Are you practicing these homeschool dos and don’ts?
After experiencing six first days of homeschool, you’d think I’d remember to abide by all the classic dos and don’ts. But the truth is, even in my sixth year as a home educator, I must remind myself to come back to this list and take it all in.
Whether it’s your first day, week, year, or you’re already an experienced homeschooler, I’m sure we could all use these friendly reminders to help make the most of our homeschool journey. Here’s my list of major do’s and don’ts when preparing for the first day of homeschool.
First Day of Homeschool Dos
1. Do Review Your Teacher’s Guides Beforehand
Be sure to look over all your curricula and teacher’s guides to ensure you have all the supplies you need for your lessons and enrichment activities.
2. Do Make it Special
Roll out the red carpet and make the first day of homeschool a big deal. You can throw a party, gift new backpacks full of fun school supplies, or have a special breakfast to welcome the new school year.
3. Do Examine Your Learning Environment
Wherever you decide to learn, whether in a schoolroom or at the dining room table, make sure the environment is conducive to learning. Keep the space tidy and organized, play soft classical music in the background (or whatever music you like), and ensure the area is well lit with plenty of windows or lightbulbs that mimic natural sunlight.
4. Do Ease into a Solid Routine
A solid routine isn’t born on the first day of school. It’ll take time to establish one that’s perfect for your family. Be flexible and use the first day to take note of what works and what doesn’t.
5. Do Give Your Children a Voice
Schedule some time to have a family talk to learn what your children are most looking forward to learning for the school year. Encourage your children to provide feedback on how the first day is going and what they think needs to improve in the future.
6. Do Take First Day of School Pictures
Whether you arrange professional photos or whip out your phone camera, you’ll never regret capturing the moment. Many cute First-Day-of-Homeschool signs are floating around the internet, so take advantage of those freebies.
First Day of Homeschool Don’ts
1. Don’t Over-schedule the Fun
It’s tempting to overcrowd your schedule with all sorts of fun lessons, enrichment activities, and field trips, but take it easy. Remember, you have all the school year to have amazing learning experiences. Pick one fun thing to do on the first day so that it isn’t too overwhelming for your family.
2. Don’t Force Your Teaching Method Onto Your Children
Your preferred teaching method may not be the best fit for your child’s learning needs. It takes time to learn how each of your children learns best. Be sure to use the first few weeks of school to study their preferred learning style and follow their lead. Here’s an excellent guide for assessing your child’s learning style.
3. Don’t Copy and Paste Someone Else’s Style
Resist the urge to hijack another family’s routine, method, and/or style. You’ll save yourself from disappointment when your family rejects it. All families have different dynamics, personalities, learning styles, and values that determine how they decide to homeschool. You must be patient and go through the process of establishing a routine that’s unique to your family’s needs.
4. Don’t Introduce All Subjects at Once
You don’t have to do all the subjects on the first day. Introducing just one or two topics at a time throughout the week is a great way to ensure you’re easing into your school year slowly and leaving room for enrichment activities.
5. Don’t Do Everything Yourself
Remember, it’s okay to outsource subjects, hire a tutor, do virtual learning, involve your spouse, or arrange for your older children to help you teach the younger ones if they’re willing.
6. Don’t Get Discouraged
I’ve heard it said that sometimes what’s most important receives the least handclaps. All the effort you put into the first day of school—and the entire year for that matter—may seem underappreciated. Don’t be discouraged; you are a valuable asset to your family and our society. If no one has clapped for you today, allow me to be the first: Well done! 👏
Do Remember That Your Children Are Learning from You Even When You’re Not Teaching
When you pack away the curriculum and complete your homeschool hours, remember that the most important teaching you can do is with your actions. Be the example of someone who loves learning, and your children will surely follow suit.