If you receive my weekly email, you know how much I enjoy the start of a new homeschool year. (And if you are not subscribed, you should click here!) Much like your freshly sharpened pencils, your pristine desks, and your empty notebooks, starting a new homeschool year is a wonderful time bursting with new opportunities.
Last year’s mistakes are but a mere memory. Last year’s struggles are in the past.
A new homeschool year is a new chance for both you and your child to move forward – to start off on the right foot.
Lessons Learned From Last Year
At the end of every school year, I like to look back.
It’s a chance to see what went well, what could have gone better, and what (if anything) might need to change.
I question if there was a curriculum that worked particularly well… Or a curriculum that used to work well, but didn’t seem quite up to snuff this year?
I consider if there are new interests my children are discovering, new talents they are wanting to explore.
Or, perhaps, an old interest has fizzled out and it’s time to find a new direction.
Either way, by looking back, by honestly evaluating the materials and lesson plans, I can see what did or did not pan out well.
By checking in with the kids I can get their honest feedback about how the year went.
And by recording our year, good, bad, and otherwise in my trusty homeschool planner, I can honestly and with open eyes, begin the process of planning for our new homeschool year.
Oh, and opting to take a few weeks off in the summer helps us all to decompress from 10-months of learning. 😉
Using The Summer Months wisely
It’s during these summer months that I do the majority of my homeschool reflection.
During the school year, there isn’t the time to truly see the whole picture. We are too wrapped up in our day-to-day lessons and plans to really measure the overall success.
But through the summer, I have a unique opportunity to look over the work, from start to finish. To check out the grades, the learning, and the success.
Because to me, success is not just a number or a letter grade, although I do assign grades.
True homeschool success is defined by learning and growth in a particular area. Did my children increase their knowledge of a particular subject? Were they able to not only learn a new idea but learn why the idea is important and valuable? Can they still tell me the importance of something, or did they only learn for the test?Homeschool success is defined by learning and growth in a particular area. Click To Tweet
Completing Reviews and Making Changes
Some years, after looking back, I see that things are moving along well. The kids are progressing and the materials are working well. Other years, I find that some changes need to be made.
Change, while not always easy, is not always a bad thing though.
Then there was the year I had to search for a new Language Arts program for all three kids! Thankfully, we found one that had the same basic idea as our old one, but that offered more excitement and more freedom to explore.
It’s not that the products and resources we were using were bad or inferior.
Quite the opposite actually.
It was simply that the kids’ needs change from year to year and if I want to continue to teach them in the way they learn best, I need to change as well.
I need to be prepared to make the changes that will help our homeschool to flourish rather than flounder.
Yet, that is one of the biggest homeschool perks around – the ability to change when our children need it.
This education is theirs, and I want them to get the most out of it they possibly can. For me, the best way to do that is to reevaluate what we are doing, why we are doing it, and if it is working. If it is, then great. But if it is not, then we find something that hopefully will.
Start A New Homeschool Year on the right foot
Most years, alongside our new notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils, we have new programs.
With all new things, there is a learning curve for all of us.
I have to learn how to use the curriculum and how to make it work for us.
The kids have to learn to. They have to adapt to a new program and a new homeschool year.
Whenever we start something new, I like to go slowly.
The first few days of a new year are more about getting back into the routine than they are about learning new concepts or skills. It’s checking out the materials, talking about goals and expectations, and starting slow as we ease back into another year of learning.
Some years, we even start our school year during a solar eclipse! That year we checked out everything that was new, then jumped right into a lesson on eclipses.
Then we got crafty and made viewing boxes before heading outside to witness the event. It was a great way to start out the new year!
Setting The Tone For The YearEach year is an opportunity for us to grow & be better at homeschooling. Click To Tweet
In the end, before we can ever start a new homeschool year, I know that I have to look back. I have to review and critique myself.
Then, and only then, do I feel that I can set us up for success in the fall when we truly begin the new homeschool year.
A new homeschool year that starts slow as we ease in and adjust after an extended break for summer. Taking time to get used to early morning, grammar lessons, and math review.
Time to transition our brains and our bodies.
And time for me to harness my inner Miss Honey rather than my inner Ms. Trunchbull.
Easing into our school year, filled with the rigors of tests and papers, with a few days that are mixed between book learning and life skills.
Enjoying the last few days of nice weather before the cold and snow settle in.
And evaluating just how much knowledge was lost over the summer months.
Honestly, though, it all boils down to freedom to choose.
As homeschoolers, we have the freedom to dictate how our days go, and for that I am grateful.
Making Each Day Count
I have found that by easing into the start of the year the kids are more relaxed… as am I. And that even if we don’t start lesson 1 on day 1 in each and every subject, this is still the best way to start a new homeschool year.
Making each homeschool day count as we embark on a new homeschool year and another year filled with unlimited potential.
Unsure how to start a New Homeschool year?
Let me help! As a veteran homeschool mom of four, I have started countless years off – some were disastrous and others went smoothly.
This is why I am so passionate about helping other, busy homeschool moms like you, start their homeschool year off well and keep it running smoothly all year long! And with The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Homeschooling and The Ultimate Home & School Planner you will be ready for whatever obstacles come your way – at the start of the year and throughout your homeschooling journey!
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Still Need More Help Starting your New Homeschool Year??
No matter how much I plan, every year it seems that the new school year sneaks up on me.
With August here, it means summertime is winding down and homeschool days will soon be in full swing. This week, I’m teaming up with some of my fellow homeschool bloggers to bring you some great Back to Homeschool tips and resources. Be sure to check them all out below!
If you are preparing for your new homeschool year, be sure to check out these Back to School Worksheets from In All You Do.
How about some back-to-school freebie printables from Hess UnAcademy to get your new homeschool year off to a great start?!
This Bit of Life has some back to homeschool ideas to help you prepare for the new year.
4 One More has plenty of advice on how to get back into homeschooling after a break that will help your homeschool year out well.
Looking to learn more about an eclectic approach to homeschooling? The WOLFe Pack is ready to help you see if this philosophy can truly transform your homeschool.
First day of homeschooling tips from Homeschooling 4 Him to help you set your family up for success.
Organization strategies to help your homeschool right from day 1, especially when you are helping a distracted child focus from Whole Child Homeschool.
Fun and easy ways to help you include music as you start a new year from Music In Our Homeschool.
Homeschool On The Range is here with 10 ways to smoothly transition from summer to school.
Some Call It Destiny wants to help you make sure you have all of your homeschool room essentials before the new year starts.
Want a MEGA list of free homeschool resources? With the Huddlestons has compiled just the thing cover preschool all the way through high school!
Check out these fun first day of homeschool ideas from Simple Living Mama to make your first-day fun and memorable!
Geez, Gwen! is here with her top 10 tips for your homeschool journey.
Fun traditions for a not back to school celebrations from Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland.
Heart and Soul Homeschooling is here to help you plan your homeschool year in just one day.
Check out these math resources for a relaxed approach to math from Julie Naturally.
The Homeschool Cafe is helping you find just the right resources for your homeschool.
Homeschool organization without a homeschool room from An Off Grid LIfe to help you stay organized this homeschool year.
Thrive at Home is here to help you decide if an open-and-go curriculum is right for your family.
Meal planning and prep tips and tricks for busy homeschool moms from My Joy-Filled Life.
How do you start out your school year? Comment below!
***This post has been updated from its original version published September 2017.