Preparing for the New School Year

It is August. Are you ready for the new school year? Perhaps you’re embarking on your first year as a homeschooler. Or you have a new baby at home that you’ll need to figure out how to integrate into the family school rhythm. Or maybe you’ve decided to completely change how you do things.

Whatever your personal story is, the start of the new homeschool year can bring feelings of anxiety, fear, frustration, and stress for anyone. There is no sure outcome. You know you’ll face decisions and hurdles. So there are many unknowns.

How can you face these unknowns, homeschool mom, without just wishing you could bury your head in your pillow and staying in bed? Here are five things you can do to help you soar over any hurdle placed in your path.

Start Every Day with Prayer

This is a biggie. Seriously, every day goes better when you begin it with God. Get up a little earlier than your kids. I know this can be difficult. It might even feel impossible. But do it. Program your coffee maker, grab a journal, devotional, Bible, and whatever other tools you need. But do it. Even if you can only grab a few sips of coffee and 15 minutes, it can transform your day.

Ask God to bless you, your kids, and your activities. Pray that He will open your eyes to His miracles. Ask him to help you find joy in the kids – even their bickering. There is beauty in the mundane, and there is a lot of mundane that goes along with running a home and homeschooling, but it is only through Him that you can truly see and embrace it.

Have a Plan

Let’s face it… you simply cannot be successful if you have no plan. It is impossible to reach goals if you haven’t identified them in the first place. I’m not saying that you need to have every minute of every day planned out. But you need to have an idea of what you hope to accomplish each day.
If you follow a curriculum, take a bit of time now as summer winds to look through the materials you have for next year. Plan backwards. Figure out how many days it will take to complete each of your subjects. Divide that number by the number of weeks in your year to know how many days a week you need to be working on each subject with your kids.

At the very least, develop a block plan. Plan out what you hope gets done each day before breakfast, then lunch, and then dinner. You won’t have a specific schedule, but many people don’t want one. What you’ll have instead is a firm idea of what needs done when, and a good guideline for finishing things up.

Get Your Kids Involved

I don’t know about yours, but my kids buy into routines and structures if I involve them in the planning. Sit down with your kids towards the end of the summer and ask them what they hope to accomplish during the school year. Try to incorporate some of their ideas into your plans.

Organize Your Stuff

There is nothing as frustrating as getting ready to start an activity or project and realizing that you don’t have the materials on hand to make it work. Take some time, now that you have your plans in place, and gather all of the materials and supplies you’ll need this year. If you don’t have the space for that, at least gather a quarter’s worth of supplies. Then, you can take a bit of time at the end of the quarter to gather things for the following quarter.

Remember to Have Fun

Homeschooling is important. It is something to take very seriously. You are growing the hearts and minds of the next generation. But… they are children, and kids are precious. They crave fun. They want to have that fun with you, their parent. You need to make sure that you let yourself hold on to that perspective.

Your kids will only be little for a short time. Whether you have one kiddo at home or many, God gave them to you for a reason. Take time this school year to recharge with them. Be intentional about letting them know you love them and they are precious to you. You only get one chance to be their biggest influence. Make every moment count.

Colleen Kessler is a former teacher of gifted children who never planned to leave the classroom or homeschool, and prayed for nice, average kids. Since God has a sense of humor, she now works from home as a freelance writer and author, and homeschools her highly gifted kiddos. Between writing assignments, book projects, and lots of misadventures, she tries desperately to stay one step ahead of her four crazy-fun kids while sharing their adventures {and messes} at Raising Lifelong Learners. Connect with her there, on Google+, Instagram, Pinterest or

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