How many more weeks until school starts at your house? Here is a list of things I try to think about before getting started at my house. 🙂
1. Make sure we have a plan for chores.
If we’re ever going to get all our school work done each day (and still have enough energy left to breathe), we’re going to need a system for chores. We certainly have a system in our home, but after several weeks of a more relaxed summer schedule, we’ve all gotten a little slack about things.
First I look at my plan from last year, then I evaluate how things have changed since then and what needs to be tweaked.
Next, I think about how the kids have grown. Do I need to teach them new skills or give them new responsibilities? (You can download some ideas for teaching chores here.)
Finally, I need to help my children (and myself) develop good habits by teaching them to get back into consistent, daily routines. This means that they need to do their jobs faithfully, and I need to inspect and teach them daily. (“Don’t expect what you won’t inspect!”)
2. Get up in the morning.
It’s been nice to sleep in a little, but if we slept in during the school year, we just wouldn’t have enough hours in the day.
So even though it’s a rude awakening for all, we have to set our alarm clocks and start rolling out of bed on time. Practice makes perfect!
3. Figure out meals and menus.
My brain has too much to think about during school to have to wonder what we’re going to eat for supper — or breakfast or lunch.
And yet, if I don’t think about it, we won’t have anything to eat!
So I rely heavily on a weekly menu (and I save these from year to year, so I can re-use them). I eat simple breakfasts over and over, and I have several easy dinners ready to go.) Then I have my older children help me in the kitchen. (They enjoy choosing meals for the menus, too.)
4. Obedience is the most important thing.
Children must be obedient if you’re going to enjoy teaching them!
God says the same thing:
“The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him” (Proverbs 23:24, KJV).
So before you start your school year, ask yourself:
- Do your children obey you the first time you speak?
- Do they obey cheerfully?
- Do you enjoy your children?
If everyone in your house needs brushing up in this area, check out my article — then ask God to help you be consistent.
5. Evaluate strengths and weaknesses.
One of my favorite things to do each August is to line my kids up against a door frame and to mark their height. It’s so much fun to see how they’ve grown the past year!
In the same way, I enjoy evaluating each child’s strengths and weaknesses. I like to sit with each one and ask him about his dreams, his goals, and even his fears. A great book for this is Discover Your Children’s Gifts, by Don and Katie Fortune (affiliate link).
6. Weed out distractions.
First, go through your home with an eye for getting rid of clutter. Check the closets, under the beds, and in the cupboards — but certainly out in the open spaces, too! Winter is coming, when you’ll all go stir crazy if the clutter closes in on you, too.
Be especially vigilant to clean out the clutter in your school room or area. The smaller space you live in, the more careful you need to be. Check out this post on clutter, or try my book on how to have an Organized Homeschool.
Second, weed distractions from your time as well. Check that you have a reasonable and manageable schedule for your day. Let your friends know that school is starting and, just like any school teacher, you won’t be able to take phone calls or check email during school hours.
However, be sure that time with your husband IS scheduled and made a priority. He is NOT a distraction! 🙂
7. Pray and plan.
Speaking of your husband, be sure to allow some time away with him (even if just for a few hours), to pray over the coming school year and to share plans with each other. God has set your husband up as the leader in your home, so remember to communicate with him.
And communicate with your Heavenly Father. After all, your children are just on loan to you from Him. Ask Him what His plans are, and ask Him for wisdom in your mothering and teaching.
8. Get training.
Are there subjects coming up that you’ll need help with? Do you need to brush up on fractions, algebra, or cursive handwriting? Do you know how to teach phonics, or world history?
And if you won’t have time for all this training in just a few short weeks, remember that you only need to stay one day ahead of your students. You can do it! Be brave…
P.S. One of the favorite how-to-homeschool books on my shelf is How to Homeschool: A Practical Approach, by Gayle Graham (affiliate link).