorter, more frequent breaks. If you take the summer off, be sure to spend some time relaxing. If you find the need for more breaks during the school year schedule them and make sure you actually take them! I have friends who use a Sabbath Scheduling Method. With my older children in outside classes I don’t know if it would be worthwhile for me to try at this point, but the idea is appealing.
Before you plan, look back at last year and think about what worked and what you’d like to change. Have you children fill out an evaluation too. I’ve created an evaluation form that can help you with this process.
If your kids are middle school age or older, why not have them help you with the planning? Have them look through their curriculum and tell you how many math lessons there are or how many science experiments. Let them make supply lists or book lists. Or give them a planner and have them figure out how to pace one or all of their courses. Keep them involved throughout the year as well. Have them help you evaluate how the year is going so far and add suggestions for improving the rest of the year.
So maybe you’re not chomping at the bit to get started on the new school year, but try this UPDATED approach to bring some energy to the new school year.
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By Kristen H.