Many homeschoolers are returning to their educational schedules this time of year. After a long break, it can be challenging to start back up for both educators and students. Perhaps you have an established schedule you’re looking to return to or simply subjects you plan to cover. Whatever your homeschool routine may be, there’s typically a need for an adjustment period as we move from the summer season into fall.
We homeschool year round (read why we chose to do so here), but even so, there are still ways that I like to mark the change of season and give an official beginning to a new scholastic year. Part of my reason for doing this in September is due to our use of on-line classes and extracurricular activities, all of which resume in September and require us to adapt to a new schedule.
Also, even though we do homeschool through the summer, it is a more relaxed routine for all of us. Honestly, the schedule we used I would relate to how we would begin in September, but with many more water sports included.
We begin each September with a reduced, gentle schedule.
We have just a few subject areas or interest led studies. When September returns, we add on to that after we have a pretty good routine established with those few subjects. In this way, the kids aren’t overloaded by a sudden onslaught of all the material we will be covering, on top of the change to their summer routines. We take time to be sure we understand how to use the materials and how to best learn from the information provided. I also use this time to make any adaptations to the materials that may be necessary so that it works best for us. After we feel confident in our new routine, we add on another topic or subject that we intend to study. We continue adding on to our schedule until it covers what we need. And of course, since we use gameschooling, that helps to keep things educational, fun, and minimizes stress throughout the year.
When we followed a typical ten-month calendar for studies, we’d begin with just one or two subjects.
In homeschooling year round, this isn’t going to be much different honestly. We have our basic schedule that we’ve been using throughout the summer. In September, as I wrote earlier, we will be adding in some on-line courses and a couple of extracurricular activities. We’ll use October to settle into the new routines introduced in September. By November, we will likely have our routine established. I’m sure the schedule will need tweaking each month as we see the value of each topic and allow for life in general.
Whether homeschooling year round or following the school calendar, it’s good to remember that easing into a new schedule is a great way to set-up for a successful homeschool. A more relaxed atmosphere that ensures that everyone is comfortable with their learning materials makes learning that much easier.
As educators, a schedule that gradually changes is quite useful.
It helps to see how the different materials you’ll be using should be implemented. This also allows time to assess the materials being used and be sure they are suitable. If we were to implement everything at once, it could be more challenging to determine the source of any problems that might arise. The gradual schedule gives you a chance to establish routines and minimize stress. You can see what works best for your family’s life. You may find that this season can’t handle the number of topics or subjects that you originally planned; perhaps including all of them would cause undue stress, and adversely affect topics that you have in place that are working beautifully. You could choose to finish the topics you began, and then rotate in the topics for which there was no room later in the year.
I hope no one convinces themselves that they have to do everything at the same time. The homeschooling schedule needs to work for you. Of course, you need to comply with your state’s homeschool laws, but looking closely at the requirements and your schedule, you should be able to develop a routine that works to obey the laws and compliment your family’s learning styles.
If you find yourself feeling panicked about not having everything up and running on your First Day of School, consider this:
The first week in public schools is usually filled with completing paper work, establishing rules and routines, learning where everything is and getting acquainted with your classmates and teachers. After all the textbooks have been distributed and pencils sharpened, September is typically spent reviewing work to determine where each student is in their academic progress.
Even if this is your first-year homeschooling, you’re not going to be spending a month figuring out what your child knows. You’ll be able to adjust what is needed and meet them where they are. And what if that means reviewing information you thought they already understood? Great, they need the review. Do it, it’s not pointless, it serves a purpose. You’re meeting their needs where they are. And if they don’t need review? That’s great too! They get to build upon that knowledge all the sooner.
Remember to take this time to review what your homeschool goals are. Don’ t push your kids or yourself to meet unnecessary objectives. Plan for the joy now, so hopefully it will remain with you throughout the year.
Are there methods you use when returning to homeschooling from a long break? I’d love to hear about them.
Do you have questions about beginning? Feel free to ask!