RSS Feed

The Softer Side of Starting back to School

I don’t know about you, but I can only describe December as a whirlwind month on a sugar high.  By the day after Christmas my brain turned itself off in an act of self-preservation in order to recharge from the planning involved in the previous month.

Planning school, planning advent, planning presents, planning a service project, planning food- What a relief to find a week of nothing to plan and no lists to make.  I put off anything related to planning (school, groceries, other life responsibilites) until the very last day or two of my husband’s generous vacation time.

And then when the planning brain did turn itself back on again, fully charged, my synapses and fingers were clicking on endless great ideas-a hymn study over at Practical Pages, Composer Studies from Harmony Arts Mom, music lessons for the kids from the husband, new science curriculum that hadn’t been cracked open this year, grammar for the 11 year old…

With the planning brain now on overload and as the cut-off to vacation life drew closer, I considered post-poning school an extra few days or maybe a week (this is a perk to homeschooling, I can add on extra days at the end of the year to make it right).  But experience has shown me that we didn’t need an extra week to flounder about (the kids) and feel grumpy about responsibilities(me).  It would take us down a road of fighting and general discontent which can aptly be titled- Chaos.

Thankfully, around monday evening I remembered The Soft Start.  I reminded myself that if I added all of my ideas into our first week back there might be a few of us no longer here by the end of the week (namely me, I’d probably be driving to the beach).

So I arranged my list by what I wanted to start with the first week, add in the second week, third, and by the end of the fourth all of my hopeful plans would be included in the schedule.

An example of what this might look like:

This Week:

  • Bible
  • Math
  • Reading
  • History

Next week

  • All of the above plus,
  • Science
  • Hymn Study
  • Art

Third week:

  • Composer study
  • Music Lessons with Dad
  • Flesh out weekly schedule

You’re soft start might look slower or faster than the example above based on the ages and numbers of your children, family illness or other extenuating circumstances.

The Soft Start is about feeling successful, for everyone. The entire family gets to feel successful in getting back into a normal schedule, with a lighter load of academics in the first week, and ease into the realization that we actually like normal life quite a lot.

This Soft Start was actually even slower because, on monday, when we planned to take down the christmas decorations, we went out for hot chocolate instead and then took a nap.  Which means today we took down the decorations and brought order to the school room and peace to my mind.

You might not need a slow start.  If you have older children, who are quite capable of managing their work, and no little ones to call out for snacks and books and people to play with them, than I bet you can hit the week running.

But if you’re life this past week, minus school, has already felt full with working through sibling fights, accepting the fate of the grocery store, looking around at potential chores in every room, and finding one quiet moment to kiss your husband, and you’re wondering how in the world your going to start schooling multiple children in multiple grades, then consider the slow method.

And when you do start, start with the most important thing, the thing your kids(and you) need more than anything else, start with the Word of God, first thing in the morning, right at the table with your pancakes and cereal.  Then you’ve tasted success before you’ve even finished breakfast.

Bring on the comments

  1. Nadene says:

    I love your “Soft Start” approach – we use it too and it is really a lovely gracious way to get beck into homeschooling. (I’m so glad you found some inspiration and thanks for linking to my blog :) )

  2. We are using a soft start this week as well. Instead of getting stressed that I waited to order our new anatomy curriculum until December 30th (way too late for it to be here by today), I decided we’ll read a simple overview of the human body in a picture book that I bought. It will give us a preview of what we’ll be delving into, but will take the girls 10 minutes instead of 30. We are taking a lunch break right now, with only history waiting to be finished. I’m happy so far with Day #1!

Leave a Reply