Tips for the First Day of Homeschool 2021

We are gearing up to start our tenth year of homeschooling and it catches me by surprise every year. Here we are, again. I’m going to walk you through our first day of homeschool 2021 and what it looks like for use to embark on a new homeschool year!

tips for the first day of homeschool

The first day of homeschool is the culmination of so many things. The planning started last February as I assessed what needed to change and I began digging into curriculums.

I order all of our educational supplies in April, which means that I have to wait before I can thumb through them and “check” them off of my list. It is hard planning the next year when the current year is still underway. It is always worth it, though.

We complete school in May and enjoy our summer thoroughly. Summer is so sweet now that the kids are a bit older and we can all enjoy it together. I sit and watch them play or putz around my flower beds while they frolick.

It’s a time when I get to simply be “mom” and I love it more than I can explain. I love summer more now than I did even as a kid.

When does school year prep begin?

When July swoops in with a vengeance, I am forced to begin the actual planning of our year. I work on schedules and routines and prepare the school room for a new year.

It is a slow process, but one that must be completed before the first day of a new homeschool year. It’s a job, you know? And every job requires discipline, so I must also discipline myself to be a diligent worker.

After all of that work is done, somehow the night before our first day of homeschool is here. How? How is it already August? It surprises me every year and you think I’d be ready for it by now. Alas, I wave a slow “goodbye” to summer and begin the last of my school preparations.

Tomorrow is a big day.

school supplies set out for the first day of homeschool

The night before first day of homeschool preparation

The night before the first day of school we tuck the kids into bed around 8pm. I give the older kids permission to read until 8:30, but the little girls have the lights off so they can go to sleep.

I have the kids lay out their school clothes the night before so they can get ready easily the next morning.

While they try to fall asleep, I go into our school room (the dining room) and set out their school baskets that have all of their new school supplies in them on the table.

Their schedules get put into a 3-ring binder and I print off a personalized picture to put on the front of their binders. They always get excited to see what I chose for them.

I often get a few treats for them to snack on the first week of school while we get into the groove. I set those out next to their baskets.

Their new school supplies will be in their school boxes. It’s amazing how a few new crayons can make kids thrilled. After the school table is set up for the next morning, I turn in for the night, as well.

Early morning before kids wake

Today marks the beginning of a brand new school year in our home. It’s important that I rise early so I can be ready to welcome the kids and show them how excited I am to begin another year of homeschool with them.

I rise two hours before their breakfast time and read my bible. I pray over our year and focus on the weight of what’s ahead.

During the summer, I get myself ready after breakfast. That changes now that school is underway. I get dressed and ready before breakfast so that I’m ready to start school promptly at 8:30.

Around 6:30 am, I will start breakfast. I always buy orange juice as a fun treat for the kids. It’s the little details that they remember, which I love.

breakfast casserole on the first day of homeschool

Hot Breakfast

Breakfast for the first day of school must be packed full of nutrients and protein. I don’t have a set breakfast for the first day, but it generally includes eggs and a carb.

Last year, I made scrambled eggs and served them alongside fresh fruit and my flaky biscuits.

This year, I made a simple breakfast casserole that the kids devour. It has sausage, eggs, and cheese in it. It is make ahead, which means my early morning isn’t as hectic, and it fills hungry bellies.

Stay tuned for the recipe. It’s coming later this month!

First Day of School Pictures

First day of school pictures are some of my very favorite. I look back on years past and it makes me tear up. I cannot believe how fast time flies. The cliché is quite true, mamas.

Around 8 o’clock, I’ll have the kids go outside and take a school photo. We do a group photo and individual photos of each kiddo.

Once school pictures are done, I send the kids upstairs, do last minute prep in the school room, and then holler at them to come and explore their new materials.

I snap pictures and take a video of them running into the room.

kids looking at new supplies on the first day of homeschool

Introduce School Materials and Review Schedule for the first day of homeschool

After the children have peeked at their supplies, books, and treats, we move on to more structured activities.

We look at the schedule together and go over the kids’ assignment sheets. I explain which subjects the kids will do independently and which subjects we will do together.

I lay down boundaries for their school books and supplies. We go over where their baskets are supposed to be stored when they aren’t in use and that their supplies are only for school use.

For the older children, I create a quarterly schedule on excel that shows them what they need to accomplish each quarter to stay on top of their studies.

We go over that schedule and review how it is to be used.

homeschool planning daily schedule

Walk Through School Schedule and Answer Questions

This is the time where boundaries are reestablished after a long, lazy summer of talking out of turn. The children are reminded to listen when I speak and ask questions at appropriate times.

I know I’m still “mom,” but during school hours, I really do run my home as the teacher. I have very high expectations and those are reiterated during this time so we get started off on the right foot.

  • Don’t interrupt, unless it’s an emergency
  • I expect hard work and a disciplined work ethic
  • The kids are expected to use their time wisely and not sit aimlessly, wasting time
  • They must take care of their supplies and tuck them away at the day’s end

These first few weeks are about easing back into school and relearning how to complete their work well.

doing school work on the first day of homeschool

Ease Back into School with a Few Subjects

For the first day of school, or several weeks, honestly, the kids do a partial day of school. We don’t jump in and drown ourselves in every subject on the schedule.

It takes time to get the routine running smoothly. I want my kids to enjoy the first few weeks of getting back into the groove, so we start slowly.

We, usually, begin with Language, Math, Literature, and Spelling. The first week, those are the subjects we focus on. This allows plenty of time in our schedule to answer extra questions and get kids established in their routines.

After a week, or so, we add in History, Science, Writing, and Foreign Language. I will say that it takes a month for my older kids to get used to the work load.

Middle school requires a great deal of time management and focus, in comparison to elementary school work. Keep that in mind as your middle schooler gets the hang of hours of seat work.

literature books on a shelf for school

Lunch and Literature on the First Day of Homeschool

After a long morning of solidifying our new routine, we have a good lunch and then read. The quiet hour of reading after a long morning is always such a treat.

The kids pick their literature book from a stack that I have placed on their shelf and hit the sofas.

One of my favorite things to see as a homeschool mom is my kids on the couch with a book. It never gets old.

When school has been in session for several weeks, the older kids will have some studies to complete after lunchtime. They are independent studies that they do on their own. Today, we stopped after lunch and literature reading as a “new school year” treat.

drinking coffee on the first day of school

Afternoon Coffee

Of course, I need a cup of coffee after a long morning. It’s a bit of a pat on the back for a job well done. All of the preparation and planning has come full circle and it’s nice to know that it was worth it.

I made myself a cinnamon latte and curled up with one of my coffee table books and dreamed of autumn. It was a good way rest up before supper prep began.

Tomorrow, we will do (most of this) all over again. Here’s to a first day of homeschool and a new year that is underway!

Tips for a Smooth First Day of Homeschool

  • Rise early, mama
  • Eat a hearty breakfast
  • Have school materials set out ahead of time and ready
  • Take school pictures- keep it quick and simple
  • Allow kids to look through new materials
  • Walk through school schedule and answer questions
  • Do an abbreviated school day to get in the groove- keep it short
  • Enjoy a good lunch
  • End the school day with literature reading
Meet Liz from This Little Home of Mine

I want to share with you some ideas for how to make some of those as special things possible – but in a way that keeps things calm and peaceful as you kick off your new school year.

Visit Liz’s Post to give you some more tips!

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