As a mother, and particularly as a homeschool mother, I often feel like all I do is prepare. I prepare countless meals, prepare to leave the house to go on field trips or swim meets, and prepare for school. I have often thought that I spend more time preparing to do something than I spend actually doing it. Seriously, how long does it take your kids to wolf down dinner? When it comes to preparing for school, though, I know that every second I spend preparing will mean smoother school days.
We start back to school tomorrow after an 8 week break. Over the past 8 weeks, I’ve spent lots of time preparing for our new school year. What are some of the things that can be done over break to make the school year run more smoothly?
- Organize and inventory school supplies. I spent most of an afternoon organizing all of our school supplies, checking to make sure we had everything we need, and checking to make sure that everything was in good, working order. I even set up a sharpening center for our pencils and organized our colored pencils by shade!
- Read over teacher’s manuals. Over break, I’ve used the trapped time I have while waiting for my children at swim team practice to plan for our new school year.
- Spend some time at your local office supply store. This summer, I’ve been a frequent visitor to the copy center at Staples. I’ve had bindings removed, copies made, and curriculum materials spiral bound.
- Clean, organize, and re-decorate the physical space in which you spend much of your school day. While not everybody has (or wants) the blessing of a dedicated school room, I love having a space specifically for our homeschool. I’ve spent lots of time in our school room this summer and am particularly excited about our new cozy rug!
- Make freezer meals for busy school days. Well, let’s just say I sure do wish I had a freezer full of yummy meals already prepared.
- Plan field trips. I try to only plan those field trips that will fit in with what we are studying in history and science for the year.
- Make a master schedule for the school year. After spending some serious time with our calendar, I was able to design a school year that works around out-of-state swim meets, holidays, and a homeschool convention that we’re attending. I’ve completely parted ways with the traditional school calendar and have planned a 36 week school year that works for us!
- Set up a schedule for your school days.
- Do as much prep-work as you can while you have more time. I usually cut out the mini-books for the lapbooks that my children complete. Having the pieces pre-cut really streamlines the process of actually getting a lapbook completed. If I can cut out pieces while relaxing at the end of a long day with a movie or favorite television show, I enjoy the prep-work. So, prep game boards, gather materials for science experiments, and laminate things when the pressure is off.
So, what do you do over the summer to get ready for the new school year? Do you enjoy the prep-work involved in homeschooling your children? What tips have you learned to help you streamline school-prep?
Samantha writes about family life and homeschooling at To Be Busy at Home.