Homeschool Summer Checklist – Getting Ready for the New School Year!

This is a checklist of things you can do now, to get ready for the new school year!

Is part of your end-of-summer vision to feel prepared for back-to-school? This checklist will help you slowly and steadily get ready for the new school year!

It is mid-summer, but lingering in the back of our minds is that school will be here before we know it. We want to take advantage of the extra time we have on our hands to make sure that the transition back to school goes smoothly.  If we take some time now, we can make life a bit easier when we’re back to our homeschool routines.

Click here to Download Your Free Printable Mid-summer Checklist

Back to School Homeschool Checklist - Supplies Unit Planning Organization and More - homeschoolden

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Back to School Homeschool Checklist - Homeschool Tips

Here is the checklist in a nutshell, though it’s all in the free packet above!

* Summer Bucket List – At the beginning of the summer, we’re always optimistic about the fun summer activities we can do with the kids. How many have you checked off so far? Remember, we have this free printable list of 350+ Summer-Time Activity Ideas!

* Organize the homeschool area – This is a big one for me. Each summer I try to purge papers, do a deep clean, sort and put away manipulatives, 3-Part cards and things like that.

* Shopping for School Supplies – This is a fabulous time to stock up on all the school supplies you might need. There are great back-to-school sales on and you can get things at bargain prices. I tend to get a lot of our journals, writing notebooks and that kind of thing now because there is such a great selection. Then when we need notebooks, we just go to our supply closet later. I have a pretty good list of school supplies in the free Homeschool Checklist Packet.

There are two big purchases that I use a TON in our homeschool.

  1. Laminator: When I first purchased our laminator, the kids were preschool age. I used a lot then, but I actually use it even more now that the kids are older!  We use it for review games… Here are a few examples. We’ve used them for spelling games (Long A sounds, Long E, Long I, Vowel Teams (ou/ow, oi/oy, au/aw), er-soundss – ur, ir, or, er, etc., K-sound etc.), music theory, geography review (the world landmarks bingo is from our World Facts – Geographical Features Packet), foreign language themed units (the kids have done review games for words around the house, chores/activities, Valentines words, summer words, winter words, sickness… and lots more!).

Bingo GamesI have a Scotch Thermal laminator that we got a number of year ago, but the Amazon Basic thermal laminator (affiliate link)is under $20 and has pretty good reviews. It can be used with the Scotch laminating sheets. I got the 3mm sheets and they work well for us. 🙂

Spiral Binding Machine2. The other things I love ♥ and use all the time is the Spiral Coil Binding Machine. (I have the TruBind machine.) (affiliate link) This was a bit of a splurge a couple of years ago, to replace our comb binder.  I am SO glad I got it!  I’ve wound up getting several sizes of coils – 8mm, 14 mm, and  3/4 inch. (You can see the three sizes in the pictures below and I also included large/med/small packets in the picture so you can see the different sizes.) I also got the clear covers and black back covers so you can see it’s quite an investment.  How does it work? You place the papers (and the front/back covers) in the slit on the binding machine and pull the lever forward. This creates the rows of holes. Then you twist the coil through all the holes and trim off the excess coil.

Spiral Coil Binding Machine

3. I love the nicer looking Doublesided Tabletop Easel (affiliate link) by Learning Resources. We’ve used it for years for spelling (I bought ours in 2014!) and it still looks great. (See more about our Spelling Activities & Word Sorts here.) We don’t use if for spelling these days, but it still gets used 2 or 3 times a week for the white-board portion as we go over material (and the kids are taking notes on something). I like that it tucks away (under the couch!) when I don’t need it.

4. For science, one of our best investments have been the Molymod Chemistry Molecular Model, Teacher Set (111 atom parts). I can’t tell you how many time we have pulled these out to make water molecules or to demonstrate photosynthesis. We’ve used them regularly throughout the years and have not had to add new sets. It’s been perfect for our family of 3 kids. (Yet! We haven’t done high school level chemistry yet).  This is definitely worth the investment, in my opinion!

Chemistry Kit

5. One last thing I thought to add to the list was Project Bricks. We’ve had these for years and bring them out now and then for various projects. We use these: FloraCraft Styrofoam Kits, Make It Fun: Project Bricks Sand. (affiliate link) We’ve made these into castle walls, the Great Wall of China, brought them out for physics experiments, and more.

