Here I am with summer coming to a close and a fresh, new school year before me.
As I have been enjoying weekend camping trips with nights around the campfire sharing family stories and gooey smores, I have also been planning this coming school year—the curriculum, the books, AND the fun. I have some thoughts to help you prepare for the upcoming school year. I hope you find them helpful.
Plan the Logistics
Pray for wisdom. I start my school year planning by going before the Lord in prayer to ask for wisdom in selecting books and games that will edify and build encouragement in each of my children. Every child has their own way of learning, their own interests, and giftings…So I trust in the Lord to guide me and give me wisdom for each one. Proverbs 3:5-6
Plan your subjects. I then make a list of subjects we will cover—math, reading, science, history, etc. I like to list curricula and books that I’m interested in for each subject. I also like to keep in mind the era we will be studying and choose books accordingly. This often helps my children connect their subjects. For example, their reading, history, writing, and art could all be based around the same time period.
Get your calendar in order. I place on the calendar our start/end dates, special days (such as family gatherings, holidays, etc.), and breaks. I do not want to plan such a tight schedule that we lose sight of living. Then, I pencil in our lesson plans, using pencil purposefully, because sometimes learning needs to flow with seasons. This is usually done with a notebook or a planner I have printed off, such as IAHE’s My Homeschool Planner.
Keep records. I also like to keep a file for each child where I store their attendance charts. Over time I add important or “special” papers I would like to keep.
Organize your books & supplies. I like to keep the books we are reading through together on a shelf or in a bin. This keeps the day running smoothly as I am not running around trying to find the books we need. Keeping a list of all these books as we read them, is also very helpful at the end of the year, showing what books have been completed. All of our pens, pencils, scissors, staplers, erasers, rulers, ect. are kept in a caddy which lends easy access on our table. We also enjoy taking a “school shopping” day, to gather our new items for the school year. This helps encourage excitement for school to start.
Plan the Fun
I like to plan random “special” days in our school year. For example, we have FUN WEEK—every day for a week, we do something different.
Monday: School Outside Day
Tuesday: Craft Day
Wednesday: Red Day (or another color)
Thursday: Noodle Day (breakfast: spaghetti, lunch: macaroni & cheese, supper: noodle casserole)
Friday: ½ day at home learning, ½ day at library
Learning is fun when the family learns together. Sometimes that does not include books at a table, but rather a walk through the woods, raking a neighbor’s yard, volunteering at a food pantry, or my favorite—walking through antique stores and talking about the past. (This has actually sparked some interesting conversations with my children.)
One Last Thought
As you pray for your homeschool, I encourage you to name your school. Also consider giving your school a scripture verse. Maybe even school colors. We named our school right from the beginning, and we have a school scripture that is learned and recited by our children. Our school’s name and scripture are added to each diploma when our children graduate. This gives your children a sense of belonging to something and an answer when they are asked, what school do you go to?
If you really want to have fun with it, you could also have pencils labeled, t-shirts made, and hats or sweatshirts if you like…with your school’s name on them.
How fun is that!
Have a blessed year growing in your family adventure.