I always mourn the end of summer a bit. The warm days swimming, the lack of agenda, the bounty of summer produce, but there’s something beautiful about the beginning of a new season, that first cool blast of air, the cozy holidays on the horizon, and of course the beginning of school. I’m a sucker for new school supplies. Blank paper. New pencils and paints. Books.
In the coming weeks, thousands of students and parents will shop in preparation for the new academic year. They’ll purchase clothing and books and new school supplies. Naturally, this process looks a little different for the homeschooler. We don’t need uniforms or fresh clothing (although my own children enjoy them), and depending on our style of education, we may not even need binders or spirals. Some families will purchase new, packaged curriculum while others will search for gently-used copies or simply use the internet or local library. As such, every parent’s supply list will look a little different, but this is only one part of how we prepare. Here’s a few ways I gear up for our academic season.
kid-free day (or two)
Each August, I set aside a day or two without my children for planning/preparing for the year with them. By this point in the summer, I’ve been mulling over new ideas for the year, during these preparation days I try to get them in order and make final cuts. I prefer peaceful and productive days, so if you’re the same, make your favorite morning beverage, turn on music, and get to work.
Before you begin assessing what you need, inventory what you already have. Look at everything from your math manipulatives to your colored pencils and books. Toss, give away, or sell what you no longer need, and make note for later of what you do need.
organize your learning space
Find a proper place for everything. This makes tidying easier for the children and helps maintain a peaceful environment. Start by finding a home for your learning tools and supplies. If you have homeless objects, consider their value to your family and plans.
mark the calendar
Once our routine starts, it seems harder to remember important trips or excursions I wanted to take with the children. Find and mark them on your calendar now. Find out what exhibits will be passing through various museums and theaters and when local seasonal events open. If you have the tendency to back-out of plans, purchase tickets or make reservations ahead of time, if possible. Invite other families to join you, too. You’ll be grateful for your own forethought.
schedule a few days for you
While the calendar’s out, plan a few random days just for you. You don’t have to know how or why right now, you’ll know how to use those days when they arrive. These days can provide a little breathing room, probably just when you’ll need it.