4 Simple Ways to Feel Prepared for the New Homeschool Year

4 Simple Ways to Feel Prepared for the New Homeschool Year
Plan for regular breaks throughout the homeschool year to give your family a breather. (Shutterstock)
Barbara Danza

Whether you’re a veteran homeschool parent or about to begin your very first year of homeschooling, the beginning of a new year tends to engender mixed emotions. On the one hand, there’s excitement and joyful anticipation of a fresh start with unlimited potential. On the other, there’s likely some anxiety over the weight of the great responsibility you’re assuming.

One way to enhance the former and reduce the latter is to begin the year feeling prepared. The steps you take to accomplish this will vary from person to person. One parent may feel fully prepared with a clean house and some resources laid out to begin the first day. Another parent may not feel prepared until they’ve thought through a plan for the entire year and have a lot of lists and boxes to check off along the way.

What’s key is to understand what it will take for you to truly feel prepared, on top of things, and ready to begin when the first day arrives. Here are some considerations you may find helpful.

Prepare the Nest

As author Gretchen Rubin puts it, outer order brings inner calm. Getting your home in tip-top shape, decluttering the areas where “school” tends to happen, and maybe even adding a special new touch here and there can go a long way toward helping you feel prepared and ready for a fresh start.

Build a Buffer

We all start out each new year with great enthusiasm and energy, but of course, life doesn’t always go according to plan. You'll encounter hiccups, detours, and all manner of surprises that will throw you off course.

Knowing this inevitability, build in buffer time. Can you have one day each week or a few days a month you deem as “catch-up days,” when the only thing on the schedule is to review and make sure you’re on track in your homeschool?

Make sure you’re scheduling regular breaks from homeschool altogether. Balance them well throughout the school year and leave room to take an unplanned break if you should find it necessary.

Going in knowing that there will be time to catch up and time to take a breather will help the whole family press on consistently throughout the year and give you confidence as you begin that you’re prepared.

Review Your Resources

You may have spent hours researching what curriculum or other resources to put to use in your homeschool this year. Once you’ve got them, however, don’t forget to at least look them over before the new school year begins. Even those curricula labeled as “open and go” need to be reviewed so that you’re familiar with the way they’re meant to work and, perhaps, any changes you would like to make in how you use them in your homeschool.
Having familiarity with the resources and tools you’re about to use will increase your sense of feeling prepared.

Begin Gradually

There’s no need to begin your first day of homeschool diving head first into every subject you plan to cover over the course of the year. The first day or two might be spent simply introducing the ideas or subjects you’re going to be learning about, along with the routines and systems you’ve put in place to keep everything humming along.

Perhaps the Friday of the first week is a day of fun commemorating the beginning of a new school year. Start slow and incorporate celebration as you and your family embark on a new year ahead.

Barbara Danza is a contributing editor covering family and lifestyle topics. Her articles focus on homeschooling, family travel, entrepreneurship, and personal development. She contributes children’s book reviews to the weekly booklist and is the editor of “Just For Kids,” the newspaper’s print-only page for children. Her website is BarbaraDanza.com
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