The holidays are almost over… Two or three (or more!) weeks have gone by since you last “cracked the books”… The “normal” homeschool routine is a thing of the past… Are you feeling ready to start back into homeschooling? Here are some of the things I try to do before we jump back into our homeschool routine.
1) Make Sure You’ve Really Had a Break!
If you have spent the break with guests in your home or traveling or overextended with holiday festivities, it’s important to make sure you have time to rest up, rejuvenate and get things in order. Don’t feel you have to start back on Monday if the house is wreck, there’s a mountain of laundry, and suitcases to put away. Remember this is a journey that still spans years, not weeks or months. If you need to take an extra few days to get back on track, that’s okay!
2) Organize, Purge Your Homeschool Space:
If you stopped homeschooling, but left stacks of last semester’s books, papers, and projects neatly (or not so neatly) tucked away in the corner of your homeschool room, try to find some time to put on music, put on a podcast and get things organized.
If your house feels like a wreck, perhaps you can get some outside help. Can you afford to outsource — getting a cleaning service for an afternoon? Can you hire a teenager to come help clean (or watch the kids)? Homeschooling is a full-time job. Remember schools have a janitor team to help them keep things clean. That frees up the teaching staff to focus on creating meaningful lessons. It’s okay for homeschoolers to get help too.
Get some fun, educational materials set up that will get the kids excited. Have intriguing projects or engaging critical thinking activities set up nicely on a shelf or table… but make it clear that *this* fun stuff is for when you start back into the new semester! We all want the kids absolutely itching to get started, not dreading the “same old routine.”
3) Spend Time Planning and Preparing:
This is my favorite time of the holiday–okay so I’m a bit nerdy like that!! But generally we start off each new semester with new history and science units. I love spending time pulling it all together. Over the break, I check out no less than 50 new books from the library… and then pour through a dozen or so–brainstorming and looking for the coolest projects on the planet!! I put sticky notes in the books and have a notebook where I jot down all the ideas I come across. It’s only after I’ve done that, that I turn to the Internet for ideas. Since I work on the computer so much, I find that I am easily distracted. Because of that, I leave my searches on Pinterest or Google Images for last.
I look for activity books with titles like 50+ ideas for learning about Ancient Rome… or… 30 Slimy Science Projects For Learning about Chemistry. You get the idea!! Those types of books always have at least one or two ideas that I can use at some point during the semester.
4) Start Slow:
We generally start back with just a couple of subjects, adding more over the course of the week/s. We usually start our new read-aloud novel (we always read something connected to our unit studies). And, I like to start the semester off with some engaging activities.
This semester, we’re going to start off our math time — not by jumping back into subtraction facts (ED), fractions (DD), or PreAlgebra (LD), but with Math Circles, which are like mathematical mind benders and critical thinking activities. Who wouldn’t come running for an intriguing puzzle like these:
Top: Moving just two match sticks, make six.
Bottom: 8 matchsticks are laid out to look like a fish swimming to the left. Moving just three matchsticks, make the fish swim to the right
We *love* our math circles book, Mathematical Circle Diaries!! We’ll jump back into math-time with that… first daily, then tapering off the following week/s as we add back in our other math work.
5) Start Off Fun:
So, if you’ve read up to this point, I think you can see that I really try to start back to homeschool by…
engaging the kids
capturing their imaginations
appealing to their curiosity
drawing them into a new world (Both by creating a good homeschool environment and by delving into
good amazing books!)
6) Just Jump In!
Remember, no one ever feel *completely* ready so when push comes to shove, you just have to jump in and do it! Have fun and remember that
Have a good rest of your holiday! See you soon here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page!
You might be interested in this related post:
- Homeschool Planning and Schedules: From the Big Picture Down to the Daily Schedule – which includes a printable checklist of science and history units to cover from K-8.