With September almost here it time for all of us to start thinking about the school year ahead. Here are 10 ways to get ready for back to homeschool.
The end of summer can be a busy time. There are summer bucket lists that you might want to wrap up. Hopefully your garden is still going strong and there is food that needs to be preserved. We also have to start planning for the upcoming school year. Here are 10 ways that you can get your home, and yourself, ready for back to homeschool.
1. Order the school supplies
That’s right, it is time to hit the checkout button on your Amazon cart. Nothing makes us feel more prepared that knowing that we have everything we need for a project, and homeschool is no different. The first step to feeling prepared for the school year is ordering your supplies.
It seems obvious but I know that some of you (like me) are stalling on making the purchase. It can be a large finical hit to the household budget to place that order. But having all of the curriculum and supplies you need in the house can be a BIG motivator to actually getting school done. It is easy to put off starting homeschool if you don’t have everything you need. So don’t forget the craft paper, pencils, glues sticks, new markers and all the goods that make school projects easier. Your future self will thank you when she doesn’t have to drive to the store last minute to pick them up.
2. Clean up your homeschool space
If your homeschool space looks anything like mine, it could probably use some attention. It is time to get rid of half finished projects, those “special” drawings lingering at the bottom of the basket and the workbook that everyone hated. Cleaning up your homeschool space will make you feel ready for back to homeschool.
The first step is to empty out the drawers, baskets, bins, that store all the goodies. Go through each with a very critical eye. Only put back the items that you truly know are going to be needed. It’s easy to try and convince ourselves to save that curriculum that no one loves because it cost a TON of money. But now is the time to be really honest. If you know it won’t be used, place it to the side and only put back items that you know your children will use this year.
Once you have gone through the bins and weeded out what is no longer needed, grab a trash bag. You are going to go through the pile you put to the side and see what can be saved and what needs to go. That curriculum no one loved…can you sell it? Pass it on to a friend or neighbour? Maybe you have a local homeschool coop that has a donation bin for families to choose from. If there is still life left in the item, try to see if you can pass it on. But those old, almost dead markers….they are going in the trash bag friend.
Once you have sorted through everything, box up what can be passed on and take the trash bag out to the bin. Because if your children are anything like mine, they re going to open that trash bag and make sure that you don’t throw out anything that they previously deem “special”.
And just like that you homeschool room is ready for all the new supplies that you ordered in step 1.
3. Organize your supplies
Ok, our homeschool space is clean and the supplies we ordered have arrived. Time to put everything away. Making sure your space is organized is a great way to feel ready for back to homeschool. In our home we have a couple of ways that we organize our homeschool room.
The first is that each child has a space for all of their school supplies. That space is currently a shelf. So all of that child’s workbooks and reading books will go on their shelf. I also have my own shelf where I keep my teachers manuals for curriculum, the spines for each subject, as well as an accordion folder that I use for storing receipts and work examples for each child.
The second way we organize our homeschool space is the shared materials. This will include things like markers, pencils, paper, scissors. We have rolling cart that we keep for these supplies. I like to group like with like. So all the paper is on one shelf. The writing/art material are on another shelf. All the markers are stored together. Pencil are in their own container. This way if you need the blue marker, you don’t need to dig through a bin that also has the erasers, pencils and pencil crayons just to find it.
I don’t want you to feel discouraged thinking that we have a ton of space to dedicate to our school supplies. We currently homeschool at our dinning room table. The shelf and rolling cart are just off to the side up against the wall. One day I hope to have a dedicated space for homeschool in the basement but for now this is what we’ve got.
So get creative with your storage. Maybe you have a bench and can store supplies in there. Or decorative baskets that go under your coffee table. A closet that you could add a small shelf to, and then blissfully close the doors to ignore the mess. With a little creativity you could probably carve out a space in your home for all the supplies you need.
4. Plan extra curricular’s
If you are wondering how you can make homeschooling more interesting, welcome to the world of extra curricular’s. Planning your families extra curricular activities is a key part of getting ready for back to homeschool.
Each of our children are allowed to do one extra curricular. This year for us it looks like horse back riding, Brazilian jujitsu, and forrest school. I find having only one extra curricular activity for each child keeps our schedule manageable.
But what about if extra curricular activities aren’t in the budget? I would encourage you to take a look around your community and see what is available. Because I bet you could find some good low cost or no cost options.
The first place I would encourage you to look is your local library. Library’s have so much more than books these days. Our local library is offering a science class, a writing class, and an art class this fall. They also have a lego club. Other library’s in our area have virtual reality classes, Minecraft groups, STEM programs, makers spaces. So many wonderful things are happening at your library, I implore you to go and check it out.
