August is always an exciting month for families with kids going back to school and starting new grades. Power Homeschool students and parents are in a unique position because they have more control and flexibility on choosing a date for the beginning of the new school year. Some families decide to home school year-round while others take a break over the summer months.
No matter the schedule that you decide on, we think that creating excitement around starting a new school year is just as important for homeschooling students as it is for public or private school students. Not only is it important to keep it fun and interesting, but you will also need to set some guidelines for the year. Here are seven tips for keeping “back-to-school” month something for your home school students to look forward to.
1. Develop a Routine
During summer, it is easy to fall out of a routine, especially for students that take a break during the summer from their homeschooling work. Jumping back into home school can be overwhelming, but it is essential to develop a routine again as soon as possible. One of the many benefits of a program like Power Homeschool is that parents and students have the flexibility to choose a schedule that works best for them. From our standpoint, consistency is key. As long as your student is regularly completing course work, your family can decide on a routine that is best for you.
In addition to developing a routine, scheduling breaks and field trips for the year will keep the school year exciting and will avoid students from losing interest. You can schedule a fall, winter, and spring break with specific dates on the calendar. These breaks are great opportunities to take trips with the family. Field trips are an excellent way to generate enthusiasm about a subject or concept. Breaks and field trips give students something to look forward to and will keep your student excited all year.
The first week can seem long, especially if your child had a lot of free time. Setting a designated lunchtime and scheduling several short breaks throughout the day will help your student avoid any burn out in the first several weeks.
2. Have an Official Start Date
Setting an official start date for home school will give everyone a day to count on throughout the summer. Power Homeschool gives parents control over their student’s schedule, pace, and classes that they are taking. This means parents have the liberty to select a start date that works best for everyone’s schedule and preferences. Deciding on a start date a few weeks or even months ahead of time and writing it down on the calendar will make it official.
3. Create a Learning Friendly Environment
Home school students should have an area in the home designated for class time. A simple desk with a comfortable chair is a good place to start. When using an online curriculum like Power Homeschool, a reliable Internet connection is also important. This learning area should be free of distractions, as well.
Most home school families will already have an area that is dedicated to school. However, new touches can create enthusiasm around the new school year.
4. Purchase New School Supplies
Being a homeschooling parent, you likely have a stockpile of school supplies, and starting over from scratch can be very expensive. However, purchasing new school supplies with your students can be a fun way to start the school year. Buy the things that you are running low on first. Then, let your child pick out one or two items they want, such as fun a pencil bag or watercolor paints.
5. Take “First Day of School” Pictures
Taking “first day of school” pictures is a wonderful way to commemorate the day, and these photos make great keepsakes. Capturing the first day of each new school year will track how your child has grown over the years. If you can, take it in the same spot every year, such as by the front door or on the stairs.
6. Set Expectations and Rules
Just like a teacher in a traditional classroom sets rules and expectations on the first day of school, you should do the same with your student. These rules and expectations apply to both students and parents. For example, if you agree to start class at 8:30 every morning, both the parent and student should be ready to begin classes at 8:30 every day.
On the other hand, some families prefer a more flexible schedule. For these students, you will want to set goals, so that they continue to make progress even with a leisurely schedule. Making goals is important for every student. These should be SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
7. Create “Back-to-School” Traditions
“Back-to-school” traditions are a great way to create excitement for starting a new school year. There are many traditions to choose from, but you can start with one or two. Making a fun breakfast or lunch is a great example, and it will keep the children energized throughout the day. Other ideas are having a picnic or creating a vision board for the year. You and your family can get creative with developing new traditions, but it should be something that you will all find fun and exciting for years to come.
Even if your family home schools all year, you can still implement traditions to create excitement. For example, you can give your student a two-week break and restart in August, so your student is refreshed and excited.
Power Homeschool is an online homeschool curriculum for parents and students. We offer a range of courses for students in kindergarten through high school. Contact us for more information at (800)941-8100.