Our first day for the new school year will be Monday, August 29. Do you have your start date set? Sometimes we don’t start until mid-September, but this year we are starting a little earlier. Our Catholic Schoolhouse co-op is starting on Thursday, September 1, and it seems like a good idea to officially start our first day on a Monday.
Here are some things that I’ve worked on in anticipation of the new school year. Do you love back to school shopping? I do, and so do my kids! They had a lot of fun going to stores, carefully selecting supplies that they love. I let them choose a favorite design for their binder, folder, and notebook. I want them to look forward to using their tools that will help them learn. A fun design, or a favorite color, can means a lot to children during these early years and throughout elementary school.
If you’re getting ready to start a new school year, here are some ideas to help you get ready:
- Make a school supply list to help your children have tools for learning:
- binder, folder, and notebook for each child
- pencil case or art box for each child: 2 pencils, small pencil sharpener, eraser, glue stick, age appropriate scissors, and crayons or colored pencils
- paper: handwriting paper, printer paper, lined paper, and construction paper
- Make a teacher supply list to help you teach your children:
- binder and divider tabs (choose colors you love!)
- stapler, staples, pens, pencils, sticky notes, scissors, paper clips (small and large), tape, and binder clips
- printer paper (we buy printer paper by the box from Office Max)
- hole puncher
- laminator and laminator pouches
- Clean out your school room or storage area for your homeschooling materials. Go through what you have left over from last year and consider recycling or donating items you do not need this year. The more you get rid of, the easier it is to maintain your school supplies.
- If you’re like me, you might also discover some supplemental books that didn’t work out last year, but will be helpful this year.
- If you ordered your materials a few months ago, double check if you have all of your needed textbooks, workbooks, DVDs, literature, etc. for each child. Download any apps that are appropriate for your goals. Sign up for any on-line classes that your child should take. If you’re missing something, you can check how much you have left in your homeschool budget and consider ordering what’s needed. If it’s not affordable with your budget, then hold off, see if there is something more affordable, and/or save up. Maybe you can find something on Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s.
- Go through your files on your computer and prepare a place for your digital files this school year. Consider having either one file for each grade, one file for this entire year, or one file for each child. If you have one file per grade, then any materials you save/buy for that grade can be accessed easily when a younger child gets to that grade. If you have one file for an entire year, then it’s easier to just save everything to one spot (e.g., download from Confessions of a Homeschooler, or files that you create for your homeschool). Organize your digital files in a way that works for you, including what will work for you three years from now when accessing this year’s files.
- Purchase a few new outfits for this fall for you and your children. Although it may sound fun to do homeschool in your jammies…what will you do when Amazon delivers a box? Or if a friend stops by to drop something of? I personally think everyone feels better and can focus better if you get dressed every day, and wearing new clothes makes it easier. Plus, there’s a good chance your children recently had a growth spurt, and getting new clothes soon is inevitable!
- Choose one outfit for the first day of school.
- Get haircuts.
- Make signs for the first day of school. You can download some from a website or make your own. Or have your children make their own.
- Sign up for extra curriculars. Consider extra curriculars for health (swim lessons, soccer, homeschool gym class), the arts (painting lessons, pottery), the performing arts, (piano, choir, ballet, etc.), and clubs (e.g., Little Flowers, Blue Knights). Choosing 2-3 extra curriculars per child per semester or year should be enough, depending on a lot of factors (e.g., cost, number of children in your family, transportation). Otherwise, if you over-commit, you won’t have time to make dinner or do laundry. I’m talking from experience! Try to fit in extra curriculars into your calendar in an efficient way (e.g., piano lessons on the same day as swimming lessons on the same side of town).
- Have a count down. My 8-year-old made a chart to help her count down until the first day of school. She is excited!
- On your first day of school, take pictures. Help your children get excited about the new school year, and document this transition. Your beautiful children will never be this exact age again.
Cherish this special time, and see this as a great opportunity for a fresh start!