Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Not Back to School ~ tips for a smooth transition



Are you a whirl of energy in September or do you  feel overwhelmed at the thought of starting a new school year? Me? I love this time of year! I can feel the rush of Autumn creeping in. My energy and enthusiasm for a new season is high. September is my favorite month of the year. It's a time to settle in and start fluffing and I leave no room unturned. I like living in a space that has a casual order. I don't strive for perfection but I do require my " headquarters " to be clear of  UN necessary items. What do I mean by unnecessary? Paper scraps, loose change, misc. screws, dead batteries, UN -repairable broken items destined for the trash barrel, over do library books, and magazines and clothing that can be donated. This isn't always easy to accomplish especially when you share a small home with three other creative beings, a dog and two guinea pigs. Keeping realistic expectations helps.


 Nothing says back to school more than a wave goodbye to neighborhood friends as they board the school bus while we slowly return to our tried and true homeschool routine. I'll admit, we've had some bumpy starts in past years. As a homeschool teacher and mom, I'm always excited to begin a new year. I love the feeling of a fresh start, new books, untapped areas of learning, and the sense of adventure as we enter into a new season of learning. That being said, I've learned that my children do not share the same level of enthusiasm...Even with all the freedom they do have throughout the school year to persue their own interests and passions, the thought of buckling down with assigned work is just that, WORK! So... this year will be different... I'm keeping all that excitement under my homeschool hat, and planning a more gentle entry into the new year.

Take a peak at my Not Back to School tips for a smooth transition this year!

1.)  In mid to late August start DE-cluttering your "school room". For us that space is our den. We have book cases and desks that need clearing out to make room for new learning materials.... I toss out what isn't needed, store the remaining school work, art projects  in storage boxes and donate the rest. If you're looking to make a few bucks back on your homeschooling books try EBay. If you don't want to be bothered with the selling process on EBay why not donate your books to a homeschool friend, lending library or your church?

2.) Plan a few near-by  field trips for the months of September and October. While the weather is still pleasant for being out doors you can visit places that won't be as busy now that tourist season is over. It doesn't really matter if they coordinate with any lesson plan. These trips are just for fun and will be a welcome relief  from text book learning to your kids who are adjusting to less outdoor freedom as the seasons change. We plan to visit three places that are with in an hour of where we live. The Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory,  The Wampanoag Tribal Museum, and the Cape Cod Art Museum.

What could be better than to start the year off with a little road trip for some good old fashioned inspiration in American Entrepreneurship, History and Art? 

3.)  If you're like most of us, you probably have several house hold projects that didn't quite make it to the finish line this summer due to having fun!  Grab your project list and get your older children involved in helping out! Here are a few examples...

Crown Molding~ Have your child measure the linear footage needed for one room.  Purchase materials needed. Make sure you have the necessary tools to finish the job and schedule an installation day to complete the project.

Outdoor Painting~  If you have any outdoor painting that needs doing an older child can easily do some scraping and painting. Make it a family affair! I find if I have a big pot of chili cooking while we are all working together we have something good to look forward to when the work day is done!

Yard Clean-up~ Gather up the BBQ and summer furniture, clean and store it away for the fall/winter season...Clean and store garden tools etc...Reward yourself later in the season. Rake a nice big leaf pile and jump in!

4.)  If you homeschool you've more than likely been asked if your kids do lessons in their p.j.'s. We do and we've had many  p.j. homeschooling days while drinking hot cocoa and searching the Internet for an assignment or a word that needs defining. Why not be comfortable? It adds to a relaxed HOME ~ learning environment and we all know people learn better when they are relaxed!

Here's wishing you a smooth start to your Homeschooling year!


 I'd love to hear how you ease into your new school year! Leave me a note or email me with YOUR tried and true tips! I'm off to get the tea kettle going!

HAPPY HOMESCHOOLING,
Deborah Jean


next month: THE JOYS OF HOMESCHOOLING WITH  OAK MEADOW .
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