From Box Day to Day One with BookShark

a stack of BookShark books on left; a girl doing science on the right

Is there anything more fun than getting a box filled with books delivered to your doorstep? Yes, there is! Opening a box filled with books! 

My daughter yelled at me from across the house, “They’re here! The books are here.” It didn’t matter that we had company over or that she was in the middle of a project. The BookShark box had arrived, and life could resume after we opened it. 

One, two, fifteen, twenty-five, forty-four books later, a calligraphy kit, instructor’s guides, origami kit, and student guides later, a sea of books lay across our kitchen table. Although it was still a few weeks before she’d start fifth grade, our BookShark Box Day made it hard to wait. 

Thankfully, there were a few things we could do in the meantime to make the most of our curriculum. Has your box arrived? Here are ways to organize your BookShark materials and get you and your kids ready and excited for day one of your homeschool year. 

Celebrate Box Day

Box Day is an exciting day! The contents of the box will help shape your year and guide your homeschoolers’ learning. Get your kids excited. Let them open the box and examine all of the materials. Read the backs of the books and look through the kits and guides. Talk about which books and activities they look forward to most. 

If your homeschooler, like mine, found herself very excited and a little overwhelmed by the amount of reading they were going to have to do, remind them this is a year worth of books and it’s not a race. We can always use Fridays (BookShark is set up as a four-day schedule) or spend extra time on lessons if we need or want to do so. 

Make Space for New Books

Forty-plus books and supplies need a place to live! One of the first things my daughter and I did after we poured over the resources was clear off a shelf. Keeping the materials together means no matter when we need them, they are easy to find. 

Organize Your New Curriculum

One of my daughter’s first questions was what we would be reading first. I opened up my instructor guide and read off the books we’d be reading the first week. Not surprisingly she wanted to know what we’d be reading during week two, and before long, she’d organized the books on the shelf chronologically. For my needs-to-know-what-to-expect daughter, putting the books in order got her even more excited and ready to begin. 

Gather Your School Supplies

From Box Day to Day One with BookSharkNow it was my turn to get organized. Binders, paper, pencils, a folder or two, I gathered the basic supplies we’d need. I put the student handouts in a binder with lined paper and organized my Instructor’s Guide into the large binder BookShark provided. Easy to follow instructions guided me through what I needed to put in each section. 

Browse the Instructor’s Guide

Now that my Instructor’s Guide was organized, I took my time to read through the sections and instructions. Detailed and filled with information, BookShark outlines each week, the philosophy of education, the purpose for each type of assignment, and offers a variety of supplemental activities, like current event projects, for students to dig even deeper into the units. 

Prep for Week One

Just a few days away from my daughter’s first day of fifth grade, I again looked through the Instructor’s Guide to make sure I had a good idea of what we’d be doing each day. My daughter and sat down and came up with a basic schedule for our homeschool day. As a working mom, it’s important we have a set time to work together. My daughter also looked through the shelf of books (again), calling out the ones she couldn’t wait to read. 

Anticipate Day One

I like to treat the night before a new homeschool year just like I would the night before a major holiday or vacation. The night before means we try to go to bed a little early and get a good night’s sleep. I make sure all our supplies are laid out, meals are planned, and the coffee pot is set up. I make sure my alarm clock goes off early enough that I’ll get a little quiet time before we begin, and make sure anytime we talk about our school year beginning, it’s with a tone of excitement. We get to begin learning something new! Tomorrow is almost here! 

Finally! Enjoy Day One of Homeschooling

Up early as I planned, I was barely out of my bedroom before I heard my homeschooler call out loudly from her bed, “Today’s the day!” The first day of fifth grade—any grade, of course—is special!

  • We made smoothies and grabbed our binders.
  • My homeschooler started the year like she has every year, by making a list of things she hopes to accomplish this year.
  • Next, she wrote What I Read on a blank piece of paper. This reading log is where she’ll list all of the books she reads from her BookShark curriculum and for recreational reading.
  • Next, came math, her favorite subject.
  • After that we moved on to BookShark Science. She started this curriculum last spring and was happy to get back to it. 
  • Next came our new curriculum, BookShark’s Eastern Hemisphere Reading with History and Language Arts. We both loved the variety of activities and reading assignments. For my part, I loved how everything was laid out in both chart and paragraph form. 

The three hours we spent together flew by. Much like we hoped, BookShark’s curriculum made our first week back to school a wonderful way to homeschool! 

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About the Author

Kelly Sage of Curiosity Encouraged

Kelly left teaching middle and high school English to homeschool her children and reclaim how she and her family spent their time. Followers of interest-led learning, her family's days rarely look the same, but they tend to include a lot of books, art supplies, and time outside.

Kelly facilitates local writing circles for women and children and blogs about nurturing the love of learning on her blog, Curiosity Encouraged. She loves to journal, read memoirs, hike, and travel. She seeks quiet mornings and good coffee daily.