For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to School Tips - Homeschool Edition Blog Hop

It's back to school time in many places at this time of year. Summer is certainly rounding down here in Canada where we live, and many are gearing up for the start of the school year in a couple of weeks. As homeschoolers I dare think that back to school has different meaning according to who you speak to. However, I think that there are some concepts that apply across the board when it comes to homeschooling, and today I would like to look at some tips that can be helpful to us as we prepare to embark in a new year of homeschooling.

I have five tips to share with you:

1. Have a Plan. I know this is classic. That said, as classic and basic this is, it is another thing to actually have one. It takes time and thought to come up with a plan on how you are going implement all of these curriculum you purchased or all these dreams you dreamt of for your homeschooling year. Planners abound (I am a very good hoarder of online planners - even though I prefer a printed one), but it takes me a while to actually write down a definitive plan for the year. This year, because we are going back to a more year round homeschooling style, I have divided the year into 6-8 weeks semesters and have planned out our first semester. Planning year, in full or pieces by pieces, is crucial if you want your year to start on the right foot and to avoid being all over the place at the beginning of the school year and this in turn leading to your kids being unsettled. Having a general plan will help give your kids a sense of stability and security.

2. Know what you want to accomplish in the coming year. Closely connected to #1 is the idea of being quite clear about what you want to accomplish this year. Some call it having a vision. You can think of it as goals as well. For me this takes the form of general milestones and goals to reach, such as :
  • Finish our curriculum
  • Help my oldest transition into Middle Grades
  • Have my oldest do more writing
  • Include more science in our school
  • Being more intentional in teaching my kids French

3. Don't expect things to run as expected or smoothly the first day, or even the first week. Give time for the routine to set in. This is a reality check. The first day or week may go as planned or may not. Unfortunately in a lot of cases it does not and if you expect it to, you may get quite discouraged after this first day, or disillusioned after the first week. Don't. It always takes time to get something going. Perseverance is one of these top qualities needed in homeschooling. We keep at it and do not despair. If after a while things do not improve, a change might be in order, but no matter what, we keep at it. The lord is always at work and something is being done.

4. Involve the kids in the decision and planning process. I have found this always enlightening to ask my kids their sentiment about our homeschooling. I get really interesting insights about how they feel about their homeschooling. I ask them questions such as, What do you like? What don't you like? What would want me to change? What can you improve on? It helps them own the process and be better participants. For the teacher it enlightens you as to how they perceive your teaching and what you are doing.

5. Pray. I kept this for last but this is THE important  tip. Prayer is the fuel for everything we do as Christian, not so much for the blessings, as for the guidance and the help of the Holy Spirit to do what God wants us to do. Whatever we do should never be about us but what God is accomplishing through us and in us. We are but instruments in his hands and we are being molded as well in the process.  So that is why we need to pray so that our mind would be in tune with what He is intending to do. What do we pray over?
  • over our plans: that the Lord's will be done.
  • over our kids: that they come to know him and that they be diligent in the task be before them.
  • over our heart, motives and attitudes: that we fulfill our calling with joy, thanksgiving and with a heart that desires to serve Him and our family.
Hope these tips are helpful to you as you prepare or are starting this new school year.

What are your Back to School homeschooling tips?
Back to Homeschool Blog HopVisit some of the bloggers of the crew and read about what they have to say on the topic of Back To School:

Nikki @ Angels of Heart
Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Melanie @ finchnwren
Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Linda @ Linda's Lunacy
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio


Melanie said...

Joelle, thanks for sharing your process! I loved what you included in #2. I plan to use those thoughts myself!

Also...thanks for sharing your prayer points. I loved the specific prayer points!

Leah Courtney said...

I love planning! And I agree with you- prayer is so important in the process. I really want to stay in God's will for our homeschool!

Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom said...

I love your tips and you're right prayer is essential throughout the process (including the planning).

I love the planning part (perhaps more than the implementing part... lol).

Thanks for sharing.

Annette said...

good tips you offer. Mine... is remember the details but don't get lost in them. :)

Annette @ A net in Time (

Anne Gregor said...

One exciting part of homeschooling is that you get to see the best parts of your kids as they grow and learn.


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