Back-to-school Homeschooling Tips
Back to school already? While there’s still plenty of time to bask in the sun, it’s not too early to start planning for a smooth transition into the new school year. Remove some of that September stress by gathering some ideas now!
Ease Into Routines
You may already be envisioning the perfect new school year, complete with new schedules, chore and homework charts, and organizational bins. While it’s tempting at the end of summer to just “let things go” until school starts, you can make the transition much easier by slowly incorporating some of your resolutions now.
- Wake kids up a little bit earlier each day, even if just a few minutes. They may complain at first but will soon discover how much more summer fun they can have when awake!
- Start training your students to keep their items organized in individual bins, even if that means goggles and sunscreen for now. Getting them used to keeping their areas neat and organized now will help them continue the habit when school starts.
- Start incorporating some daily academic skills, such as vocabulary or math facts, into the schedule. Even a ten-minute review before heading to the pool can give all of you a sense of accomplishment.
Play Your Cards Right
This year, help your students keep track of details with 3” x 5” cards. The PACE curriculum always present definitions and concepts before a student works to master them. Sometimes, however, a spelling rule or definition was covered a few PACEs back. By keeping a 3” x 5” index card on each definition, math formula, or rule as it is introduced in their PACE, the student can easily go to their file box and review previously learned information to build on a current goal. Get file boxes and cards set up now so that students can hit the ground running!
Make Time for Play (Dough)
Just because school’s starting doesn’t mean playtime’s over. Build bridges between summertime and school time by incorporating fun, hands-on activities into your lessons.
Kids can work on learning measurements (including multiplying fractions, if you double or halve the recipe) by preparing homemade dough. Younger students can model the dough into simple shapes, while older kids can create landforms, such as glaciers, mountain ranges, and bluffs.
- ½ C white all purpose flour
- 2 Tbs. salt
- 1 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/3 C boiling water
- 1 tsp. cooking oil
- Food coloring (optional)
Measure flour and salt into a medium bowl. Add cream of tartar and mix.
Boil the water and pour into the flour mixture. Add the food coloring and oil. Stir until the dough is well mixed and you can push it into a lump.
Pick up warm dough and squeeze until stickiness disappears. Knead about 5 minutes: the more you knead the nicer it gets!
If it does not lose its stickiness, zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds and knead it again.
There will be variation in results because of the character and moisture content of your flour. (Some people initially put the dough in the microwave for 10 seconds and then add another 10 seconds. The microwave time is not to cook the dough, but to heat it. The stickiness will knead out.)
Store play dough in an airtight container or plastic bag.
Tip: Dried dough can wreak havoc on carpet! Make sure your kids use it over a floor that can be swept clean.
Back-to-school is often the best season to spend outdoors! As the weather cools down and begins to transition to autumn, students will find a harvest of learning opportunities. Incorporate the following outdoor activities into your fall curriculum:
- Learn the how’s and why’s of fall colors
- Plant bulbs for spring bloom
- Visit apple orchards and pumpkin patches
- Build birdhouses for fall/winter migration
- Plan fall and winter star and planet gazing
As homeschoolers, we understand how the dog days of summer make it easy to procrastinate. But it’s not too late to get your curriculum squared away for the fall. Contact us for more information about how to make this coming year one you and your students will never forget!