I created this list for some My School Year Launch Party events. It proved to be quite popular and so it is being published for general public consumption.
1. Remember God is with you. Yes, you need to pray. Yes, you need grace. When things get tough ask the Lord for help before you speak or act. Things won’t automatically get better, in fact they may get worse! Thank the Lord for the hard times, for challenging you in virtue, and making you stronger – even if it is through humility!
2. Attitude. Come to school with a smile even if you are sleepy. You set the climate with your disposition even when you have a toddler trying to take over the peace! You can be a loving example of calm and joy by maintaining your composure. You can also be fun and excited about the resources.
3. Discipline. Without it you will quickly want to give up and with it you can continue through anything! Set the rules and actually follow through with them, consequences and all! Discipline takes work, effort, and time. The reward of discipline, once it is established, will make life easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
4. Be Realistic. The school day you imagine in your head may be far from reality. Don’t bite off more than you can chew in regards to subjects and outside activities. You can always discern to add to your day when you feel in control of the present one. Less can be more when you are supplying a quality education and lifestyle for your family.
5. Be Flexible. Life will happen with unplanned events, sickness, and interruptions to the school day. Make sure your days, weeks, and school year have margin. Margin is space for the unexpected because you know it is inevitable. Even government run schools have contingency “make-up” days. Schedule days off that can be moved around when needed or alter the order of your classes for the best flow for that day.
6. Stay Consistent. Routine is not a bad thing and not the enemy of flexibility. Starting school at a regular time, keeping up with grading work or having a set of consequences for infractions will allow everyone a freedom to know the expectations for the day.
7. Plan. You can’t hit a target if you don’t know where it is! It is important to choose classes/subjects and a strategy for learning. Devote time specifically for thinking. What do you want to accomplish this year? How will you achieve your goals? What is your plan for handling those areas that are difficult for you? Set-up Teacher Work Days before and during the school year so you can develop plans that answer those questions. On these work days/hours you can create lesson plans, peruse materials, and organize your supplies/books along with other tasks.
8. Keep Track. No need to reinvent the wheel every time you need a report, lesson plan, or list. Stay organized with your child’s achievements, involvements, and standardized testing. No one wants pressure to be scrambling to collect all the needed data for a contest, application, scholarship, or other opportunity that has a deadline. Increase your child’s prospects by keeping your information in order. Be ready for state requirements.
9. Structure. Have a systematic arrangement for your homeschool. This means your kids will know what their assignments are and where to find needed materials without your help. Your kids will be able to continue homeschooling because they know what to do while you are gone having a baby or not feeling well. You don’t have to keep homeschooling during these events because you have margin, but you have the option to continue if you so desire.
10. Modify. You know your kids best. Use curriculum as a personal tool that can be enhanced or omitted to your liking. Learning occurs when children are engaged. How is it that some people love a certain material while others dread it? Presenting and modifying a material with your particular children in mind can result in a great learning experience. Using the same material according to the publisher’s suggestion can sometimes result in a boring, grueling, task to be completed. You are not required to do every experiment, project, or suggestion that a material has to offer. You get to design the plan and make changes when necessary.
Do you think I missed anything? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.