This school year is such an odd one for me. Normally I am looking at curriculum and planning out projects for the coming year. Half of me is doing that. However, half of me is also preparing one for a charter school. With two kids with completely different schooling choices, I have to take a new approach to preparing for a new school year. Are you homeschooling, traditional schooling, or some combination? Find out my tips for preparing for a new school year.
Preparing for a New School Year
I’m going to share a few tips for homeschool and a few tips for non-homeschooled students. If you are only doing one of these schooling choices, feel free to skip to the ones that apply to you.
Preparing for a new school year in a charter school
This has been such an adjustment for us already. We’ve done Summer homework, ordered uniforms, and visited the school to sign up for a parent email account. I still have so much to do though as we have to pick up school supplies and prepare her for this new adventure.
School Supply Shopping
The school supply lists can feel long and it can be tempting to cut corners. Don’t. When most teachers put together those school supply lists they are setting the bare essentials. Keep in mind that teachers will pay way more than you do to put supplies, books, decorations, and materials into that classroom.
It can be tempting to hit 16 different stores looking for the best deals on school supplies. If you will watch sites like Amazon you can find amazing deals without having to leave the house. Target has an option to buy online and ship it to the store. You can place your entire order from the comfort of your home take advantage of sales and focus on other things.
Be Careful of Store Deals
Some store deals can seem promising. However, many deals require you to buy other items to qualify for the deal price. Do you really need those other supplies or would you spend less by buying just what you need? Also, make sure that the discount items are good quality or you will be buying them again sooner than later. Sometimes paying a bit more can save you from spending more later.
Shopping for school clothes
Shopping for school clothes can get stressful when you are buying multiple uniform pieces that have to be a very specific type. Plan to pay in advance for some school uniforms as some are custom made. I recommend trying outlets and online sales to save money where you can on these. Ask your school if they have a second-hand store. Some schools will let you buy gently used uniforms at a discount.
Preparing your child academically
Many families love to take the summer off to travel and spend time together. While this can be fun, summer is also a great time to work on filling in any learning gaps your child might have before moving up to the next level. Some schools will assign summer homework while others will not. Look at areas where you know your child could use some work and find fun ways to help them to learn those skills before a new school year.
Another huge way to prepare your child for a new school year is to keep them reading all summer. Summer reading is so important as it grows their vocabulary, strengthens their reading skills, and helps them to be prepared for a new school year. Find a few fun books and get the kids reading.
Start adjusting bedtimes and establishing routines
It can be a huge culture shock to go from the freedom of summer to the structure of a traditional school schedule if there is no transition. A few weeks before school it is important to start working on earlier bedtimes and earlier wake-ups to prepare your child for this transition. I also recommend adding in daily chores that they will be responsible for after school during the school year. Starting a routine now will help you to have less push back when school starts.
Have an honest talk about safety
With the current culture, it is so important to discuss safety with our children. What bus do they ride? Who is safe to go home with? What is consent? Who can I go to if I am feeling threatened? What do I do if there is a school shooting? How do I avoid being the bully? All of these questions need to be addressed in your home before your child ever goes to school. If your child has not been in a classroom setting in the past, prepare them for school lockdown and shooter drills as they are commonplace now.
Preparing for a new Homeschool Year
I have definitely had to adjust my expectations this year. I am only homeschooling one child and will be working as well. This means that my husband will be doing the bulk of the schooling with our 8-year-old son. It’s such a different ball game with just one at home and I am sure we will have to adjust a lot of our expectations.
Choose your curriculum
One of the most overwhelming parts of homeschooling can be picking the right curriculum for each child. You can see what we are doing for the coming year here. As you choose your curriculum, keep in mind that each child will learn a different way. You may have to use some variety based on different learning styles.
Saving money on curriculum
You can save some serious money on homeschool curriculum by buying used from other homeschool moms or signing up for the company’s email list so that you know when they are running a sale/promotion. I recommend taking advantage of free trials and placement tests to avoid buying a curriculum that isn’t a fit or buying the wrong level.
Picking out your school supplies
It can be tempting to try and make your homeschool look like a classroom. While some families love the classroom feel, it is not necessary. Instead, look at the projects and lessons you have planned and pick up what you need most.
While you can’t plan for everything it helps to get rid of clutter and get things ready for your child to learn well in your home. This can mean doing some lesson planning, changing around rooms in the house to accommodate learning, or giving the house a good deep clean. I find that it is easier to homeschool in a home that is clean as it helps the kids and myself to focus better.
Do you have rules and guidelines established for the hard homeschool days? Are there consequences for disobedience during school work? What will the expectations be? Take some time to sit down and work with the kids to establish the boundaries before you ever start your first day.
Choose your co-ops, clubs, and extracurriculars
It can help to spend some time in the summer putting together a game plan for co-ops, clubs, and extracurriculars. Some of these will have fees associated with them and some will have signup deadlines. Make sure to spend some time researching these so that you can make sure you are in the right ones.
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