5 Tips for a Smooth Start to Your Homeschool Year

Tomorrow is our first REAL day back to school. I say “real” because we’ve been working on math for a couple of weeks. “Working on” means “we got to math a few days for the last couple of weeks but it’s time to get real”. So tomorrow we get real.


Now, this will be our 10th year of homeschooling. We’ve done this before. I know what to expect.


Tomorrow will take FOR.EV.ER. (Or, worse, it’ll go GREAT and then I’ll think Tuesday will be smooth… which it won’t be. It’s be ugly. Very. LOL!) It takes us a week or so to get our mojo. When the kids were little – it took at least two weeks of VERY consistent schooling.


Even now, heading into high school, I am bracing for a storm.




I know it.


I’m mentally prepared.


Chores will take forever.


Piano will drag.


Papers will be lost.


We won’t be able to find books.


It’s just what it is. If you’re a first time homescchooler, or you’re adding new students, or you’re like me in year 10, be ready. I PLAN on the first week being a nightmare. But, I’m stubborn so I plan on long days and forcing ourselves into a routine. Others taper. I’m not a taper-er.  I’m a stick-with-it-and-move-on kind of mom.


There are some things I purposely do to make the first week go smooth(er), and they do help. At least a little.


1. PRAY. Seriously. Don’t even start without covering your week, year, goals, kids, hearts, attitudes, minds, etc. in prayer. Otherwise, this is a big fat waste. Pray for and with your kids!


2. PREFLIGHT YOUR TEACHER GEAR. Make sure you have all the stuff you need – and it’s in place. I just spent 90 minutes getting BJU Biology stuff into notebooks and organized. I’ve learned that it ALWAYS takes about twice as long as I expect to organize my TM stuff. I’ve done this long enough to have the clue on how the BJU curriculum works, but if I didn’t I’d make sure I read through the TM, check the first couple of weeks work lists and supply needs, and watch any relevant teacher videos. This is for EVERY subject. I worked on my SL student and Teacher notebooks last week. It took me TWO DAYS. Seriously. Don’t set yourself up for a nightmare thinking you can wing it while your student is doing their work. It will be awful. You’ll be flustered, your student will wander, it won’t go well. Delay a couple of days if you’re not prepared. Get your TM stuff straight.


3. SCHEDULE. Get your schedules ready. I am a printed schedule person, so I spent a long time getting our frameworks ready. I plan out the first couple of weeks, but only commit to the first week in print. I have a plan, but if we get backlogged (which I expect) week 1, I don’t want to freak out. Get your stuff printed. Gather the math and the science and the bible plan… consolidate. Get it all in one spot. Also, on a related note, make sure your family schedule is CLEAR for the week. No dentist. No lunch with a friend. Clear it out. Get your mojo going.


4. SUPPLIES. Pencils, paper, erasers, compass, protractor, calculators, notebooks, etc. Get them ready. Chuck the old. Add the new. Have more than you need. Watch the sales. Mechanical pencils can walk. Who knew? Get all the books on the shelf. Find all the math books. The book you put on the shelf in May – that no one has touched – has moved. Find it before you start. 🙂


5. MEAL PLAN. Keep it simple. This is a good week for the crock pot at dinner, and for protein heavy breakfasts. Have a lunch plan. Have high protein snacks at the ready. Nobody wants to lose what little momentum you have making a grocery store run for bread Wednesday at lunch. While I normally try to have a B/L/D plan, the first couple weeks of school it’s MANDATORY for me. Shop. Get it all ready. This year I went crazy and made myself 5 mason jar salads so I am READY.




Then, get up on time, and execute. It’ll be rough, but hopefully if you (and I!) are prepared we’ll smooth through it faster.


As an aside, we don’t to anything “fun” for the first day. We’re so flexible and fluid in when we start and stop that it’s not us. BUT, we do have a NOT BACK TO SCHOOL DAY and take the day off when the local public school starts! LOL! So, get ready. You can do it. Homeschooling is such a privilege, and spending some time preparing and organizing will help to make sure it’s more blessing and less burden!


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