Starting Up a New School Year

IMG_6877The day after Labor Day is kind of like a second New Year’s Day for me. I try to get my life reorganized for this big day. The schedule is reset. Chore lists are up on the wall, goal and curriculum lists in a binder. The Mason jar is filled with new colored pencils. It is the first day of the school year.

This is my eleventh year of homeschooling (but my first year having three students in earnest!). I thought I’d share a quick post on how we make the start of the new school year as pleasant as possible.

*Ease in. I have found for us, we have much greater success and enjoyment if we take the workload at half-speed for the first month. September is truly one of the nicest months for weather in our neck of the woods, and it seems a pity to spend it inside on schoolwork. The transition from summer freedom to a school schedule is much gentler and easier to navigate this way. I can focus on getting the pillars of the day well grounded before adding other things that may overwhelm us if I plunged into the schedule full-force. My high-schooler has a much shorter ease-in time. He begins just a couple online classes in late August and is up to full speed by September. The youngers still have a month of soaking up as much sunshine as possible before our long winter. If you’re curious as to what exactly we’re doing, here’s the September schedule for the 1st and 4th graders:



A Child’s History of the World

Circle Time


*Celebrate. The first day of school is a Very Important Day! Find some things that can communicate excitement and importance to the kids. For breakfast I make some easy overnight sticky buns which I save for special occasions. I also like to get each of the kids a small gift. We take pictures. Sometimes I’ll buy something new to use for school; besides the pencils, of course.

*Keep the schedule fairly free for a week or two. I find we have a more successful start if we are able to focus just on the new schedule for a little bit. One of the reasons I no longer preserve food from the garden is that it happened right over the time we started school. Traveling, having babies, preserving the harvest, or other big projects are better done at another time. If something just can’t be moved, consider switching your vacation and school times to accomodate.

*Read/Post on the wall something to inspire and guide you. I just came across an old copy of Homeschooling the Freeborn by Cindy Rollins that I printed out and put in my teacher’s binder. Amongst Lovely Things also has some good quotes I used.

May all you fellow homeschoolers have a year rich in learning and loving together!



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