It is another school year and once again you find yourself here:

1) Wondering if you have what it takes to start and finish another school year.

2) Wondering where to start.

3) Questioning if your children are where they should be academically.

4) Trying to figure out how to put everything together.

It does not matter if you are new to homeschooling or if you have been homeschooling for years, some of those thoughts are bound to cross your mind at some time during your homeschool journey. If that has happened, you are not alone. Most of the staff and counselors at HomeLife Academy have either homeschooled or will be in the trenches right alongside of you this school year as they home educate their own children.

Lani Carey, HLA Senior High School Counselor; Mona Houseman, HLA High School Counselor and Karen Johnson, HLA Senior High School Counselor took a moment to share some back-to-school tips that helped them as they prepared for a new school year. All three have graduated homeschooled children – Lani, four; Karen, four and Mona, one and is currently homeschooling her second child. Each has a different perspective and approach to how they educate, but all three agree that school should be educational and fun.

“Always look forward, not back. What do I mean by this? Don’t always be trying to ‘finish up last year’s work’, ‘trying to get caught up’, or ‘repeating the material’ the next year. In those famous words of the song, ‘Let it Go’! Start each new year fresh – It’s a new beginning, not a re-hashing of the previous year or years. This makes all the difference in the world regarding your attitude as the parents and your children’s attitudes going into the new school year.

If previous years were wonderful and successful, keep doing what you are doing – picking curriculum that appeals to each child, teaching them according to their learning style and challenging them to do their best!”. ~ Lani

“1) Start the new school year with a ‘gentle intro’ – maybe only cover one or two subjects for the first few days and then ease into everything else over time.

2) Start strong with read-alouds (everyone loves a story, right?) and then add a creative writing topic like ‘I’ll never forget how I felt on my first day of ___________’.

3) Read over a selection of the ‘best of’ past year’s essays or writing samples for each student to be aware of how far they’ve come.

4) Make each student a back-to-school care package with treats, colorful folders, new pencils, an ice cream coupon and a one-day-off free pass good for use any one time during the first semester.

5) Print a blank calendar and have students try to predict when the following days might occur: First snow day, first day someone in the family gets a cold, worst school day of the year, best day for a field trip, birthday parties (actual versus finally-get-the-party-done), Dad-Stays-Home days, day everyone accidentally sleeps in, etc.” ~ Mona

“The smartest thing I did was to empty off my dining room table in June and for two weeks, I did our lesson plans for the year. The great thing was that it was a day at a time, so if we were out of town or had a sick one, I just picked up the next day and there was never a feeling of ‘playing catch-up’.

I also included (educational) games as part of assignments. Games like chess, Payday, Clue, battleship and other strategy games are great.” ~ Karen

These are just some of the tips from HLA counselors who understand where you are as a homeschooler. Although we all have different homeschooling experiences, the counselors and staff can relate to you. Feel free at any time during the school year to contact HLA.

HLA provides support, record-keeping, and counseling services, to help “Light the Fires” of education in your children and encourage you – the parent to keep steady on the journey.

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©2016 HomeLife Academy. Article by Jennifer Smeltser. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the publisher /.