All across America, whether you have school age children or not, this time of year is often thought of as “back to school.” We had the recent sales tax holiday where many school supplies were tax free for a weekend. We’ve all been inundated with “back to school” ads from various retailers, and most of us are once again seeing the yellow school buses in and around our neighborhoods.
Most homeschools also experience a “back to school” transition this time of year. Even those that homeschool year round often take a shortened summer break or go with a lighter schedule during the summer. Sometimes the transition back to spending more time every day doing school work can be difficult for the whole family. Here are some things you can do to help make that transition smooth and peaceful.
Start your school year in the middle of the week. By starting your school year off later in the week (let’s say Wednesday), you will only have three days of school before the weekend is here and you have a break again. You can make it an even lighter transition, by starting your school year the Wednesday before Labor Day, taking the weekend and Labor Day off, and then you will only have four days of school your second week of school. Even if you don’t start the week before Labor Day, you can still take the next Monday off.
Regardless of when you start cracking the books open again, you most likely will find that there are some supplies that you forgot to purchase. The fast approaching three-day weekend will give you a chance to go out and purchase those supplies that you find you need.
Make your first day of school a day of fun. Instead of cracking the books open right away, take some time to play some educational games. If you use binders or notebooks, let your children make covers for them. Take pictures and record some vital statistics such as your children’s height and weight. Have your children fill out an annual survey asking about all their favorite things. Do very little bookwork on this day. Let your children review and get excited about the materials you plan to use this coming year.
Also remember that you do not have to start all subjects on day one. Another way to transition into the school year is to start with a few subjects and then add a subject or two each week. This method can help the whole family transition back into a regular routine.
Regardless of how your school operates, remember that it’s your school and it is up to you to customize it to fit your family. If something isn’t working (and you will have something that doesn’t), change it or get rid of it. There is nothing that says that you must educate your children Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Education can happen any time of the day and any day of the week, so take advantage of it and do what best fits your children and your family.