Sunday, August 8, 2010

Getting Ready for the School Year

This past June I posted about my "schedule" that I go by every year when our school year is finished and I am preparing for the next school year.  You can read that post here if you like.  It is now August, and I am a bit behind on my schedule!  We will start school tomorrow, and I still don't quite have all of my lesson plans ready yet. 
I suppose we could just wait an extra week to start school, but I have a good reason for going ahead and starting next week.  Actually, I have two good reasons.  Here's the first reason:  Each summer, a friend of my children stays with us during the day while her parents are at work.  She doesn't homeschool, and she has to return to school tomorrow.  We usually go ahead and start school the same week she goes back.  I have found that it seems like a "natural" time for my kids to "go back to school" since their friend is going back to school too.  Besides that, it actually makes the transition back to school (after having a friend over to play and visit all summer) much easier.  Instead of my kids sitting around having lots of time to miss their friend, they are kept busy from the very first day that she doesn't come over regularly any more.

The other reason we start school so early is that starting early gives us plenty of days to get our school work done and still be able to take off "extra" days or even a week or two here and there during the year.  I've mentioned before that we often take off a few "just for fun" days in the spring and fall when the weather here is so wonderful.  We also like to take off a week or more at Thanksgiving,  two weeks at Christmas, and a week or two in the spring when the kids' friend usually stays with us while she's out of school for spring break.  And then there are often other things that happen that require us to take a day off.  Sometimes my younger daughter's ballet class does a daytime performance somewhere since there are so many homeschool girls in the class and they are able to take a day off to perform occasionally.  At times, a friend or relative needs me to babysit for a day or so.  Sometimes we just don't feel very well and prefer to rest a little that day.  It is so wonderful to have the freedom to take these days off and not have to worry about making them up since we have so many "extra" days already built into our schedule!  

I suppose I should have started seriously working on my lesson plans several weeks ago, but for various reasons I just didn't do it.  All this past week I've been staying up late and working as hard as I can to get them all done.  I don't technically "have" to do lesson plans, but I've found that the children and I all do much better when I do.  I have homeschool friends who write down what they get done each day but don't actually write lesson plans ahead of time.  I tried doing that once myself, and it just didn't work for me.  I found that I must have some kind of goal for what we need to get done each day.  Otherwise it's too easy for the children and me to slack off and not get enough done. 

Well, ready or not we will get started tomorrow!  To tell the truth, I'm really looking forward to it.  I love to be in a routine, and I enjoy teaching too.  I don't think my kids are quite as happy about it as I am, though!  I think they probably don't dislike it as much as they say they do.  I think it's just more that their friend won't be here every day and they will miss her.  Besides, whether they admit it or not, they really were beginning to get bored with so much "time off" this summer. 

Have the rest of you started school yet?  Or are you planning to wait until September to get going?  I would love a quick comment from you!  Whether you have already started or are waiting a few more weeks, I pray that this will be your best school year yet! 
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  1. I am one of those people who write things down after we do them, as a way of checking things off. The Homeschool Crew is one great reason to not have a set-in-stone plan, since once the children see goodies in the mail (such as Pyramath the other day), they want to drop everything and play with them :) I can see why children older than mine need more structure though. It sounds like you are doing a great job and your kids are lucky you teach them!

    Question though: why do so many homeschoolers start school this week or the next? I notice from the blogs I am following that almost everyone is getting started these days. Just curious.

    Best of luck to you & family!

  2. Well, like I mentioned in this post, many folks go ahead and get started so that they can take days/weeks off during the school year whenever they want to without worrying about "falling behind." Also, I have quite a few friends whose kids usually ASK to start school in late July or early August because they are bored and ready to get back to work. (If my kids actually ASKED TO start school, I would do it even if it was still June!!) And, like I also mentioned, the schools around here start on the second week of August, so it seems like a "natural" time for us to go back to school too. We don't have to go by the public school schedule, and we usually don't, but it's SO nice to have enough "extra" days built into our schedule that we can time off any time we want to.

    I hope you and your family have a great school year too!