3 Tips For Getting The School Year Off To a Good Start
Do you ring in the new school year like the actual New Year with parties and fireworks? Perhaps the only fireworks are some sparks amongst family members as you revive old schedules. Good news! If you've made some School Year Resolutions, there are three tips for helping you achieve them. Although they seem simple, they will require diligence on your part. But the results are worth it!
1. Practice Your Schedule
The only way to know if your schedule will work is to try it. Plan to spend the first 4-6 weeks adjusting your schedule.
Try a weekly schedule for at least two weeks before you decide to throw it out. If you've been diligently implementing your schedule for two weeks and it's not working. Adjust and try again.
2. Manage Expectations
Setting expectations mid-year is hard (if not almost impossible). How would you like this year to be different from last year? Choose one or two things as keystones habits. These are things that make everything else run smoother.
If the expectation is that everyone is at breakfast at a specific time - plan the meal ahead of time. Go to bed at a time that allows you to get enough sleep before the scheduled breakfast time. Success starts the night before.
Perhaps the expectation is that everyone will complete their schoolwork by 3pm. What habits need to be in place for that to happen? Work the schedule backward so you can see if that expectation is reasonable. If not, rework the schedule until you have a plan that allows your student to meet the expectation.
Perhaps the expectation is that a student completes one science unit each month. Divide the suggested work by the number of school days. Is it possible to complete in a month? If yes, the next step is to see how much your child completes in a week. If they are not able to manage the schedule, modify it to the reality of your child's working ability, or increase the amount of time spent on the assignments each day.
Avoid frustration - set reasonable expectations, and then add 10-25% extra time to complete the tasks. (I'm still working on this one!)
3. Schedule Check-In Times
As your children become more independent, it gets easier to lose track of what they are doing with their time each day. By having two or three check-in times during the day, you'll be able to stay on top of what's happening in your homeschooling household.
These check-in times create accountability. If your child knows that at snack times and lunchtime they'll need to account for what they've been doing, they'll be more likely to stay on task. Also, if at the check-in time they are falling behind, you can find out why and help them get on track and adjust the schedule as needed.
Creating a realistic schedule, setting expectations that are reasonable for your child, and having regular check-in times will get your homeschool year off to a strong start. Best of all, within a few months, you'll notice a rhythm to the activity in your household, and you'll be able to take some time for yourself while managing the learning environment in your home.
“Habits stay with you even when you don’t have the motivation.”
― Neeraj Agnihotri, Procrasdemon - The Artist's Guide to Liberation From Procrastination