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Ready for homeschool?

It’s that time of year when homeschool parents need to start evaluating what to do for the fall and how to make everything work for the new homeschool year. There are hundreds of curriculum options out there and it’s hard to figure out what to tweak to make your next year even better. Maybe you fell behind last year and you are searching for some fresh ideas to help get you keep on track. Here’s a checklist that might bring something to mind to help you identify a few ways to optimize your year.

How much time are you devoting to actual schoolwork? If you are out running errands or involved in too many groups you may not be home long enough to get the work done.

What subjects were the most difficult to finish and why? Our history program was especially demanding so I decided upon a reasonable amount of work for each week and we are doing one grade level over the course of two years.

Do you start on time and end on time? I have found that my kids are more motivated when we have a set start time every day and a time when we are done every day, too. My kids are expecting me to start homeschooling at a certain time every day which helps me to be on time with my own morning routine. Running fifteen minutes per day by the end of the week adds up to an hour and fifteen minutes. If you start an hour late every day by Friday you will have lost almost an entire school day.

What time are your kids going to bed at night? If your homeschool day is like pulling teeth and the kids drag along and have a hard time getting anything done they may be tired.

Do you have a plan of what you hope to accomplish by the end of the week or year? Having a general idea of where you are going will help you to get there. I take a look at every subject my kids are studying and figure out what we need to get done every week in order to be done by June. Once in a while, I double check to see if we are on schedule or not. My kids want to finish the year and work hard to get there.

Are there subjects that you can’t handle? I hate to admit it but it’s been a while since I’ve done elementary math. For the past couple of years, there have been a few times when I’ve really had to take a look at what we were doing to remember every step. In the next year or two, I will be handing that subject over to my husband to take the lead. If you are getting bogged down by subjects that are difficult, instead of falling behind maybe you could enlist the help of your spouse or a tutor. It’s ok and it’s better than your child getting farther behind.

What motivates you? What are a few things that motivate you to get your own work done around the house and in your role as a homeschool parent? We are always thinking of ways to motivate our kids but we need motivation too, as adults. Could you give yourself a reward for completing your own to do list?

Are there some areas that need clearer boundaries? Lots of various activities consume our time. One area that can eat up hours before you know it is screen time. If your kids can’t seem to get their homeschooling done then maybe they are busy playing games or watching funny video clips on YouTube. Around our house, we have to use timers to keep the kids on track with how much screen time they use. It’s clear to them what the boundaries are. The timer goes off, the screen goes off.

This is a basic list to check through to get your wheels turning to streamline what you are already doing. What can you add to this list to make your homeschool year a great one?


Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find  her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.