How can excitement, drive, and determination so quickly deteriorate into tears, discouragement, and feeling like a failure on the first day of the homeschool year? Somehow my plans, joy, and ideals dissipated with each grumble, resistance, and dawdling leaving me a disappointed basket case by 3:00 p.m. With experience, the Lord showed me steps to turn those first-day-of-school blues into smile-filled momentum and achievement.
1. Prepare for the Year
Have your plan in place. That includes curricula for each child and their supplies such as notebooks, notebook divider tabs, pencils and pens, paper, folders, calculators, scissors—whatever they will need. Hunting for essentials when school is in session is sure to take precious minutes from study. I have many more details in this area in Managers of Their Schools.
What about your homeschool schedule? Nailed down? Printed? Available? Invest time in schedule crafting to insure productivity in education when school starts. Playing it by ear is certain to meet disaster by the end of the day. If you need any scheduling help, Managers of Their Homes is a reliable, understandable, time-tested, homeschool-mom-endorsed resource.
Do you have a homeschool chore system in place? You simply can’t do all the housework yourself. Even preschoolers can pitch in to help, and older children are actually productive. It is possible that a chore plan will make or break not just your first day of school but your whole year. House work has to be accomplished efficiently and effectively. Managers of Their Chores takes you step by step through making a customized chore system for your family using ChorePacks.
2. Prepare Your Heart
Pray. Sometime before starting school make time to pray long and specifically for school and each child. I would gather all our school books around me, working child by child through them to direct my prayers.
One of the deadliest enemies of homeschool joy is expectations. Give your expectations to the Lord. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalm 62:5). Then cultivate a heart of gratitude that finds reasons to be thankful rather than disappointed. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
3. Prepare Memories and Your Children
Let the the first day-of-school be memories not academics. We actually called this our pre-first-day of school. We had a special breakfast—that’s very time consuming. I put out school surprises that ended up distracting from our normal flow of morning life. We took photos of each child with their school books. But when memories were our goal, it didn’t matter how long it took or how much it distracted.
I also met with each child so I could go over his homeschool schedule, look at his books with him, and set up any other school materials that he had. I let him know what the requirements were for each subject and how he would tackle it. That way when we dove into our homeschool schedule the next day, he was prepared to study.
I am smiling as I think about you starting school in the next few weeks. I am praying that these three crucial steps will have you smiling at the end of that pre-first-day of school and your children sharing a happy report when your husband comes home. I would love to know how it goes for you. Just reply to this e-mail.
Trusting in Jesus,