everyday homeschooling blog


Aug 11, 2012

Starting a New School Year – How to Prepare for a Great One!

Tracy Klicka MacKillop

Dear homeschooling moms,

   My favorite time of year for me as a homeschooling mom is right before we start up a new school year. I’m excited about spending time learning with my children and teaching them new things. I enjoy picking out new literature we’re going to read together and finding interesting field trips we can take in conjunction with our topics of study. I love the thought of my kids being engaged in their education—wanting to learn, working hard, and being committed to their own discovery. They love reading and this adds to my love of homeschooling.

   I have to admit, that the beginning of a new school year is also my least favorite time in our homeschooling. I am aware that I am really a better administrator than teacher. I know that teaching my children math is not going to be easy for me, and grading my kids’ essays is not going to be fun. I don’t look forward to trying to get my kids back on a regular routine after they’ve had the summer months to sleep in, relax more, and enjoy the freedom of greater spontaneity and a laidback schedule; frankly, I don’t look forward to trying to get ME back on a regular timetable either!

   What are some things we can do to help make this next school year a great one?

1.     Decide what your priorities are as a family – for my family, I want my kids to learn academics, but I don’t want to stop there. I want them to learn valuable character qualities that are just as, if not more important than their formal book learning. We have a lot of smart people out there in society; we need more people who are honest, diligent, unselfish, free from the love of money, ready and willing to help others in need, and gracious in their relationships. All of this begins at home.

2.     Truth #1: We give our time to what we value – What is most important to you, your family values, will be reflected in how you choose your activities and how you spend your time during your homeschooling year because we always give our time and greatest attention to that which is most important to us. If you want your children to have more than just an academic education, make sure that you include activities and spend time together that will support passing on your family values. Among other things, we spend time each week together reading through a section of the Bible and other books that help prepare my children for life after school.

3.     Remember that true education really is more than academics – Homeschooling is an ideal setting to work together on your priorities. Those ‘eternal’ values—like learning to live in community, caring for others, being committed to relating with honesty and sincerity in all relationships, working with diligence and integrity—these qualities carry a lasting value and can be instilled in your children long before they ever leave home and make their way in the world. This is one of the beauties of homeschooling.

4.     Truth #2: You are your children’s parent(s) – This may seem obvious, but no matter how much time you spend teaching your children each day, your role as a mom or dad will always be more important than the role of teacher. Because you are the only parent(s) your children have, you’ll want to leave room in your schooling for talking and listening to your children about their lives, their motivations, where they are discouraged or need your help and guidance. As you do this, you will not only be a great parent, but your homeschooling will go better—guaranteed!

   Check back next week for some more tips on how to make this next school year a GREAT one!

There’s no place like home,