Monday, August 10, 2015

Starting your school year when you aren't prepared!

I prefer to be well-prepared for a new school year. I like the school area to be clean and all the milk crates freshly organized with each student's textbooks and notebooks. I like to have a sense of how often I'm going to tackle different subjects each week and be caught up on household chores, too.

Sometimes that just doesn't happen. Whether it was the birth of a new baby, the hospitalization of my father-in-law, or just a busy life that ran away with my time and energy - we've sometimes had to start our school year less-than-well-prepared.

That's where I am again this year. I have all my curriculum. I bought a new planner for myself and each high school student. But I haven't had a chance to sit and  plan things out yet.

I realized 2 weeks ago that I wasn't really going to be ready to start this next week. But when I looked at the calendar I saw conflicts for the rest of the month of August. Mr. School Principal didn't want to delay 3 more weeks, and said to just get started and do our best. We'll pick up steam and get more organized as we go along. It's not ideal ... but we've done it before.

The good news is: my kids still learn and grow, even when I don't feel as prepared as I'd like to be. The laundry may be backed up ... majorly ... but as long as the dining room table is cleared off and the school books are divided up by students, we can manage. So what do you really need to start off a disorganized school year?

5 tips for starting homeschool, even when you're not prepared:

  1. Make sure you have a clean area to do your school work. Is the dining room table clean? Is the couch clear of folded laundry? That's probably enough to get rolling.
  2. Gather each student's texts and workbooks into a single location. In our family we use milk crates for each child. We have previously used smaller tote boxes or dish pans. We already have those purchased, but if you don't, make stacks on the table for each of them for now.
  3. Buy the basic school supplies and have them accessible on the table. Even if this is a "night before school starts Walmart run".
  4. Focus on the basic subjects first. If you only do reading, writing, and arithmetic the first week, you're still doing fine. Pick a good read-aloud to add to the week and you've got a good first week of school.
  5. Do your schoolwork along with the kids. While they work on their handwriting and math, you can be working on your planning for the school year, too. By the end of the week, you should be better organized for the second week of school and ready to add in other subjects.
Sometimes if we sit around waiting for everything to be "just right" we never get started. In our family, we've learned that we do best if we start the school year early. It allows us to either wrap up our school year around the same time as our local friends, or to carry on later into the summer if we have had a rough year full of interruptions. So we'll go ahead and start school today, even though we're not quite ready.

One thing I've learned over the past 16 years of homeschooling is that it will all work out in the end. God always seems to bless my efforts and the children continue to learn, despite my faults. So if you're feeling pressured to get everything ready so you can start school, just take a deep breath, get the basics in place, pray, and jump in. You can still perfect your system and finish your planning after you've started.

Oh, and step away from pinterest, with all its back to school meals, photo ops, and crafts. You can have a good week, and a good school year, without it being pintacular! Just do the next thing, relax, and love on your kids.

 2015 Back To Homeschool Blog Hop

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop is brought to you courtesy of the Schoolhouse Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection. You can view all the hosts for this week's Back to Homeschool Blog Hop at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog, or here on my blog. If you'd like a shortcut, you can visit these ten ladies today and stop by tomorrow to visit some more great blogs for some back to homeschool encouragement:

Marcy @ Ben and Me

May your new school year be greatly blessed!
April E.


  1. What a great post of encouragement to just step out in faith. These tips are useful whether you are finding yourself less-than-prepared at the start of the school year or somewhere along the line in the midst of the year. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. This is a great list. And sigh... my catch is not just Pinterest, but Feedly as well.


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