How I Prep for a Homeschool Year
This post breaks down how I prep for a homeschool year. I’ll walk you through what I do to prep the months and weeks leading up to a new year of homeschooling. I hope it’s an encouragement to you!
As we kick off a new homeschool year, I hope you enjoy this FREE Back to School Mini Unit!
2-3 months before
As we close out the end of a homeschool year, I’ll take stock of the curriculum that we used. Did it work well for us? Did we love it? What might I need to change? I’ll write down my thoughts for each child and then refer back to that information when ordering next year’s curriculum while the past year’s choices are still fresh on my mind.
I prefer to order my homeschool curriculum in early spring. Right as we close out a previous school year. The curriculum will typically arrive mid-summer and I’ll tuck it away for later. This coming school year I’ll have a Pre-K, Kinder, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 8th grader. I’ll be sharing blog posts in the next week with what curriculum I’ve chosen for this upcoming school year.
When it comes to choosing our curriculum, I have a whole blog post written up that outlines choosing homeschool curriculum. I have also included a FREE Curriculum Planning page that I use for each child. It helps tremendously when ordering curriculum, watching my budget and also keeping track of what books have came in.
One Month Before
One month before we begin a new homeschool year is when I really kick into gear. I am a big fan of starting our homeschool year off on a strong foot. For me that means prepping our school space/supplies, having my home in order/organized and making sure our fridge/pantry are stocked with easy meals.
Below I’ll share a rough outline of what I focus on in each one of these areas.
Prepping School Area
Each year our homeschooling area looks completely different. As our family grows, the way we utilize our bedrooms changes. We’re big fans of playing musical rooms in our home. Last year we schooled around our kitchen table. This year I have moved all 5 boys into our master bedroom and will be using the spare bedroom (we have a 4 bedroom home) as our school room. I have a whole blog post written up on setting up your school area. You do NOT have to have a designated room to homeschool! We have homeschooled around our kitchen table for years and it’s worked well! This year I am excited to have a designated room to spread out a bit more. Again, not a necessity!
When organizing my school area, I will do the following:
- Make sure I have designated areas for every last one of our school supplies. Everything must have an organized space or else our school year begins off kilter. There’s nothing worse than needing a stapler and not being able to find it. Everything must have a place to keep our little school running well.
- Make sure everything has been wiped down thoroughly and scrubbed. A deep cleaned school area always feels nice! Whether it’s around your kitchen table or in a special room, taking the time to scrub it down is a great way to kick off the year.
- Make sure I have cozy spots for the kids to curl up to read. I LOVE creating cozy reading areas for my kids. In years past I have made reading spots around our living room (since we didn’t have a designated school room). I hung metal book shelves on our living room wall and made sure to have pillows and blankets available.
Below are a few of my FAVORITE items that I have around our home and school room. The wooden and metal shelves are fun to hang around the house. Think outside the box on where you could create little reading nooks for your kids. Chances are, if you display new books throughout your home… your kids will pick them up to read!
The floor pillows are a new find that I am in love with! They’re fantastic quality and huge for the price! I highly recommend grabbing a few to create cozy reading pillows.
Prepping my Homeschool Supplies
Is there anything more glorious than organizing new school supplies?! A few weeks before school I will head to Target to take advantage of their back to school sales on the typical items like crayons, pencils, glue and such.
Each one of my children has a large plastic bin that they keep their books and school supplies in. Before we begin a new school year I’ll give them each their own box of crayons, pencils, scissors, markers, rulers and so on. They’re in charge of being responsible for their own things and it makes for a fun start to a new school year. I’ll of course purchase extras to keep on hand, but I have found this system to work the best for our family.
I love keeping two rolling carts out with our extra school supplies. One cart for my younger grades and one cart for my older grades. I’ll store extra pencils, crayons, scissors, flash cards, etc. on my younger grade cart. And on my older grade cart I’ll store the same items plus rulers, calculators, flash cards and other items they might need. I love being able to roll the cart to where we’re working and to have everything right at hand.
Below are a few of my favorite homeschool supply items that we have used year after year!
Favorite Organization Items
Favorite Printing and Paper Items
Preparing Easy Meals
Having easy meals on hand for the first few weeks of school is another way that I prepare. I love having easy breakfasts on hand as well as simple lunches and dinners. Below are a few of our favorites.
6 Week Bran Muffins: Make the batter and store in your fridge for up to 6 weeks. Scoop out just what you need for a hot breakfast!
made with simple ingredients you have on hand. Perfect for mid morning or afternoon snacks too!
Simple Blueberry Muffins:
Make a double batch and freeze a dozen for another week!
Prepping our Home
Once our school year begins, I know the chances of deep cleaning or organizing spaces will be few and far between. It’s important to me that we begin our school year with a home that is organized and deep cleaned. Which means, that the weeks leading up to the start of school it looks like a bomb goes off as we put everything into place (and DECLUTTER from summer). Here is what we focus on:
- Clean out and organize the pantry
- Clean out and organize the fridge
- Stock up on groceries (I have a whole post on this coming up)
- Deep clean bathrooms
- Wipe down baseboards, windows and walls
- Make sure any extra clutter has been donated or thrown away.
- Kids bedrooms: making sure everything has been put into place and drawers are organized
One Week Before
A week before we begin school I’ll typically do a run through of the following things:
- Print off chore charts for each child and write out their designated chores. For the most part their chores stay the same, but it’s nice to have a visual check list to make sure we are staying on task. I will laminate the chore charts and they are stuck to the side of our fridge with magnets. Before we begin our Bible time in the morning, I can do a quick scan to see who has completed their chores and who might need a bit of encouragement to speed things up a bit.
- Print off weekly lesson plans for each child and fill them out. I’ll walk through the lesson plans the week before with my older children. This year we have quite a bit of new curriculum, so I’ll spend time with each of my older children walking them through how we will use it.
- Finish prepping our food for the following week. I try to have simple but delicious meals that first week.
- Print off the Bible verse we will be memorizing for the first few weeks of school and insert it into each child’s 3 ring binder. All of my kids (even the Pre-K) have their own 3 ring binder. I’ll include the older kid’s lesson plans, coloring pages for the younger ones, the Bible verses we are memorizing and the hymns are we are singing.
Our hymn of the month is through Happy Hymnody. We love their ministry!
I hope this post was an encouragement to you as you prepare for a new homeschool year! I have a few more homeschool posts lined up for the next week including:
- How to Homeschool Multiple Grades
- 3rd and 4th Grade Curriculum Picks
- 6th and 8th Grade Curriculum Picks
COMING SOON: The New Homeschoolers Toolkit
If you are considering homeschooling but aren’t sure where to start, stay tuned next week for a special e-book created just for you! Sign up HERE to be the first to know when it releases!
I can’t thank you enough for all of your homeschooling advice! This is our first year and we’re so excited!
You are so welcome!!!!
Such a helpful post, thank you Ashley!