Homeschooling: Beginning a New Year
Jennifer Zeitz

In just a few days my children and I will embark on the adventure of a new school year. This will be our 6th first day of school as a home schooling family. Each year has been different. I wanted to take a few moments to share with you what my first day of school will be like. In addition I desire to share what past first days have been like.

Recently, we have moved into a new house. We have been busy about finding new routines and ways of going about our daily lives. So, for this year I am taking the “easing in” approach to the first day of school. What does that mean exactly? Well, for me, it means that I am not going to try to cover and plan all five subjects for all four children on the first day. I am planning to begin with two basic subjects: math and English for the older children and math and phonics for the first graders. We will probably continue with just those subjects for the first week. Then at the beginning of the second week I will add one to two more subjects, so that by mid to late September all the subjects will be in our schedule. I have found that often this approach leads to a more peaceful beginning.

Last year, I began with all the subjects on the first day with all the children. Now, that wouldn’t be bad if they were all familiar with the materials they were using, but we had just made a major change in the curricula for math, reading and English. Needless to say, there were many tears including a few from mommy. So, I learned that if you are making major curriculum changes, start slowly. If you are using the same curriculum and you are not adding any new students to your home school, then you might be able to jump right in to a full course schedule. If not, be kind to yourself and your children and take it slow. Everyone will be much happier.

When the children were smaller I had them make first day of school booklets. These were comprised of three pages. The first two pages were a cover page and a page with basic information such as the child’s name address, phone number, family information and a place to draw a picture of the family. The third page was a page of favorite things like favorite foods, animals, songs, books, etc. My goal was to have these booklets laminated for posterity, but alas, this never came to pass. It was a lot of fun, and I may do it again this year because my youngest two have never done a book. We have also been known to end the day early and head off to the local fast food restaurant for lunch just because we can.

However you choose to spend your first day of school I pray that it is a blessed one for you and your children whether this is the beginning of your 10th year or your first year home schooling.

God bless,

Jennifer Zeitz lives in West Seneca, NY


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