When spring rolls around I am always ready to trade the books, grading, and schedules for bike riding, sun soaking, and a little leisure reading. Then sooner than we can ever believe August rolls around and school is upon us! (We follow a more traditional school calendar due to the scheduling needs of our oldest daughter’s sports schedule.)
There is a sort of progression of rituals, more like tasks, that I go through to prepare both myself and the kids for a return to a more formal schedule. to get through everything and not feel rushed it takes approximately three weeks.
Clear Out The Homeschool Work & Books
The first thing I do is clear out from the previous year. We take artwork and posters off the wall. Then textbooks get sorted into two bins, one to be used again and to giveaway or sell. Then we sort through their papers, notebooks, and projects to create a keep pile and a throw away pile. The keep pile has its own labeled bin (usually housing two or three years worth of keep piles).
Organize Homeschool Room Shelves & Cupboards
After all the previous years items are stored away I tackle the task of organizing the homeschool room. Each craft supply box, school supply bin, bookshelf, and cupboard is sorted. The kids test markers, reorganize supplies, put books back in order, throw out the half used – half done projects and reorganize the games.
While cleaning and organizing I create a list of school supplies that we need to stock up on. I then watch the store ads for deals on what we need for the coming year.
Fill Shelves With Current Homeschool Materials
Once the room is in order I starts filling in the empty spaces with the new textbooks, notebooks, planners and supplies. I print and bind, or put in binders and folders any materials we will need for the coming year.
This year my oldest (a freshman in high school) is completely independent, and my 5th grader is mostly independent. To help keep them organized I bought magazine file organizers to keep their stuff together, but distinguishable from the other things on the shelf.
Plan & File The New School Work
A couple of years ago I started using a planning system where I plan out all 36 weeks ahead (now I plan just thirty weeks because some spread out over two weeks due to field trips, appointments, etc.).
I print out both a month in view (to quickly mark off holidays and vacations) and week in view (to keep track of daily appointments/field trips and to track the week number we are on) calendars.
Emotional/Mind Set Preparations
Once all the physical organization and planning needs are done, I am ready to flip our brains from summer to school mode. The week before we are going to start is when we begin to enforce more strict bed and awake times. We also do a verbal count down of days until we start “back to school” again.
When “Week One” arrives we start with a lighter load and less subjects. For instance, we might just do math, English, and music the first week. Then add in history, science, etc. in the following week or two.
Any way you slice it, change can be difficult. Going from the lazy days of summer to a more strict schedule will come with ups and downs, and bumps in the road. Preparing ahead both physically and mentally can really help to create a smoother transition for both you and your children.
How do you prepare yourself and your children for the transition back into homeschool after the summer break?