Can you believe it’s already 2023? Amidst all the joy and festivities of the holiday season, it may have slipped your mind entirely to prepare for the new year of homeschooling. And that’s ok! It’s important to find time for rest and for family and friends over Christmas and New Year’s.
How to Prepare for a New Year of Homeschooling
Still, preparation in the beginning of a new semester or year is essential for success. But don’t let this stress you out! We’ve put together this simple guide of the five steps to take to prepare your family for a successful new year of homeschooling ahead.
Step 1: Take Time to Reflect on 2022
Before you even get started organizing and planning for the new year, take some time to reflect on the past one. What went well in your home school? What could be improved?
Unfortunately, we often overlook taking time for reflection. Instead, we are constantly on the go, moving from one thing to the next. But taking the time to reflect on the highlights and difficulties of homeschooling last year will give you fresh perspective in planning and organizing for 2023.
So, perhaps with pen and paper in hand to jot down a list, take a few moments to gather your thoughts about the last year. Here’s a few questions you can ask yourself to get you started:
- Which subjects did your child succeed in? Which were more difficult? Can you pinpoint why that might be?
- Does your child need to spend more time with a subject? Or are they moving ahead faster than expected?
- Which books seem to be working in your curriculum? Which don’t?
- Did you schedule enough field trips and opportunities to learn outside of the home last year?
- Did your family participate in any extracurriculars like community service?
Step 2: Get Organized
Now it’s time to get organized. Some of you may love getting organized for the school year and the rest of you… well, let’s just say you’d rather spend your time doing something else.
Regardless of how you feel about organizing, it’s difficult to say it’s unimportant. Ensuring your home school is ready to go on Day One is a crucial element to a successful year and not something to be ignored.
A good place to start is with cleaning out the schoolroom. It’s unlikely this place has stayed sparkly clean over the holidays and more probable that it became a guest bedroom for friends or family.
Afterward, you’ll need to gather the school supplies. Do you need three-ring binders for each subject? College-ruled notebook paper? Pens and pencils? A daily planner or calendar? Now’s the time to restock your inventory so you’re not scrambling last minute.
What about books? We often run sales on our bookstore in between semesters, so be on the lookout for resources that might be useful this coming year.
Step 3: Plan Out the Semester
While an overly detailed, specific schedule planned this early in the year will likely only lead to frustration when you inevitably can’t stick to it, planning a rough outline of the semester now is undeniably essential for homeschooling successfully.
So, with your notes and ideas from the reflection stage, pencil in a tentative outline in your calendar or planner for the new semester. Your plan doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should give you a general idea of how to spend each week to work toward your goals. And speaking of goals, be realistic and set achievable ones!
You can plan out dates like your last day of school, field trips to take throughout the next few months, and which day of the week your community meets on. And remember, it’s important not to compare yourself to others! One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that each family can customize their learning to suit their specific needs. So, when planning out your semester, don’t include events or materials just because you think that’s what everyone else is doing. Instead, go with what you know works for your family!
On the other hand, if you’re really struggling to plan out your semester, reach out to your Licensed Director or another trusted homeschooling parent. Classical Conversations local communities are all about supporting one another throughout the homeschooling journey. Be sure to take advantage of the guidance and accountability others offer!
Step 4: Make the First Day a Great Day
You have reflected, organized, and planned. You’re almost through the five steps to take to prepare for homeschooling in 2023!
Instead of a planning out a million things to do on your first day back, consider easing into homeschooling again. Some ideas to make this first day fun for the whole family are to have a semester kick-off party by making one of your favorite meals together or to only work through your curriculum in the morning so your family can enjoy the afternoon off.
This will give the kids something to look forward to on the first day of school rather than dreading going back during all of Christmas break. And, it will energize them for the semester ahead!
Step 5: Plan for the Unplanned
There’s nothing like preparing for the new semester, then only to fall off track several days in by missing deadlines you set for your family. Don’t be discouraged when—not if—this happens.
Give yourself and your family some time to readjust to swing of things. It can be difficult getting back into a routine after a school break! Expect some bad days here and there. Expect not to get everything done you planned to get done. Remain humble and trust that God will guide and provide. And, rely on other homeschooling parents in your community for support and accountability (that’s what they’re there for!).
You Got This. We Got You.
Whether this is your first semester homeschooling or your last, remember that you can homeschool. As your child’s parent, you know how they learn best. That means there is no better person prepared to homeschool your child than you!
May God bless your family’s new year of homeschooling!
Not yet a Classical Conversations member and interested in our community-based approach to homeschooling? We’d love to hear from you! To learn more about us, click here.