Homeschooling Without Tears: Preparing Your Child

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   In our home, the second best day of the year after Christmas came at the end of July. My children knew that special boxes would arrive, and could not hide their excitement! When the packages were finally delivered, the kids spent hours looking through each book and workbook for the new academic year. Sometimes they even asked to read them ahead of time, and could not wait to start.

   Sometime in August, we set up our school room, buying new school supplies, cleaning their desks, and putting their new books in their place. I also took the time to explain the new wonderful things they were going to learn, extra-curricular activities in which they were going to participate, field trips I was planning, special days, etc. Sometimes the kids came up with suggestions that were good (admittedly, sometimes they could be pretty goofy!), and I tried to let them have some input. In general, we established expectations for a great school year, fostering wonder and curiosity.

   The first day of school was always exciting: opening new books, using new pencils, getting used to a new daily schedule. That evening, the children showed their dad what they had done in school, and he was sure to share in their enthusiasm.

   Middle School and High School students might also look forward to special events like special projects, apprenticeships, volunteering, classes at the local junior college or online, organized co-ed sports for the homeschooling community, publishing their own writing, achieving those driver’s ed requirements, taking part in co-op classes, and even helping their younger siblings’ education. With older students, I advise allowing them to be “in” on the preparation process: help them to set goals and aspirations for the year! This helps them to own their education for themselves, rather having it merely forced upon them. 

   These may seem like simple suggestions, but they will make a huge difference if your child is looking forward to the beginning of a new school year. Like any new endeavor, the novelty will wear off, but if the start is exciting, it will set the tone for a great school year! Moreover, your children will begin to understand that homeschooling is very special, a gift that not everyone gets to enjoy.

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