I’m excited! I’m back home from our summer of fishing in Alaska and I’m sorting through all my materials for the school year, which officially starts on Monday for us.
Every year is different, and this one will offer new challenges as I learn to balance our home-based business with my blogging hobby and the flurry of activity that homeschooling brings. But one thing that never changes is our passion for homeschooling and our determination to make each year the best ever.
I’ve found that the most fulfilling and successful year starts with the right attitude, a little planning, and a lot of flexibility.
So, if you’re reading this and you are about to embark on or continue your homeschool journey, I hope my back-to-school checklist will help you get prepared, stay on track, and look forward to an incredible journey with your one-of-a-kind kiddos.
Chances are, you’ve already done a lot of these things, so enjoy being able to scratch something off the list (one of my greatest enjoyments)!
Pray. I don’t even start without seeking direction greater than my own.
Write out your goals (and ask your children for their input)—academically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I hope you don’t skip this step. It is critical to clarify what it is you want to accomplish.
Choose your curriculum based on your homeschool style, as well as the personalities of you and your children.
Make a list of curriculum and supplemental material used for each child. Order now if you haven’t already.
Begin a portfolio for each child, especially if your state requires it. I prefer a binder with divisions for curriculum lists, book lists, field trips, extra-curricular activities like sports and co-ops, and samples of best work (especially writing samples), but you can include anything that gives an accurate picture of learning.
Roughly plan your yearly calendar, marking breaks throughout the year.
Make a daily schedule and have your teens make their own, coordinating it with yours of course :-). I know not everyone plans everything like I do, so this can be as detailed or loose as you like, but without it, there’s no real direction for the day. Don’t forget naptimes if you have toddlers and work around their basic needs. Also a must is to build in flexibility for the unexpected. And don’t forget to include blocks of time for family fun. Every day can’t be about just hitting the books or you’ll have a mutiny in no time.
Make a chore schedule for you and your children. This will absolutely fall apart at some point, but it is one of the greatest organizational tools in my home. My kids know what is expected of them every day, so I don’t have to constantly look over their shoulders which frees me up considerably.
Create your supplies list and take the kiddos shopping.
Prepare your space. Whether you use the dining room table or a schoolroom, you will need to ensure each child has a place for their books and supplies that they can get to themselves. And you will need your own space where you keep necessary records, teacher supplies, and curriculum. Spend a bit of time now to ensure you don’t waste time each day hunting down pencils and paper.
Pray again for good measure ;-).
STAYING ON TRACK
Re-visit any one of the above planning steps at any time. Without a doubt, life will hit and throw you off course. It’s okay. Just re-assess, course correct, and jump back in. It won’t be perfect. You’ll likely swap out curriculum or re-work schedules along the way, but the beauty is, you can.
So, let’s get started shall we? Next week, you’ll likely find me on the couch sipping tea and reading a Dear America book with my girls and loving every minute of it.
I hope this helps a bit. Let me know, will ya?