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photo from Unsplash

It might seem strange that a homeschooling mom would look forward to the start of another school year.  But I love it.  There is a steady trickle of Amazon boxes full of books and supplies.  It feels like Christmas.

And by the end of summer I’m craving a more predictable routine. 

We started easing back into a routine last week by attempting earlier bed times and earlier waking times.  I’ve just found that we are way more productive with school in the mornings than the afternoons.

I even dusted off the old BUJO and set some personal improvement goals.  The start of a new school year and the onset of Fall just seems like a fresh slate.  It’s like a mini version of the New Year in January:

 A nice natural time to revamp, refocus, and feel that push of motivation.

I decided that we would use binders for school organization this year.  I keep flopping back and forth between notebooks and binders and can’t decide which way I prefer.  Each has its pros and cons.  This year I set up a 1 ½ inch binder for each kid (except the baby).   I printed a few things that I know we use on a regular basis like quotes for copy work and our math curriculum.  I even found these cute editable binder covers on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Each kid picked some clip art to glue on the front too.  It really showed their personalities.  We had a white fluffy puppy with a pink bow, a brown puppy chasing a ball, a guitar with music notes, and a dragon.  So much fun!

I also added some blank notebooking pages.  I tend to get in the groove of “read and discuss” and have little in the way of paperwork to show for it.  I’m making more of an effort to keep track of what we do this year so we can have something to look back on.  Here are some that I found.

One of my kids’ favorite things about the school year is our weekly poetry lunches.

They get to have a “treat lunch” like bagels and cream cheese or cinnamon toast with fruit and hot chocolate while we read poems.  It has developed into part of our family culture and something that they look forward to every week.  Right now, it’s nothing fancy.  I don’t decorate or bake for this, but I can see it becoming a little more elaborate as kids grow.

Tea cup and poetry book

This term we are reading through For Laughing Out Loud by Jack Prelutsky.  It did my Momma heart good to watch my eldest daughter read aloud while everyone sipped hot chocolate and erupted in intermittent fits of giggles.

We also made it out for a walk this last week.  It’s frustrating to me that there are no parks within walking distance of where we live.  I suppose there is one that could be walked to.  But it requires crossing a busy highway, and I’m just not comfortable with that.

We ended up walking to a little common area around the corner from where we live.  It’s basically a small grassy area with trees and a drainage ditch lined with rocks.  My kids love it, though.  The little ones feel like they’re on high adventure.  We ended up seeing geese, a  blackbird, and a dead mouse along the way.

We started reading aloud The Wonderful Wizard of Oz this week.  We’re only a couple of chapters in, but so far so good.  We love family read alouds.  It is one of my absolute favorite things to do with my kids.  I even learned something new.

I watched the movie growing up, but I’d never read the book.  The iconic ruby slippers from the movie are actually silver in the book. We learned that it’s because red would show up and look more impressive in the Technicolor technology of the time.  Silver slippers would be hard to portray without them looking boring and grey.

Speaking of Technicolor and appearances, It has been far from a picture-perfect week if you’re wondering.  kids lined up with school grade signs

Of course, the week we decide to start back to school we have a visitor, a teething baby, and a hormonal tween.  The perfect trifecta.

We had my sister visiting from out of town this past week which has been great, but definitely changed the flow of our days. It has been over a year since she was able to spend time with my kids, and they are having fun getting reacquainted.  They also enjoyed seeing her sweet pregnant belly and feeling her little one kick.  She is expecting a baby boy.  Yay!

I’ve also struggled with our technology (internet, laptops, Bluetooth, learning accounts) on multiple occasions this week.  I’m not tech savvy at all.  It set everyone on edge and made me want to throw things.  I worked extra hard on maintaining a positive attitude, and we made it through.  But there were days I spent over an hour wrestling with tech stuff before just giving up and waiting for my husband.

We’ve had some minor setbacks, but overall, it has gone surprisingly well.  Of course, as I usually expect, the schedule needs some adjusting.  Even with careful attention to allowing for margin while I’m planning, I still somehow end up overly ambitious.  I’ve cut back some of our afternoon schoolwork and put it on more of a loop than an everyday thing and it feels better.  So far that has been the only major necessary change.

We’ll see how everything goes once afternoon activities begin.  This year I’m not sick and pregnant and don’t have a newborn, so we have plans to do more outside the home.  Wish me luck!

What are your plans for this school year?

Let’s do this thing!


Heather Tinker