As the year is ending off, many of us are letting out a long sigh of relief.
There is, however, no time like the present to get a head start on your planning and prepping for the new year. Our school year has officially ended, but I am busy getting a head start on the plan for next year so that we can start up again in the new year when we are ready.
There are a few things you can do now to help you start the year strong and organised.
Create a dedicated study space
If you have been homeschooling, clear your study space, leaving it nice and clean. If it is your first year of homeschooling, create a dedicated study space for next year. Make sure everyone has their own little space.
We have a table dedicated to homeschooling, and the teens have their own tables separate from the rest of us because they need a quieter study spot. If space is limited, assign everyone a seat around the table, put their name at their seat so that they feel like the space really is theirs.
Register for 2021
Register with your curriculum provider as soon as they open for the new year. This way you will get all the admin stuff out of the way early on. This will also ensure that your books arrive on time to start when you want to.
Signing up early also means you can familiarise yourself with the system. Impaq sends very cool yearly planners for each subject that allows us to plan the year out, so we stay on track.
Get clear on your schedule
This is going to look very different for everyone. I work from home, so we have to work out our schedule around that. If you are new to homeschooling, you might find you have to make some adjustments. You might find you need more or less time than you planned for, be flexible about this. It took us a whole term to really find our rhythm, but now that we have it, it works really well.
Set some rules
It will take some time for everyone to get back into it so set some homeschooling rules, even if your kids are little. Knowing their boundaries before you start will help everyone to stay on the same page. Write them down, print them out and stick them on the wall where the kids can always see them. Try to make the rules fun so that your kids don’t feel like they are at school.
Take it slow
It is going to take everyone a little time to adjust, especially after the year we had in 2020. Allow yourself and your kids some time to adjust. Don’t rush them or force them; this is the beauty of homeschooling; you can work with your child and their pace. There will be enough time!
Homeschooling tips for 2021
We have also learned a few lessons the hard way over the last two years. Here are some top homeschooling tips for 2021:
- Pro tip: Don’t buy too much stationery! Seriously. We haven’t bought much new stationery in the last two years. Stock up on the basics and then buy as and if you need it.
- Pro tip: Figure out your kids’ learning style before you buy books, games, educational computer programs, etc. I have one child who loves working through workbooks and another one who hates it. It can be so tempting to buy all the activity books you can find, but if your child is not into that it is not going to work, and it will be a struggle to get them to use the books or games.
- Pro tip: It is okay to take a few days off if it is just too much. I was so focused on homeschooling every single day for the time I had scheduled, but some days the kids were just not feeling it. So now we take a day off when we need it, and it makes life so much easier.
- Pro tip: Look for free resources before you buy. If you are signed up with a curriculum provider, like Impaq, you will get all the books and resources you will need but if you are looking for additional activities for your child, search the internet for free resources before buying additional books or online resources.
- Pro tip: Invest in a printer. Having a printer in your home can come in very handy. There is always something that needs to be printed and having a printer on hand means you can print when you need to, without having to leave the house in search of a PostNet.
Preparing for the new homeschooling year can be so much fun. If you have older children get them involved in the process. Ask them what additional things they would like to learn about so you can find information on those topics before the year starts. Let them help you set up the homeschooling space so that they feel like they are a part of the process. The best part about homeschooling is that it is a journey you are on with your child so involve them as much as you can.
Laura is a wife, business owner and homeschooling mom to four children. When she is not teaching kids about tree frogs and long division, she writes for Impaq Education, a curriculum provider for home education.