The curriculum is ready and prepared. You wrote out a plan. Activities are booked - the first week of homeschool us upon us. Just because your children don't go to public school doesn't mean the transition from summer to a new school year is easy. It's not always a seamless, smooth transition, but these tips will help ensure you have a successful first homeschool week!
1. Set a Start Date
You're probably thinking that this is an obvious thing you need to do, but putting the date on a calendar signifies the start of a new school year is upon us. You can make a countdown for the first time, and make sure your kids see that you are excited!
2. Take Your Kids Back-to-School Shopping
It's easier to go back-to-school shopping alone; it's never easy to take kids shopping! However, letting your kids pick their own materials for the school year is an exciting thing to do with your kids.
This tip becomes a bigger deal when your kids get older. Let your daughter get the cute folder with the cats on front. Let your son get the notebook with the superheroes he loves. It creates more excitement and anticipation for school.
3. Create a Plan
A plan helps you get ready for the day and helps you understand what you want to accomplish each day and week. There is no right or wrong way to plan. You may like to have something set in each particular day. Other people prefer to have a less rigid plan. Go with what works for you and your kids.
4. Prepare for the Day Right
The first day is here - yay! Get up before the kids and have a steaming cup of coffee. Look at your plans and enjoy some quiet before the day begins.
Setting your kids up for success actually starts the night before. Ensure your kids go to bed at an appropriate time. Make sure you set an alarm or wake them gently their first day back. Other families prefer to let the kids wake up naturally.
Next, make sure you start with a healthy breakfast. Hangry is never what your children should feel when they're trying to accomplish their next math lesson. Try to avoid sugary foods like cereal on school days because it will lead to a sugar crash.
5. Don't Start Big - Go Slow
The saying "Go Big or Go Home" doesn't apply to your first week of homeschooling! Start slow and don't dive in head first. Start with a few subjects and then slowly add in more. You may want to read the entire Narnia series and prepare fun history projects, but take it slow so no one gets overwhelmed. You can save that stuff for the following weeks!
6. Encourage Participation
Whether this is your first year homeschooling or you are a seasoned veteran, easing back into school after a lazy, fun summer can be hard. Discuss with your children beforehand about what your children want to learn about.
When kids own and control their education, they want to participate more and become owners of it. No matter your child's age, they can still have the ability to set the pace for their independent learning.
7. Pick a Pre-Defined Start Time
You can opt to start at 7 am or wait until 1 pm to start your homeschool. The starting time doesn't matter so much as creating a pre-defined start time. Stick with your time and make sure your children understand that they must be ready for school at this time. Picking a time helps your children understand your expectations for them.
8. Be Prepared to Make Adjustments
Things don't always go as you planned, even if you made a rocking plan! The first week or two (or three) are a refining time when you learn how the curriculum you selected will work for your family. It's the time when you learn how to balance your schedule with your activities like art classes and soccer.
You might find that the curriculum you selected doesn't work for your kids. That happens too! So, be ready to make adjustments because it happens to everyone.
With these eight tips, you will be off to a great first homeschool week. The first week defines your homeschool year, so make a strong statement and boldly declare that this year is going to rock!