Seven Tips for the New Homeschool Year

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Box Day came and went. You snapped that first-day-of-school photo (or not), and now you may be weeks into your new homeschool year. How is it going so far?

A Sonlight family learning together
Elijah E happily gears up for his first day of Sonlight's Intro to the World: Cultures (Core A).

I know the excitement and trepidation a new year can bring. So as a mom who has been there, done that, here are some tips to help you settle into a great year.

  1. Give yourself time to settle into a pattern. Just like when a new baby comes home, I found it takes about six weeks to establish new patterns at the start of school. If your schedule now is a big change from your summer schedule, give your family some grace. You'll find your groove soon.
  2. If your kids were in school before this year, give them extra time. For every year your children were in school, allow (at least) a week of homeschooling for them to get used to it. And as you make this transition, don't be afraid to ...
  3. Ask for help in your homeschool. You don't need to be a superhero. If you struggle with any part of your homeschool and want some fresh ideas, contact a Sonlight Homeschool Advisor at no charge, or post on the free Sonlight forums.
  4. Ask for help around the house. If you're feeling swamped, brainstorm ways to lighten your load in your non-homeschool duties. Perhaps you could teach your kids to do more chores. Maybe your spouse could cook dinner one night a week. Could your older students work more independently in some subjects? You might even hire a high school student to be a "mother's helper" and watch the kids at your house once a week while you organize, work or relax. Asking for help doesn't mean you're weak, just wise.
  5. Read and learn together with your children. Don't know everything your kids are supposed to learn this year? That's OK! You'll learn alongside them and gain incredible knowledge as you go. It's wonderful to say, "I don't know, but let's look it up together." You get to model the joy of lifelong learning.
  6. Set goals. If you haven't already done so, write down some goals for the school year. When daily progress seems slow, long-term goals are key. If you write down physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual goals for each of your children now, you'll have something to evaluate at the end of the year. You'll be amazed at how they grew. (Read more on setting homeschool goals.)
  7. Keep the long view. I love being a mom, but I don't love everything I've had to deal with as a mom. I loved homeschooling, but I didn't love everything about homeschooling. In reality, there's not a job in the world where you'd love every single aspect. So keep the long view and remind yourself that there is no job more significant or important than raising and teaching the children God has given you.

Be encouraged as you adventure into the new year. I believe that God has equipped you to teach your children. We are here to help. You can do it!

Blessings to you and yours,

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  1. Thank you, Sarita, for these wise words! I especially appreciated your sentence, "Asking for help doesn't mean you're weak, just wise." This year for the first time, I have a neighbor girl coming once a week to clean our bathrooms and mop our kitchen floor, and I cannot tell you how encouraged I am to simply know that those areas of the house are being taken care of! :) At the same time, I still feel a little guilty and hear a voice in the back of my head saying, "If you were really a good homeschool mother, you'd either find a way to fit that cleaning into your schedule, or you'd train your kids to do it!" Thanks for reminding me that I'm being wise, not weak, by having her come. :)

    I also am especially grateful for #7 on your list - such truth! Thanks for your honesty. :)