Do you really enjoy starting back into the homeschool routine in January?
I must confess—I don’t. Compared with the excitement of the holiday season, our normal homeschool routine seems . . . well, boring. By January, the novelty of new curriculum has worn off, and since our next long break seems eons away, it’s hard to be motivated to do schoolwork.
But are there things we can do to help make that January start date much easier on ourselves and our children? Here are a few ideas.
Consider a slow start to your homeschool routine.
Jamie Erickson, in her book Homeschool Bravely, was the one who first introduced me to the idea of starting out a new school year slowly. She writes:
Baptism by fire is a sure way to make anyone burn pretty hot. Launching the year at full-throttle on Day 1 will leave your entire family overwhelmed, especially your strong-willed child. Soft-opening your year can be the grace he needs to homeschool well. (p. 68)
This wisdom doesn’t just apply to the opening of a new school year—it can also apply to the return to homeschooling after a break of any length. Go easy on yourself and your kids. You don’t have to do an entire homeschool day on your first day back. This is homeschooling, after all.
Plan review lessons.
Sometimes when we restart school after a break, my kids have trouble remembering what we were working on before the break. And frankly, so do I! So I’ve concluded that it’s a good idea to plan some review time for our first day—it helps get us well prepared for future lessons.
The end of a calendar year brings a natural opportunity for reflection and evaluation. So ask yourself, “How’s homeschooling going? Is there something that isn’t working or isn’t going as well as I had hoped? Is my child ready for a new challenge?” January is a great time to try something new, and even small changes in your homeschool routine can rekindle excitement for learning. Below are a few ideas of things to try, but the possibilities really are endless.
- Work toward a family fitness goal
- Learn a new skill (sewing, knitting, wood carving, cake decorating, coding, etc.)
- Form (or join) a book club or writing group
- Redecorate or rearrange your schoolroom
- Choose a family service project
- Put together a family reading list
Don’t underestimate the positive power of new school supplies. Before you restart your homeschool, take time to purge the broken crayons, pencils without erasers, and dried out glue sticks, and take your kids shopping for new supplies. Fresh supplies will help you have a fresh start for the year.
Homeschooling is not always easy—especially the first week or so after a holiday break. But it is most definitely worth persevering in. I hope that one or more of these tips will help your family transition well into your homeschool routine in January.