It seems like we just began our summer vacation and here it is - time to get back to the daily grind. We have been organizing, cleaning, scheduling, and ordering books. A great time to review what you did last year in your homeschool, and what you would like to do this year. Here are my top ten "to dos" before school starts each year!
1. Go through your supplies - get rid of things that are broken, don't work, or are not useful.
2. Take an inventory of what you need to replace, and what supplies you need to purchase for the year. I like to buy all of my school supplies in August - because the retailers offer them at such great prices! I buy a bucket load of mechanical pencils, notebooks, and glue sticks; and I typically have enough to make it through the year. Last year we ran out of mechanical pencils in the spring, so this year I have been sure to buy more than enough! (At $.50 for 10 this past week at Publix - we use mechanical pencils for everything!)
3. Clean out the area that you like to use for "schooling." Educational research has clearly shown that a cluttered work area is a big distraction for children. Even though it may be a huge inconvenience for us, making the "school" area neat and organized can pay off with increased time "on task."
4. Set up a school/work area that is conducive to learning. Make it kid friendly, comfortable, and learning rich. Make sure each child has a place to sit, that is comfortable.
5. Go through your curriculum. Yes, homeschoolers tend to be curriculum collectors. Come on now... admit it... go through it - and get rid of what you don't like, won't ever use, or just plain old unnecessary stuff. List it on ebay, and you'll be able to fund #7 below.
6. Sit down and review what you did last year. Did it work? Was everyone in your family satisfied? Was there any stress? Write down what you like and what you didn't like. Write down what you want to see out of your homeschool.
7. If you haven't already done so, look at new curriculum. (Most homeschoolers do this in the spring - when homeschool conventions abound and discouts are great!) Look for programs that will help you obtain the goals that you wrote down in #6.
8. Once you have researched, and reviewed curriculum that will help you achieve your goals for your home education, order it. My favorite place to order is CBD. I have a link on my sidebar that will let you search for various subjects on their site.
9. As soon as your curriculum arrives, review it. Make sure that it is what you expected and will fit your goals. Learn all you can about the requirements it will have for you family. Find out what work is involved, and what your children will need to do on a daily basis. Look for any suggested schedules contained in the curriculum.
10. Finally, make your goals clear and distinct. Construct a schedule, and organize you and your family's time. This year, I am going to try something new for us. We will be operating on more of a block scheduling system. So, our schedule will be something totally new for us.