Gearing Up

I know most of you don’t want to read this, but I can’t help myself LOL.

I’m gearing up for back to school. 🙂

We’ve been out for four weeks and five days, and have 8 weeks and 1 day to go till our first day of school.

HOWEVER

This is not the “praise Jesus school is coming again, get this kid outta my hair” kinda gearing up (a la Jen Hatmaker) no, that will come later.  No, this is much more the “yay back to school shopping, new crayons and bouquets of sharpened pencils” type gearing up.  I was the weird (maybe not so weird, someone back me up here) kid that loved to go back to school shopping.  I have brand loyalty to office products and school supplies.  I was the one who emptied and reorganized my backpack three times a day every day the two weeks before school started.  I was the one who couldn’t wait to wear the new school clothes we’d picked out and purchased.  Didn’t matter if it was going to be 85* the first day of school (and we didn’t have AC in the sticks) and all the clothes we bought were for winter – I was wearing those new outfits.

So, I guess it should be considered normal for me (especially as a homeschool mom now) that I’m selecting and buying curriculum (and wishing I’d started at least a month ago).  I’m organizing supplies (and said curriculum) and our school room.  I’m lovingly washing uniforms and hanging them up – heck I may even iron them.  More importantly (at least for us) I’m starting to make minor changes to our day to already start easing us into the schedule we will have to assume when school starts.  I’ve started using my alarm clock again (even if it’s set to 7 or 7:30 rather than 5:45).  I’ve started showing Inara what our schedule for the day will include (without associated times).  I’ve started encouraging her to do some “school” type work (sumer bridge activities as well as reading and handwriting practice) on her own.  In another week or two I will make this time mandatory as opposed to optional, as well as slowly moving wake up times up so that over the next two months we ease into the 6:30 and 6:am wake-up times.

I’ve also started mentally comparing our schedule from last year and thinking about what changes or adjustments will need to be made.  Is there anything specifically for our home study times that needs to be added or removed?  Are there things for our class study days that will need adjusting since I won’t be baby sitting on those days this year?  Over the next few weeks I’ll observe and mentally register, then a couple weeks before school I’ll actually plan out how our day will work, and type up a schedule.

This is our schedule for the end of the year two years ago (made April 2013) and is the most recent picture/screen caption of one.

This is our schedule for the end of the year two years ago (made April 2013) from public school.

This was our routine by the end of last school year (March 2014) at our University Model School.

This was our routine by the end of last school year (March 2014) at our University Model School.

 

I use an excel spreadsheet that was a blog download back around 2009 from a blog I can’t remember and don’t even know if it is still active.  It’s customizable and includes worksheets for families up to three kids, and I love how simple it is to map out our normal routine with it.  Sometimes it makes me feel exhausted looking at it though.

I realize that not everyone is going to put rigid structure in their day (and honestly we don’t follow these to a T but they do provide a reference and I find when I do follow a printed out plan for the day, no matter how loosely, our day goes more smoothly and is more productive.

HOWEVER

Kids in particular thrive on boundaries, structure, routine, and predictability for the most part.  SO, I would strongly recommend figuring out a routine to aim for if you have kids of school age.  Odds are a natural routine already exists within your day, you just need to take the time to observe it and firm it up.

I was talking to a friend earlier (well, it was really a one sided conversation and I might have gotten a bit preachy – sorry friend :-D) about this very topic and with the same/similar advise, and realized it’s something that would benefit a lot of families, especially new school aged families and ESPECIALLY new homeschool families.  So I decided to share with everyone. 🙂

 

Trust me when I say, this type of planning, a firm routine, scheduled days, all of it REALLY isn’t my strong suit in fact for the first SEVERAL years of Inara’s life I actively rebelled against it (and I’m still never going to see eye to eye with the firm boundaries of baby wise and the like, I’m way to attachment based for that, which is cool, everyone has their thing) refusing to schedule naps or feeding times or anything.  The results were both chaotic, but revealing.  A natural flow showed up in our days when time was left to it’s own devices.  So, buy about age 3 I started setting it up on paper.  I didn’t really change anything in Inaras routine, I just wrote it down.  And if you’re a family without that structure at this point, I’d recommend doing the same.  Just observe your days for a week or two, then write down what you observe as a loose schedule.  From there you can think about (and talk with your spouse or kids) about what changes you think may need to be made to make for a better flow, or to set you up for a smother transition into a school year.

So, anyone have any other tips or suggestions related to this?  Any more seasoned homeschool veterans or those with bigger families have other suggestions that have worked well for you and your families?

 

We will talk more in a couple weeks about setting up your actual *school* time and options for organizing the teaching and learning of stuff, but in my mind your general daily schedule, and your school time schedule are actually different – again, maybe I’m just weird that way. :-p

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