By Leah Courtney
It’s that time of year. Stores begin their back-to-school sales. Children bemoan the fact that their summer is ending. Classroom teachers prepare rooms and books. And in many homeschools, families prepare to get back to schooling after a break. Even those of us who don’t fully break for the summer are usually gearing up to begin our next “official school year” with new curricula and children who have moved up a grade—if we school by grade levels.
So I’m considering what, exactly, I need to do to be prepared. There are things I need to do physically to prepare our school materials and room. And there are things I need to do spiritually to make sure that we as parent-teachers and students are ready.
First, I like to clean out our school room. This is a great time to make sure that things are well organized for a new year. I clean out our craft supplies and throw away paint remains or non-working markers or glue sticks. I organize our materials into labeled drawers where the kids and I can easily access them. I also use this cleaning-out time to take inventory of things we need to purchase or replace.
After I know what we need, we head to the back-to-school sales. The great sales in the weeks before traditional school begins are the best time I’ve found to stock up on paper, glue sticks, crayons, and markers—all those supplies that seem to run out or disappear during the year.
I also take time to arrange the school books we’ll use. I place any new curricula in a specific spot on our bookshelves. If I’m reusing material from previous years, I pull that and put it on the current shelf. Much of our curriculum is literature based, and I take time to find the literature books I need in our own library or purchase them or put them on hold at the local library.
I have the kids take time to organize their personal materials before school begins. I like for them to start with cleaned-out desks, so that they have an organized and neat place to work. But our physical preparations aren’t the only ones that I need to make as we head into a new homeschool year. Equally as important for our family are the spiritual preparations that we need to make.
As we head into a new school year, I consider curricula, supplies, and activities in light of being a good steward of our finances and based on the direction I believe God has for our family. There are many wonderful choices for curricula. It’s too easy for me to want to try everything. In addition, there are a multitude of great activities we could get involved in. But I know that it isn’t good for our family to be constantly on the go. As I seek God’s will, and look at the direction He’s leading our family, I’m able to make wise choices in curricula and outside activities for our upcoming year.
I also encourage the kids to prepare themselves for school by desiring to do their best and to learn the things God wants them to learn. The kids and I need to focus on the fact that we’re doing what we’re doing because we believe it’s God’s will. With that focus, we can make sure that we are applying ourselves and doing our best in even the little things.
Whether you’re beginning a new school year on the schedule of traditional schools or you’re just transitioning to new school year materials and schedules, it’s important to be prepared physically and spiritually. When we take time for this, we have the beginnings of a great year.
Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.