ProjectBricksGreat Wall of China Map ProjectAncient Egypt Pyramid CraftHere’s the full  printable checklist of Homeschool Supplies. I just updated it (summer 2020)Homeschool Supplies and Science Supply List FREE Printable

* Preparing for your units -In this section I talk about how I go about deciding what units to cover for the year.

* Science & History Unit Studies: Choose your unit topics – In this section, I talked about how I plan out a unit study.

* Literature and Reading – We read a lot of books in our homeschool, so I spend a lot of time finding books my kids will enjoy and that will fit in with the units we are studying.

* Make materials ahead of time – We do a lot of hands-on activities, so I try to have as much done ahead of time as possible. I will often make our pin maps or laminated bingo materials well ahead of time.  You might also want to prepare materials such as our Essay Writing Strategies & Free Writing and Grammar Checklists (a free printable on the blog) if you think it might come in handy.

Free Writing and Grammar Checklists PrintableMy kids really like having a checklist to cross off things they need to do each day, so I print those out ahead of time. Plus, I like having a homeschool planner. We have a free 100+ page homeschool planner  you can check out to see if it might be helpful. 🙂

Homeschool PlannerFree Homeschool Checklist Pages - Free Homeschool Planner

* Fall 2022 Planner – I just wanted to add in that I have a new Fall Planner that I made for this next semester. It is FREE to download over at this post: Free Fall Planner for Fall 2022

Fall 2022 Homeschool Planner

* Planning Homeschool Activities (outside the home) – My kids often change their activities from year to year… so summer is a good time to explore all the new possibilities and do a bit of online research to see what homeschool and extracurricular activities are available in your area!  Summer 2020: This is hard with social distancing restrictions, but be sure to check into your local homeschool community. We have added in some online classes through a local homeschool group and elsewhere.  My teens have made some good friends through their (online) classes. It’s not ideal, but might help with many extra curricular activities still limited.

* Continue with your important summer goals

o Rest!

o Relax!

o Get excited for the year ahead!!

Again, you can download the free Homeschool Back to School Checklist pdf here.

You might also be interested in these Homeschool Checklists:

Free Science Checklist - Elementary Middle School

Homeschool History Checklist

Also, be sure to grab our newest Homeschool Packet: Homeschool Foundations: Establishing Routines that Work!   It is currently FREE and I will be adding to it throughout the summer (2021).

Homeschooling - Establishing Routines that Work

Homeschool Planning for Next Year (Free Planning Pages)

These are some free Homeschool Planning Pages that I use as I try to figure out our long-range homeschooling goals.  This post shares share the process I go through… and also will share the planning pages that I’ve been using the past few years. I like having colorful planning pages to work on. This isn’t really a weekly/monthly planner, but rather a homeschool vision planner. This 30+-page pdf is currently FREE to download! Let me know if it’s helpful! ~Liesl

Free Homeschool Planning Pages

Free Homeschool Planner

And, if you are looking for some printables to create your own Homeschool Planner, you might want to check out our free Homeschool Planner. This unique homeschool planning packet is currently FREE to download! It is nearly 100 pages! Not only does this packet include daily and weekly planning pages, checklists and record keeping pages, but it also includes various homeschool journaling pages… think gratitude journal meets homeschool goal setting! Again, you’ll find it at this post: Free Homeschool Planner and Discovery Journal. I tend to change up my homeschool planning pages regularly as our needs change, so this packet of materials has steadily grown in size! There might be something you can use there! ?

Free Homeschool PlannerFree Homeschool Checklist Pages - Free Homeschool Planner

If you are new to our blog, you might want to check out these free resource guides, which I put together to help answer questions like… Where do I start? How do I know what to teach?  What units did you kids do when they were in __ Grade?

These are FREE Homeschool Curriculum Resource Guides:

If you are looking for more practical homeschooling tips, you might be interested in our Homeschool Planning Series with tips on Creating Your Homeschool Curriculum. We have three (of four) free resource guides available for K-1, Grades 2-3, Grades 4-5 and Grade 6-8


Creating a Homeschool Curriculum: Kindergarten, Grade 1  This FREE 50-page Resource Guide has been created to answer some basic questions: What subjects should I cover? Where do I start? How do I know what to teach.  It offers topics, units and hands-on activity ideas that might appeal to your kids.


