We have started our formal homeschool year, after a loose school routine during the summer. And my, oh my, it was a rough first day. It’s our 5th year homeschooling, and each year I envision a peaceful first day with everyone excited to be back learning and joyfully following directions. Somehow each year the first day meltdowns always surprise me. And at the end of day one Mama needed her quiet space and felt discouraged before we barely started our year. I forget to have the right expectations for our first day.
Through the child’s eyes
It’s the first day of something new, and everyone is out of the routine of formal school, so that takes an adjustment. It looks different than getting on a school bus but it is still different than last week. For my kids who thrive on predictability and a comfortable routine, its a lot of new surprises on the first day. New books to read, new spelling programs or new science projects. As homeschoolers, we can skip much of the procedural routines of the the first days of school in a traditional classroom. It’s more work than I’ve expected from them during the summer. It’s one more change happening.
3 things to do instead to start our year
First and foremost, its important to change our expectations. We as parent-teachers need to recognize that it’s a transition time for everyone. We can prepare ourselves to extend grace to ourselves as well as our kids as we all adjust to the new rhythm of the school year.
Second, don’t plan to start every subject on the first day. If you look at my spreadsheet I have absolutely every subject we will do there. You will also see several didn’t get done and others were adjusted. Next week, we will add Art and Spelling to our load. This week, we familiarized ourselves with our new Science and Language Arts. Just as I found ourselves in the spring dropping subjects slowly, the same can be done at the beginning, to slowly add them to the schedule as the routine gets comfortable.
Finally, plan a celebration. The first day is rough but as the first week moves forward, the routine gets calmer. So plan a moment to celebrate your success, mom! Plan some tome to do something you enjoy. You can also plan a family celebration to celebrate everyone doing well getting in to the groove. You could walk to the Ice Cream Shoppe or make a last trip to the pool or the park with friends.