by Heidi Mosher
This will be the best year ever. Do you tell yourself that, too, at the beginning of every school year while unboxing the perfect curriculum and collecting shiny new supplies? I hope we all have the best year ever, though the “stuff” we purchase isn’t enough. We need more than fresh supplies to meet a new school year. Here’s your Mom Checklist to prepare your heart and organize your mind.
What supplies are really needed to make it a successful year? Here are some ideas.
□ Organization – Make a space for everything: finished work, art projects, curriculum, supplies, etc. Label containers or prepare shelves or whatever you need to keep order.
□ Reality – Your kids would rather spend time with you than live in a Pinterest home. Be realistic with your time and expectations and find balance. Pick a few areas of your home to keep looking good daily and save large organizing projects for summer. Your main task during the school year is managing the education of your children. They deserve a committed teacher. That’s you, and you’re the best!
□ Outlook – Use this phrase often: “We don’t have to do this; we get to do this!” It helps with math, busy days, and homeschool in general when things seem overwhelming or negative.
□ Fruit – Homeschooling requires the patience, faithfulness, kindness, and gentleness that are fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) If you need a supply or refill, simply ask the Lord for His help.
□ Support – You need the ideas and honesty of other homeschool moms. And they need you! Tap into their experience and knowledge and offer yours any time you cross paths. Read a worthwhile homeschool blog or book. Take advantage of the free phone support that many curriculums offer. And, best of all, God is available with 24/7 help.
□ Outlet – Take a walk; call your sister; paint your nails. You know when you need to recharge.
□ Smile – Teach your kids with a smile, the way you’d want to be taught. You get to be their favorite teacher!
Think through a few things now for smooth days ahead.
□ A realistic expectations plan – Kids aren’t always attentive or excited about subject material. They don’t always get along. Expect this. Remember they are learning and practicing, and your homeschool is their training field.
□ Book plan – Set up a place to keep library books from playing hide-and-seek with your own books and implement a system to return them on time.
□ Grading scale plan – Decide on your high school grading scale. Keep it visible to be consistent and prepared for transcripts.
□ Essential work plan – Decide on the minimum amount of schoolwork that must be accomplished every day. Maybe Bible, math, and grammar? You know what your child needs. Trim your school day down to the essentials when orthodontic appointments, performances, field trips, or athletics leave you with a short supply of time. You’ll feel accomplished even on the fullest days.
□ Plan for interruptions – When sickness or a broken appliance or vehicle throws your day off, send up this simple prayer: “Lord, help me see what’s really important today.” Repeat as needed.
□ Christian school plan – Commit to keeping Christ shining in your homeschool through lessons, prayer, discussions, and showing your children how to follow Him. You don’t have to be perfect, but with your children at home, there will be many opportunities to show them where to turn for real life problems and mistakes.
You’re learning, too. Invest time in reading magazines, blogs, and other teacher training resources.
□ God’s Word – This is your strength. Soak it in at every opportunity. Listen to Christian music in the car; ponder your kids’ memory verses and Bible lessons; join a Bible study; or read a Psalm every day. Make it your daily bread.
□ God’s curriculum for you – As you serve Him through your children, learn from Him. Your days may not always go as you planned, but you can relax knowing that the Lord is not surprised. Maybe He has a greater lesson prepared for your day than long division and helping verbs. Follow Him as He teaches you.
Be encouraged as you live these quick years with your children at home. Our great God will be with you through each lesson and problem and every full and busy day. He loves your kids even more than you do. He loves you, too. With your heart and mind prepared, may the school year ahead truly be your best ever.
Heidi Mosher lives in Michigan where she and her husband are watching their kids grow up way too fast. She has always homeschooled and learned most of the ideas above the hard way (especially the one about the library books). Heidi continues to homeschool Evan, Grant, and Cassandra, and has a 2021 homeschool graduate. (Congratulations, Kendra!) Her favorite homeschool moments have been the hours and hours of read-alouds surrounded by all four kids.
Copyright 2022, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.