Creating a Homeschool Curriculum Grades 2-3  FREE 30-page Resource Guide
This guide is a starting point for choosing the material you might want to cover in your homeschool. What subjects, units and topics should you cover in Grades 2 and 3?  Where do I start?  This resource guide will offer suggestions on what topics and hands-on activities might be engaging for your kids at this age.

creating-a-homeschool-curriculum-grades-2-3-free-resource-guideCreating Your Homeschool Curriculum – Grade 4-5 FREE Resource Guide

Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum Grade 4 - 5Free Resource Guide in the series  for Grades 6 to 8.

Homeschool Curriculum Grade 6-8

High School Homeschool Resource Guide - Subjects, Topics of Study - Grades 9-12Check out our Science Units here:

Homeschool Science Curriculum - Science UnitsNote: Our packets are PDF digital downloads.

Check out the Science Supplies we have used regularly in our homeschool here: Homeschool Science Supply List

Homeschool Science Supplies

Check out our History Units here:

History Units

This post has a wide range of different hands-on activity ideas and teaching strategies that might inspire you in your homeschooling! You can grab a free copy of the teaching strategies printable here:

Hands-On Activity Ideas - Homeschool Teaching StrategiesAre you a visual person? Be sure to visit this post with dozens and dozens of hands-on teaching ideas in pictures! Visit the Ultimate Hands-On Homeschooling Guide for some fresh inspiration!!

Ultimate Hands-On Homeschooling Guide

Homeschool Den Science Curriculum Units

The Science Resource Page has been Updated!

Because our website is a blog, everything is shared as they happen chronologically. So, finding the activities and units we’ve done can be a challenge.  I have tried to create some resource pages to help you out since we have more than 2,500 posts!! Yikes that’s a lot! I spent quite a bit of time earlier this summer updating the Science Resource Page again.

Looking for a fun, hands-on science unit you can start today (or when you start back?!)?  You might want to check out our most popular bundle… the Earth Science Bundle!!

Our most popular bundle is the Earth Science Bundle.

Earth Science Unit - Layers of the Atmosphere UnitOur Human Body Bundle is also very popular!

Human Body Systems BUNDLEOur BIG Animal Bundle includes 5 units to study animal characteristics, vertebrates & invertebrates, world animals, the Rainforest, Life Cycles, Winter Packet and Hibernation Unit.

Big Animal Bundle

You can visit that page to get an overview and see pictures of our units and find some of the hidden (free!) treasures buried in our blog!

From the Science Resource Page  you can visit the specific posts which goes into detail about our hands-on activities and shares close up pictures of most of the notebook pages in our packets. ? If you ever have any questions or requests, be sure to drop me a note!

Also, someone asked if I had a printable list of the science resources we have available.  Here is a free pdf with a list of some of the packets we have available… plus there is a page with some of the free science resources we have tucked away on the blog.

FREE pdf: Science Resources on the Homeschool Den

To find links to these science units, packets & notebook pages, visit our Science Resource Page or just use the SEARCH button in the left sidebar if you want to locate those. And, of course, you can also visit Our Store to make purchases.

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :)

Homeschool Den StoreAgain, if you are interested in joining our Homeschool Den Newsletter, feel free to subscribe here:

SubscribeHappy Homeschooling!


P.S. Be sure to check out our History Resource Page. We have tons of free notebook pages as well as a number of history packets for sale in our store!

We’ve made our way through time in history. This is a history checklist of topics I hope we cover K-8 — and the history tab might give you some ideas if your kids have a particular interest.

history-units-homeschool We’ve studied American History and have several U.S. History Packets  including the Causes and Events Leading to the American Revolution and our Oregon Trail Lapbook and Notebook Pages

Oregon Trail Lapbook and Notebook PagesAncient Egypt Packet

Ancient Egypt Packet Ancient Egypt Lapbook Interactive Notebook Pieces

Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses Packet and Activities

Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses Unit - Mythology Packet

Middle Ages – Feudalism Packet

Middle Ages Unit - Worksheets, Chronology Cards, Notebook Pages, Feudalism Simulation, ActivitiesAge of Exploration Packet

Age of Exploration Unit -  Worksheets Notebook PagesRenaissance/Reformation/Enlightenment

European History Packet - Worksheets Notebook Pages and MoreWorld War I Unit

World War I Unit with Worksheets Notebook Pages and MoreAgain, you can visit Our Store to check out our other packets.History and Science Units

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