Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hot Homeschooling Tips

The new school year is approaching quickly! Many of you have already started school already, but some of you, like me, are stretching summer out as long as we can and waiting to officially start after Labor Day (can I get an amen?).

Well, my tip to share with you today is something I learned years ago, that I thought might be of some value to you. I shared it with some friends this past weekend and they liked it so I thought maybe you would too! Here it is....

A while back I would try to start the first school on a Monday...then I would have to do school for the next five days. I found that challenging to do with the little ones, especially trying to adjust to a full day schedule of all subjects. I would feel depleted by Tuesday! (moms of small children--can I get another amen?)

So I started doing our first day of school on the THURSDAY before Labor Day.

And we would have a party instead.

Yes, a back to school party to get them all excited about coming back and having fun! We would have a special breakfast, games, outdoor sport competitions, treasure hunt---and oh yes---we would also look at our new books and write our names in them and check them out. We would also learn about where our school spaces where that year and guidelines we needed to follow to ensure maximum peace in our home (ha!). I would also like to print out some back to school crossword puzzles, word searches and coloring pages for the younger ones to display everywhere for dad when he got home.

Then on FRIDAY we would have a half day of school. Doing about one page of workbook out of each subject and some light reading and feeling out our schedules and books. Then we have the three day weekend. I use the weekend to plan more, adjust things I think might not work and pick up any last things I may have forgotten (like more play-doh to keep the twins occupied!).

This makes it alot easier on me to get adjusted and not feel overwhelmed in having to approach a five day school week and gives me a little room to adjust and ease our entire family into the schedule. When Tuesday arrives, we dive right in and still only have a four day week for the first week instead of the FIVE. Doing this simple rescheduling for our first has really helped so much for us to look forward to the coming school year and slowly easing us into our schedule.


To break up the routine of the week, we also have FRIDAY FUN DAY. We use this day to get in things like crafts, art class, science experiments, educational boardgames, sewing and cooking projects, and more hands on types of things that require more time and don't fit well into the rest of the week. The children always look forward to this day and so do I! It is nice to know that the extracurricular projects have a day to fall on without interfering on their regular school days Monday-Thursday. This way we get more accomplished and crafts, etc. will get done. The only regular class we still do is Math in the early morning!


We love going on field trips as a family, but we don't love the astronomical prices. So before your school year begins, I like to do a search of all the free days in our area to the local museums, aquariums, planetarium, zoo and so forth and actually pencil them into the planner. This way we don't miss them and save LOADS of money!


Our library has free classes for children where they get to read books and do crafts, and also teach crocheting, knitting, embroidery and papercrafts. Our nearby library also offers free sewing and a chess club. There is alot of opportunity to try different things without paying alot of money but again, they key is writing them down and remembering to do it. Don't forget that Michael's also offers free craft classes for kids every weekend (sometimes you might need to pay a small materials fee.)

Stay tuned for next week where I will be sharing my annual Homeschool Rooms of 2011 post!

Now do you have a homeschooling tip to share with us?

We'd love to hear it!


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Brittany said...

We actually home-school all year. It's just easier for us that middle child has ADHD (I don't like labels, by the and even though a gluten free diet has helped TREMENDOUSLY, any change in schedule is something not easily dealt with. This keeps us on schedule all the time :)

Our library also has free oldest daughter attended a reading and science class (once a month) last year. They also have cute little things like, "Read to a Therapeutic Dog."

Jen said...

Thank you, I am new to homeschooling and still have 2 in the public schools as well. It's going to be an interesting year. I was just feeling guilty this morning for not starting my home schooled daughter on her subjects yet. It's tough when the other two don't have to start yet. I lik the easing in. I think we will do this. I look forward to more advise throughout the year.

Honey and Pappy said...

Amen to starting after Labor Day! I always feel Labor Day is the end of Summer.

Mrs Mary Joy Pershing said...

Thanks for the advise. Sounds like a great way to start. We had a lot of fun with our first 3 days this week.

I thought I would mention that Lowe's has free classes for kids a few Saturdays a month if you sign up in advance. They list what the children will be building on their website and you can sign up there too.

Thanks for sharing the great free ideas that you use with your family for field trips. We are taking one today...our weekly favorite...The Farmer's Market! :D

Have a blessed year!

Mrs Mary Joy Pershing

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Fuentes,
These are two great tips! This is my first year homeschooling and I probably would have started on a monday. I am definitely going to try this as my kids have gone through a huge move this summer from overseas back to the states. Our schedule is definitely way off.
Many Blessings,
Sarah L.

Sonya Schroeder said...

Oh how I love these tips. This is out first year HS and we started on a Wednesday with my older son schedule. Starting after Labor Day would have been awesome as well. Thank you for sharing these. We will take away Fun Friday for projects and such. I really like this idea because I can then focus on subjects during the week and not the projects. Blessing to you girl cant wait for the next set of tips!! ~Sonya

Beth Werner Lee said...

I love these tips. Yes, I learned some too late, but one I heard last year and found to work was to plan a "free" week into the schedule for a breather. Not vacation but down time from pushing ahead, sort of a breather to catch up or do more of what you enjoyed.
Here's how it worked for us this year:
My husband is a professor so he is on the academic calendar also and has some M/T off. These are great for setting aside my curriculum (4/5 days scheduled) and we spent W-F reviewing and reading, relaxed. Then when I picked up the curriculum to continue the next week we felt fresh. At the end of the year (May) this is really important since I noticed we get rather brain-dead. But this year we extended a one day introduction of Shakespeare in History to a whole week (5th grade) reading children's versions, historical fiction, and then watching DVDs we checked out from the library (during which I read the complete silently for fun cause I'm like that).
This week we had a dead week too: downtime where you can forget what day it is. I need that before starting up again.

Far Above Rubies said...

Excellent tips, June. This is the first year I decided to continuing schooling through the summer. It's been good for the children and me, but maybe I'll have a party anyway. :-)

Summer includes lighter work with loads of reading.

Lastly, I find the dollar store sometimes carries some great phonics, math, and penmanship workbooks. I lucked out today at Michael's and purchased a math and phonics workbook for $2.00.

Anonymous said...

I would have loved to start later but we have to begin sooner than planned because we are moving in two and half months.

I like your idea of a back to school party later on in the week, but does it take a lot of extra planning to do that?

Ginger said...

Great tips! As a homeschooling mom, I can use all the tips I can get my hands on:)

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Dear Mary,

Yes, Lowes does have free classes and so does the Home Depot!

We are going to try to make it out to one and make a wooden locker with chalkboard on the inside. My kids are excited and can't wait!

Many blessings...

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