It doesn’t seem possible that it is back to school time already. But back to school sales and shopping are starting. Our school year won’t start until after Labor Day, but it is time to starting thinking about the school year and planning. I’ve got an interesting mix this year. My 17 year old is finishing her senior year of high school as a homeschooler, but taking 2 classes at the local community college. My 15 year old is starting high school at the public school, and my 11 year old is still completely homeschooled. My school experience is mostly homeschooling, so I decided to make my ten tips about that having a successful year of homeschooling. Hopefully I can read some other tips about preparing kids for college and public school and learn from them!
Ten Tips for a Successful Homeschool Year
1. Plan – One thing I’ve discovered over 11 years of homeschooling is that the more organized I am the smoother our days go.
2. Don’t take on too many outside activities – I have problems with this one. There are so many great homeschool co-ops and clubs, but we can’t get much schooling done if we aren’t home.
3. Let the kids help decide what to learn – For subjects like history it makes sense to tailor the subject to your childâ€™s interest. We are studying World War I and II in depth this year, it is not my first choice, but it is what my son is interested in.
4. Cover the basics first – Make sure to do math, reading and spelling before you do the more fun subjects like science and history. Then if the day doesn’t go well, at least you go the basics done.
5. Include lots of hands on learning – Using textbooks all the time gets too boring.
6. Make sure you go back to school shopping – Just because they don’t have a list from the teacher doesn’t mean the kids won’t be excited about buying school supplies.
7. Prepare a detailed schedule – You need to make sure that what you have planned will fit into your day. I’ve made schedules before and discovered I had planned so much it would take 8 hours to finish, which is unnecessary and counterproductive at age 10.
8. Don’t forget to include art – You don’t have to be a great artist, just give the kids art materials once or twice a week and let them be creative.
9. Outsource when you need to – Don’t feel like you have to do it all yourself, especially as the kids get older. There is no way I’m teaching music, I can’t even read music, so my kids get outside lessons for that. And I will never again try to teach a foreign language to one of my kids – they are taking a class from someone else or on-line for that.
10. Relax – Most new homeschooling mothers stress too much. Learn to let the little things go.