This fall will mark the start of my 3rd year as a homeschool parent. (Or Worldschool, as we like to call it since we have a heavy focus on education through travel!)

Naturally, after 3 years, I’m a self-proclaimed expert on all things homeschool.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’m confidently rocking my daughter’s education (rising 5th grader), but terrified at the prospect of beginning homeschool with my Kindergartener. Mary Grace could already read when she started Worldschool. I have a feeling this is going to be a whole new ballgame! However, I’m a big believer in the “fake it till you make it” philosophy.

Therefore, you need to start the school year on the right foot!

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You may not receive an official supply list from the school- unless, of course, you make one for yourself! But, there are 10 important things you can do to start the school year off right for your children.

  1. Picture: Yep, join the club with a back-to-school picture. They are all the rage on social media right now. Homeschool shouldn’t deprive your kiddos of this yearly right of passage. Since my children attend a private school 1 day per week, we opt to take our first day picture on this day (even if we’ve started our curriculum a little earlier.) Who cares if your kids are wearing PJ’s, snap the picture and record this moment in time. 
  2. Supplies: I don’t care how old you are, there is nothing more exciting than a brand new box of markers. Though we may not always need new stuff, I try to make it fun for the kids. Rather than braving the back-to-school aisle, we make a few clicks on amazon for markers, paper, pens, pencils, highlighters and Post-it notes. I reserve all of those items for actual school related work. But then, we hit up the local stores after everyone else is back in school to purchase fun/craft items on clearance. 
  3. Planner: One of my most cherished possessions is my planner. I know, so many people do it electronically. But I prefer the old fashioned kind. I’m way too Type A to share mine, so when we started Worldschool I began buying a family one. I write the children’s assignments down each week and allow them to cross things off or add things to the planner. It is a great way for us to all stay on the same page- literally! I also use a chalkboard calendar in our kitchen where everyone can easily see all of our scheduled activities.
  4. Organizational System: Okay, admittedly this might sound vague and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be! Figure out what works for you. My kids keep most of their school books in a backpack. It makes it easy for us to pick up and travel (or go to the library or Starbucks!) But, I have a lot of friends who like having special baskets, carts, or other storage systems to organize their children’s curriculum.
  5. Educational CDs: Of course there are lots of ways to keep younger children quiet/occupied while older children are studying. However, my go-to items are educational CDs. I particularly like The Story of the World. It gives children an exciting introduction to History. We have all 4 volumes and rotate through the whole series at least once a year. We also rent audio books from the library.
  6. Elderberry Syrup: Back to school inevitably means back to germs. Unless you keep your children in a bubble, they will end up exposed to all the viruses that start circulating. Right when school starts is when I make my first batch of Elderberry Syrup for the year. It seems to keep sickness to a minimum. Check out How Elderberry Syrup Saved My Vacation to find out more about the amazing benefits and my favorite recipe. 
  7. Stationery: One of the best ways to get my children to practice handwriting is to have them write actual letters. Each week my daughter writes at least one piece of mail to a family member or friend in cursive. And my son is just beginning to practice forming sentences and spelling. To me, this is a much more productive way to practice than just completing worksheets. And, who doesn’t love getting mail? I just ordered a couple of these cute sets that I know my kids will love sending this year.
  8. Bedtime: I am a HUGE believer in bedtimes. Left to their own devices, my children would stay up all night. They’re “never tired.” And, truth be told, they thrive late at night. They make keeping them awake tempting with their good behavior. But, I can count on crazyness the next day. When they haven’t gotten a proper night of sleep, they seem to lose all self control and focus. So I am a stickler for bedtime knowing I’m truly doing them a disservice if I allow them to stay up late.
  9. Barrista: Just kidding. But seriously, if you can’t get a barrista to deliver coffee every morning, you can still start your day with an amazing cup of coffee. I invested in the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker and it’s been life changing. I am fully willing to admit that its a tad pricy up front. But this thing has MORE than paid for itself. I enjoy my own coffee even more than a $6 cup somewhere else now. And, it makes me a tiny bit excited to get out of bed in the morning!
  10. Trip: Plan to take a day off within the first few weeks of starting school. Yep, that’s the beauty of homeschool! Take a little vacation or even a Staycation. It will give you and the kids something to look forward to when you say goodbye to summer.

Whether you are a homeschool family or you do a more traditional approach, I hope everyone has a wonderful start to their school year!

To read more about why we chose Worldschool, check out a guest post I wrote for the blog Home Faith and Family.

You might also enjoy reading:

A Travel Mom’s Perspective On Teaching Your Kids About 9/11

10 Educational Trips To Historic Places

I Don’t Homeschool For My Kids’ Safety

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