Summer has flown by quickly and hints of fall hang in the air. The kids are going a little crazy, they need the structure of school. (As much as they don’t want to admit it!) Still, it is hard to let summer go. The lazy mornings, and late nights have been fun. After a long school year, summer was a welcome relief. Now, it’s time to buckle down and get back to work. Are you wary of the transition? You aren’t the only one! Here are some tips for easing out of summer and into homeschool.
Slowly Adjust Your Clock to School
Over the summer, time seems relative. Even with a daily schedule, it’s hard to not get a little off track. The days stretch on well into the evening. The warm, easy mornings make it hard to get up early. If you have truly embraced and enjoyed summer, you are likely off your school year routine. Gradually adjust your internal clock by going to bed a little earlier each night and getting up a little earlier each morning. Waking up for homeschool won’t be so harsh when you have had a chance to adjust.
Host a Family Meeting
Whether this is your first year or your fifteenth, things change and children grow. A family meeting is important to lay the framework for the year. Together you can work through any difficulties you may have faced last year, or anticipate for this coming year. Take time to discuss how the coming year will work, and what everyone’s expectations are. Address any concerns and come up with solutions so everyone feels ready to face the year. Here are some topics to get you going:
- Any schedule changes
- New expectations
- Where schooling will take place
- Review of homeschool rules
- Concerns from last year
- Student concerns
- Any changes in family dynamics (new baby, new homeschool student, parent work changes, etc.)
Get the Kids Organizing
Whether you have a dedicated school room or just a corner of the family room, it’s time to get that space ready for a new school year. Have the kids help you get the space ready. Set aside a chunk of time to just work on organizing the school space. Sandwich it between usual summer fun as a little nudge toward school beginning. The organizing party will not only get you ready for the year, but it will also help get the kids back into the school mindset. Also, you can still keep one foot in summer, while preparing for fall.
Unveil the New School Books
There is something about new school books. Even the most reluctant student can get caught up in the anticipation. Set aside an afternoon, or even just an hour, to introduce the new books for next year. Point out features that each child will enjoy. Make sure to get excited even if you really don’t want to be teaching 5th-grade math! Excitement is contagious. Summer may be hard to leave behind, but anticipation is powerful. Let the kids leaf through the books, and then put them away. No peaking until school starts! 🙂 (We do discuss what books I am putting together and I have the older children help me with planning, but they don’t see the actual books until we set up their book bins for the year.)
Have a Back to School Tradition
Children thrive on tradition. Making the first day of school different than every other day of school will make them look forward to that first day. This helps the transition from summer vacation to daily school. Traditions do not have to be elaborate or expensive. Keep it simple so you can keep it up every year. It’s really the comfort and anticipation of the tradition that is important, not what you do. Here are some ideas for a simple back to school traditions.
- A special breakfast
- An afternoon treat
- A back to school tea party
- Fun school supplies
- A family favorite for dinner
- Streamers and balloons in the school room
- Picnic lunch
- Trip to the park
- A love note for each child
- Anything that your family will enjoy!
Ease into Academics
It can take a little while to switch gears. Our brains and bodies do not like abrupt change. Plan to only do the core subject for the first few days or weeks. This will give you more flexibility to get the schedule and set-up you need. It also gives the children more downtime so they can still enjoy the lingering warmth before winter sets in. Once everyone is in a routine, add in the extras. Gentle is always better.
Remember to Keep Having Fun
The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of fun! Take time to play games as a family, get outside to play, and take field trips. Homeschooling should never be drudgery for the family. Yes, there will be lessons and subjects that not everyone enjoys. That is all part of life. Whether you like it or not, memorizing math facts has to happen. However, these childhood years fly by even more quickly than a beautiful summer. Make sure you are enjoying them and building precious memories to last a lifetime.
How do you ease into homeschooling?