The final step in preparing for your homeschool year: Establishing a regular routine.
All of those fascinating, exciting books just arrived in the mail; you have sharpened pencils and paper galore; you know exactly where your learning is going to be accomplished; but the one thing you aren’t sure of… where to begin.
I remember starting out our homeschooling journey. I wasn’t sure if we should tackle everything on the first day or ease our way into things; I didn’t know what time to start or which day even; and I certainly hadn’t figured out how to work homeschooling into daily living like laundry and dishes.
So, just how do you start off with homeschooling? Trust us, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
The first step would be to take a look at your curriculum. (Hooray; you’ve finally narrowed down your choices and are looking at your very own books!) See how many lessons are included in each subject. Most manufacturers assume a 180 day school year and so, odds are, one lesson per day should just about do it for you. Nice and easy, huh?
Now, what if you want to get fun? Say you don’t want to do a lesson every day or you want your child to have the freedom to do as much he would like at one time? Go for it! No one says that because the books are laid out this way you have to stick with it. Be creative!
For those manufacturers who aren’t so helpful, take a look at the page numbers or chapter numbers. By doing a little math in your head (okay, lets face it; on the calculator), you can easily deduce how much needs to be covered each day, if you want to finish the book in one year. For example, our arithmetic material for fifth grade has 360 pages, so our daughter will be doing two pages a day; nice and easy!
Again, if she wants to go faster or not do that subject every day, that’s no big deal. She will either finish early or maybe take a day off here or there. If we want to stretch the material to last more than a year, that is easily adapted as well. Keep in mind, not all subjects need to be started on the very first day of learning; it’s okay to ease your way into a routine.
The next step would be to look at your calendar. Mark down when you would like to start, which breaks you want to take, and when you plan to finish. (Make sure to keep in mind how many compulsory school days your state requires.) There is no wrong day to start and no right; it’s really all up to you!
We’ve known some families who school all year round (we do), some who school January to October, September to June, August to May, and they all work. I’ve known some who school nine weeks and then take a break, repeating for all four quarters. Ah; the joys of homeschooling! Do what works best for you!
The key to establishing a routine: BE FLEXIBLE! Life is going to come at you, no question about it. Don’t be so rigid that you can’t bend a little. Some days may start later than others, some days won’t go as planned; work with it and learn a life lesson along the way. Each experience has something to offer, take it and increase in wisdom.
While you’re penciling things in, don’t forget to include a few field trips and activities. Why not take advantage of an open routine and have some out-of-doors fun.
Lastly; take a look at your household routine and get an idea of how everything can work together. Set out with a tentative plan (if you fail to plan, plan to fail) for not only schooling, but getting chores done as well. Test it out for a few days and revise as needed. Before long, a regular routine will establish itself.
Well, that pretty much sums it up. Your year is covered in prayer, you have all the necessary info/tools, and your routine in tentatively set in place; now, go out and do some learning!
I pray you enjoy your homeschooling adventure!