Over on Sonlight's Homeschool Support Forum they're beginning to gear up for the coming school year. One of my favorite blessings of homeschooling is the ability to determine your own school schedule ... when to begin and when to end your year. August was always a great start time for our family. However, regardless of when the first day of school may fall, summer is a great time to think about what the year will look like.
One of the most helpful exercises we would engage in prior to the start of school each year was the "principal/teacher" meeting. My husband and I would head out for an afternoon or evening to a local park or restaurant where we could talk without interruption. The purpose was to review the previous school year and set goals for the coming year. For each child/student we would make a list of 2-3 Academic goals and 2-3 Spiritual goals. Those goals would be based on our review of the previous year. So a sample goals list might look something like this:
JOHNNY'S 2012 GOALS:
- Master phonics skills
- Focus on foundational math concepts
- Work on "immediate obedience" - answer the first time mom calls
- Encourage and facilitate scripture memory in AWANA
The value in writing out each student's goals was two-fold ... 1) it helped me to head into the school year with a clear picture of what I was aiming for, and 2) in the middle of the school year (usually long about February), when I had days where I was overwhelmed and couldn't remember why in the world I was homeschooling, it was a good reminder of where my focus should be.
Box Day was always another favorite event as we geared up for the coming school year. In our family, Christmas and all the birthdays fall within a month or so of each other. So Box Day in August was like having a summer birthday! But once all the books had been handled and pored over and drooled upon, they still required some organization. My school year always went so much more smoothly when I knew where our school books "lived".
Sonlight has a wonderful webinar and a workshop video on organizing your home and homeschool. I always find it helpful to hear tips and ideas for organization that have worked for others. So grab your laptop and head for the back porch or pool-side to watch and listen to these great resources. Then plan a trip to the local office supply store to purchase some inexpensive organizational tools (i.e. crates, folders, etc...) and be sure to buy some new pencils for your kids. Who cares if most kids don't use pencils any longer ... school isn't officially started until you smell the new pencils!
Still on the journey ....