Do These 3 Things Now for a Smoother Homeschool Year

If your family takes a break from homeschooling over the summer, then you probably relish the chance to put all thoughts of school on the shelf and have a more flexible schedule. This is a good thing! It’s beneficial for mom and for the kids to have time to invest in other pursuits.

However, there are some truly useful things that you can do now to smooth the way for the new school year. And you don’t have to give up the relaxed feel of summer break!

1. Setting Routines

In the summer, I let my little people sleep in later, and they have a lot more free time and flexibility during the day. However, we still keep a few pegs in the routine.

For example, we all gather for a Read-Aloud in the morning. The kids grab drawing materials, LEGO bricks, or some other project and listen as I read aloud or play an audiobook. Right now this segment lasts about 20 minutes. During the school year, this slot will become our Morning Time.

We also try to keep up with our regular chores. These are the basic things needed to keep the house running—laundry, dishes, and bathroom cleaning. Continuing to be consistent with these tasks means there’s no difficult transition when we get back to school.

Mom, summer is also a good time to set habits for yourself that are hard to add in once the school year gets going. Want some quiet time to yourself in the morning? Need to start a fitness routine? Slot in those important things now so they will be well established by the time you start back to school.

2. Skill Training

Speaking of chores, summer is a great time to evaluate who might be ready to graduate to a new level of household help and train for those tasks. Little people might be ready to put away silverware or dishes. Older kids might be ready to take on some laundry or cooking tasks.

You can train the older children in the skills they’re ready to adopt. Then have them work themselves out of their old tasks by training a younger sibling to take over! (Brilliant, right?!)

Summer is also a great time to train in habits that will be useful in all of life and will also help the school year to run more smoothly. Work on things like clearing places after a meal, getting dirty laundry actually into the hamper, and putting away supplies after a project is done.

Another great life skill to practice is time management and estimation. Planning to head to the pool or another outing? Ask everyone to estimate how long it will take to get dressed and gather proper supplies. Let them time themselves. How long does is really take? Do we need to start getting ready earlier? Are there ways we could streamline the process? 

3. Organizing for Independence

I’m sure the idea of organizing school supplies over the summer isn’t a new one. But here’s a new twist you may not have considered: organize for independent sustainability.

Do These 3 Things Now for a Smoother Homeschool YearIt’s awesome to have lovely containers and bins. School supplies can look Pinterest-perfect in just the right jars or drawers.

But instead, ask yourself how functional these storage solutions will be for the actual people in your home. If it takes Tetris-like skill to put the supplies away, you may find yourself on duty every day to get things back in order.

For example, in our home, we keep headphones in a pretty storage bin. But the cords were constantly getting tangled. I tried to show the kids how to wrap the cords, but a couple times a week, I found myself untangling masses of wire. Now, we put each pair of headphones in a Ziploc bag. Not super attractive, but much more kid-friendly and functional.

Maybe your math manipulatives come pre-packaged in a container with just the right sized slots for each piece. It’s so gratifying to see them all organized in such a visually appealing way. But for long-term sustainability, you might want to opt for a bigger bin so a few quick scoop-and-dumps can get the job done, even by little hands.

Put the things you use every single day at eye-level for the people who use them. And don’t make your organizing systems too complicated for little ones to maintain. It might be obvious to you which books are Science  and which are History, but colored stickers on the spines might be more straightforward for the kids.

Think back to last year. What systems were you, mom, constantly having to reset, rework, or re-organize? Can you let go of that system or settle for a less pretty, but more independently manageable one? Your future self will thank you!

Of course, the number one best thing you can do over the summer to make the school year run smoothly is to love on your kids, smile at them, encourage them, and let them know they can talk to you about anything. Solid relationships always trump chores and organizing systems for making the home a happy place, hands down!

About the Author

Lynna Sutherland • Homeschooling without Training WheelsLynna is a former homeschooler, then classroom teacher, now homeschool mom of eight crazy (and lovable) hooligans from middle school down to bouncing baby.

She calls her blog Homeschooling without Training Wheels because she loves to encourage families to embrace the freedom and flexibility that come with homeschooling and let go of the things that are holding them back! You can read more in her free eBook 5 Myths that are Killing Your Multi-Age Homeschool


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