This week’s Works for Me Wednesday is a themed, back-to-school edition. I posted my big back-to-school post a couple of weeks ago, so this week I thought I’d share a little piece of advice that can pay big dividends in your homeschool. Many of you may do this already, but, if you don’t, it can make a huge difference in making the first few weeks of school a painless transition from the lazy days of summer to more structured school days.
It’s profound. Are you ready? Don’t jump into everything at once.
If you’re an over-achiever, detailed planner like me, it can be really hard not to jump into every subject and every piece of new curriculum on the first day of school. However, if you’re also like me and you take a fairly long summer break, jumping into everything immediately can be a recipe for disaster…or, frustration at the very least.
I generally try to ease into a new school year over the course of three or four weeks. The first week, we stick with basics and things that the kids, for the most part, enjoy. This is our first week, so each day we’re doing Bible study, grammar (yes, my kids actually enjoy grammar), math, reading, and some history.
Next week, I’ll add some writing, science, and, if things go well, art. The following week, we’ll add in most of the remaining subjects and be at almost a full load, with the exception of nature study and music, which we probably won’t start until September.
It’s hard, sometimes, on those light days, not to feel like a bit of a slacker, but it’s so worth it to hear the kids voluntarily comment that the first week of school is going well and hasn’t been “so bad.” The gradual start also makes a really nice opportunity to reestablish habits that may have become lax over the summer or to establish new habits (particularly those that you had every intention of establishing over the summer, but never quit got around to).
Gradually easing into a full workload is something that we’ve done since our second or third homeschooling year and a practice that really works for our family. If your school year is getting off to a rocky start (or has in the past), I’d recommend looking at how much you’re starting off with. Allowing Mom and kids to adjust slowly and leave everyone with a good attitude about the new schedule and the increased expectations is worth a few light days at the first of a new school year.
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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.