But it's back-ordered. Or maybe it's delayed due to long shipping or fulfillment times. Boo.
Waiting is always hard. But a temporary delay to your desired first day of school doesn't have to derail your homeschool experience. Here are things to do while you wait.
1. Start with What You Do Have
Maybe your full curriculum hasn't arrived, but you have the math part. Do math each day! You don't have to have everything all at once to start. In fact, a lot of homeschoolers start each year slowly by adding one or two subjects each week. Easing into the routine is a good idea!
Scour your shelves for any kind of material you might have to start right away even before you have everything on hand.
- Maybe you've got a science kit or craft kit on a bookshelf—a forgotten Christmas present from years ago. Pull that out and use it now.
- What family games do you have on hand? Kick off your school year with a tournament!
- What maps or atlases are lying around? Spend a day or two delving into geography.
- Are there craft supplies or sports equipment you could use for impromptu art or PE lessons?
You don't have to follow a formal curriculum to still consider yourself having school. If the kids are learning, count it as a school day.
2. Ask Your Homeschool Friend for a Short Term Loaner
If you have a friend who has been homeschooling for a while, you're ahead of the game! Ask her what she could loan you to get over the hump to Box Day.
She likely has a wealth of resources on the shelf and will have the exact idea of something to fill that gap for you: an activity kit, a stack of great Read-Alouds, or a set of learning games, for example.
3. Ask Your Kids for Ideas
Find out what topics your kids are interested in, and plunge in with a unit study that lasts until Box Day. Don't worry about structuring it like a teacher would. Just explore the topic in a natural way!
- Watch documentaries.
- Read internet articles.
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks.
- Have family discussions.
- Cook relevant recipes.
- Older kids can write reports or make digital slideshows.
- Younger kids can make dioramas or other hands-on crafts.
4. Nesting! Design Your Homeschool Space
Use your wait time to set up the most inviting learning area you can dream up and afford. Whether it's a dedicated room or just a corner of the dining room or den, setting aside a designated space helps kids transition into schooling at home.
Let the kids help you organize it and provide input. Maybe they want beanbags for reading or a long table for working. Does the room need more storage or a bright floor lamp?
Now is the time to get your school area in shape.
If you have toddlers or preschoolers, now is a great time to set up activities for keeping the little one busy so you can focus on homeschool lessons.
5. Hone Your Home Routines and Chores
Working and schooling at home changes the entire family dynamic. Chores are more important than ever and have to be done more frequently. Before your curriculum arrives, lay out your plan for keeping meals, laundry, and other household tasks running smoothly with everyone pitching in.
Maybe you could spend a few days freezer cooking (also called once a month cooking or batch cooking) where the whole family pitches in to prepare a high volume of meals that are then frozen. Having a stockpile of thaw-and-heat meals will make lunches and dinners easier once your curriculm does arrive.
The Delay Could Be a Blessing in Disguise
It's easy to think that school doesn't really count until you're following your Instructor's Guide and checking all the boxes. But as long as learning is happening, you truly can count the days as homeschooling. Remember, your kids have class parties, movie days, field days, and field trips in public school — all of which count as instructional days.
And while Box Day is exciting, it's can also be a tad overwhelming for some parents. Savor this time between clicking the purchase button and getting your delivery to shift your mindset and get your house in order for a new adventure of school at home.