Families all over the world are gearing up for home education this year. Whether you are new to homeschooling or are a veteran, learning how to get into a back to school routine can be challenging.
Kids are either super stoked to get back to school or maybe dreading it. Each child may have a different view.
My daughter is ready to get moving; to get good grades and be one year closer to graduation. On the other hand, my son is normally holding on to every summer day as if it were his last, ever. Going back to school is not his favorite time of year, to say the least.
This year is slightly different.
With all the craziness going on in our world, both kids are eager to get in the swing of things. I think mostly to keep their minds occupied and to get involved with something.
Consequently, it’s our job to make this transition to school as seamless and engaging as possible. Raise your hand if you feel you have your back to school routine covered or down to a science?
Neither do I.
Every homeschool year is something new and different in its own unique way. We adjust, we improve, and we appreciate the opportunity to do so.
Plan, plan, plan.
One thing most homeschooling parents can agree on is that planning ahead is key to the foundation of a back to school routine.
For me, this looks like a morning time routine (varying for each child), set bedtimes, schedules set up, chore charts ready, and healthier eating.
This will look different for each of us, not one planned routine being better than the other. Every family is different, so don’t feel badly if you have to change things up or move things around.
Taking that pressure off yourself will prove to be one of the healthiest things you can do in your homeschool. Be flexible.
Keeping that in mind, there are few things that probably all homeschooling families can benefit from in getting back into a school routine.
Helpful tips for back to school preparation:
I want to emphasize that planning ahead and being prepared will hurt nothing, but help everything. Plan, write down your schedule, and get your first couple of weekly lesson plans completed.
If you are not a “planner” you can still get prepared by building your homeschool binders, planning out what you will store in your homeschool portfolios, organizing your curriculum, making your book lists, etc.
If you plan as you go like many homeschool families, you can use a simple daily homeschool journal page to record what work you completed (this works great to inset in your homeschool portfolio).
Determine your designated homeschool area and make it happen.
Get your homeschool area clutter-free and somewhat organized. Having a specific area designated for school, although kids may migrate throughout the house at certain times, is critical to establish a back to school routine.
A designated homeschool “area” may mean your dining room, and that’s totally okay. Many moms I know had a school “room” and still managed to end up in the dining room!
I remember teaching early learners years ago. My students automatically knew when it was time for the morning routine. They instinctively migrated to my oblong alphabet carpet and sat in their designated letter. Stability and normalcy started their day off right, and I carried that over to my homeschool journey in teaching my children.
Go school shopping (whether it be online, if only a few items, or at the dollar store.)
When my friend started homeschooling her five children (four boys and one girl), her daughter was apprehensive about transitioning from public school to homeschool. She soon realized why her daughter wasn’t so keen on it. She was upset that all her cousins and friends were buying back to school supplies, and she didn’t get to experience that anymore.
Every year my friend now takes her daughter to buy a few new items, which makes the back to school transition so much better for her daughter. I do the same with my kids, and they look forward to it every year in preparation for back to school time.
Routine your routine.
As an early learning teacher, I spent the whole first week of every year establishing our daily routines. I know I say this repeatedly, but carrying this over to my homeschool has proved beneficial time after time.
Just like my early learners enjoyed their routine, so do other children. Now that my kids are older they use a checklist until they are used to the routine. You can use a picture checklist for your younger learners.
You may need to go through the checklist with your little ones for a bit at first. However, trust me, that it is worth every effort to get them in a morning and daily routine. It creates independence, and they feel safe in their homeschool environment when they know what to expect day in and day out.
My routine will look different from yours; especially since I live in a second world country. Here is my kids’ routine in the morning. NOTE: Their routines were the same or very similar when they were young, but as they got older, it worked better for them to have their own.
Son (10-years-old) -early riser like my husband-
- Make bed
- Feed the pigs and dogs
- Water garden
- Brush teeth
- Get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Read daily devotion in a homeschool room (it’s also my office and a guest room) until we begin school.
Daughter (14-years-old) -not so early riser like myself-
- Make bed
- Read daily devotion
- Brush teeth
- Get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Read a book until we begin school.
What I mean by “routine your routine” is to make sure you set up a norm throughout your homeschool day to make it a safe, comfortable, expected part of your lifestyle. Setting up that normalcy begins with getting your kids in a back-to-school mode.
Here are a few resources to help you ease back into a school routine:
FREE Back to School #hashtag Writing Activity | Kelly Anne – Apple Slices LLC
12 FREE Back to School Activities – Survey, Games, Drawings, Time Capsule, More | Stephanie Nash – A Touch of Class Teaching
Make a “First Day of School” Photo Book FREE Download Activity | Education.com
Back to School Routine FREE Printable Checklist | The Happy Scraps
FREE Printable Checklist & Back to School Hacks | Moritz Fine Designs
Heading Back to School FREE Activity | Top Teaching Tasks
FREE School Days Checklist | The Idea Room
Kids Routine Checklists to Make School Days Easy FREE Printable | Sunny Day Family
I even set a routine for myself. I do well with order whenever I can. Why? Because life is crazy sometimes. Sometimes we can’t keep our routine. However, getting used to a routine also means that when life throws us off course, we can seamlessly jump back into normalcy reasonably easy.
Developing back to school routines is beneficial for my family, and I think they can be for yours as well. Learning how to get into a back to school routine can be the difference between a rocky start and one that is smooth and less stressful for you all.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!