The next spot I would look for low cost activities would be with your municipality. Some municipalities have subsidized programs for children.
Lastly, I would look into local interest groups. Do you have a local theatre group that your children could join? Maybe an art group? Will your local Search and Rescue take on younger teen members? Take a good look around your community to see what is available, you might be surprised.
5. Plan any outings or field trips
If you are worried about getting board with homeschooling, outings and field trips are a great way to combat that concern. Planning them in advance is a key part of getting ready for back to homeschool.
Take a look at your curriculum plan for the year and then see if there is anything you are studying that might benefit from a field trip. Studying Shakespear? Maybe you can attend a play. Learning about fossils and dinosaurs? A trip to a palaeontology museum might be in order. Maybe its just a trip to your local zoo. Whatever you choose, field trips are another way to keep homeschool fun.
Take a look at your whole school year and see where you can slot in an outing or a field trip. In our home, we aim for 2-3 big outings are year. That would a trip to our local palaeontology museum, the science centre, maybe the zoo. These are outings that will take us the whole day to complete. Then I try to fit in a few shorter trips as well. Maybe we’ll check out a local art gallery. Or go to the large central library downtown. A trip to a small, local history museum.
6. Put it all in a calendar
So we have ordered our supplies. Cleaned up our homeschool space. We found some extra curricular that fit our families schedule and values. We planned a few field trips. It’s time to write all of this information down. Organizing our year with a calendar is an essential step for getting ready for back to homeschool.
I have a large calendar that hangs our on wall, in a central location of our house. Every activity, outing and field trip is put into this calendar. I write down the activity name and time. This way everyone can see the calendar and it’s not 100% my job to remember all then things.
Once the activities are on the calendar, I also add any special days that month (hello birthdays!), appointments we have or places we need to be. I put on my work days as well. At anytime, anyone in the house can walk by that calendar and know what it happening that week.
Don’t want a wall calendar? You could keep it on your phone calendar. I like to add reminders to events in phone. I don’t look at the calendar on there enough. So it’s really nice, to have your phone remind you to do something an hour before it has to happen.
7. Stock up on groceries
Nothing is worse than going to make dinner only to find out that you are out of a key ingredient. Especially on a school night, or after coming home late from a child’s program. Now is the time to get our pantry’s and freezer’s stocked up on some basics to help keep meals easy to prepare.
I like to keep my pantry and freeze stocked with ingredients that make meal planning (and cooking) easy. Basic ingredient that can be used a lot of different ways.
Some of the pantry basics I keep are flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, tomato paste, olives, capers, roasted peppers, coconut milk, past, rice, salsa, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, and olive oil. There a lot more items in my pantry but those are the basics that I don’t even have to write on my grocery list, I just know that I should buy them.
In the freezer I like to keep butter, cheese, frozen fruit, frozen veggies, milk and pizza supplies. There are no frozen pizzas in this freezer, but I do like to keep a selection of meat, cheese and other perishable toppings in the freezer ready to go. I also keep extra bread and frozen pizza dough.
8. Stock you freeze (aka meal prep)
Future me is always so thankful to come home after a busy day to find prepared or partially prepared meals in the freeze ready to go. Now is a great time to spend part of a day getting some food in your freeze for those busy homeschooling days. Stocking your freezer with meals is a great way to get ready for back to homeschool.
Some meals I like to keep in the freezer are muffins, precooked sausage, meatballs, meatloaf, cooked taco meat, tortillas, extra sourdough bread, extra sauces and there might be a few casseroles. My family doesn’t love caseroles (lasagna would be the only exception) so my freezer tends to be stocked with meal starters. The key to successful freezer meal prep is knowing what your family likes to eat. Because if they don’t want to eat it, it will be a waste of your time.
9. Renew your library card
We are going to pivot a bit with this tip, but friends, go and renew your library card. Don’t have one? Go get one. Your local library is a wealth of resources. Probably more than you even realize. Library’s these days have a ton of digital resources. The only thing you need to access them is an active library card. At our library, some of the digital resources we can access include audiobooks, ebook, e-magazines, genealogy, newspapers, language learning apps, vehicle manuals, and so much more. Please, go and support your local library.
10. Have fun!
The last thing we can do to get ready for back to homeschool is… don’t forget to have fun. Your children are at home with your for a reason. Enjoy that time with them. Laugh, be silly, make a mess and make memories. Remember your why and try not to get too bogged down in the details. You GET to do this! Tell me in the comments what you are doing to get ready for back to homeschool this year.