For the last couple of days, when I sign in on the Internet I see that the Yahoo page comes up with school supplies all around its logo. I usually enjoy their little graphics for the different seasons and holidays, but I must say I’m not quite ready for school supplies. As I write this I am sitting in my backyard enjoying the nice weather, there’s a slight breeze that is making it very pleasant. Recently the days have been so hot we spend our time out in the early evening. The little guys play in the sandbox while my husband and the twins shoot some hoop, or we’ll take a ride on our bikes. The long days are nice, but as I look at the calendar, I know the beginning of school is fast approaching, so I must begin preparing.
The first thing I do is make my list of what books I need to purchase. We always start our school year the day after Labor Day, and those four days are spent on reviewing things from last year, and just getting back into the routine. So I can usually wait to purchase my books at the end of August. I also make a list of school supplies they’ll need and start picking them up here and there as they go on sale. One thing nice about homeschooling is that we don’t have those extensive school supply list I hear so many parents complaining about. Every year at Wal-Mart, I see a couple of parents with their lists in hand and a frustrated look on their face discussing products on the list compared to what is on the shelf. I secretly envy them, a school supply scavenger hunt sounds like the most fun. But then again, I’ve never had to do it.
The next thing I do is create my calendar for the year. For our State in Illinois, the required days of instruction are 176 days. This is not mandatory for private or home schools, but I use this as my guide in planning my days off and breaks. I pretty much follow the traditional school calendar, having Christmas and spring breaks. I decide which federal or state holidays we observe, sometimes on that day. “It’s Casimir Pulaski Day, hey we’re Polish, let’s take the day off!!” Having a guide for the year like this helps me alter it easily. We can take an unscheduled day off if we want to visit with relatives from out of town, or if my husband has a day off during the week and we want to do something. Then what we can do is have school on one of the planned Federal Holidays like Columbus Day or President’s Day. The kids will get a copy of the calendar on the first day of school. The first thing they do is count how many days until their first day off.
I have read articles from other homeschool Mom’s who will go away for a weekend by themselves before the school year starts. I have done this once before, and I used some of the time to go over lesson plans, and review curriculum. I usually take a semester break in January or February and just stay at a hotel and do nothing but enjoy the time by myself. I do have an opportunity to get away for a weekend in a couple of weeks, which I am taking full advantage of. I haven’t always taken these breaks, I used to think wanting to get away was selfish, and a sign that I was a bad mother and wife. I would feel guilty wanting to leave the kids with my husband for a whole weekend. But I have felt the benefits of time away to re-charge my batteries. It doesn’t have to be fancy or far away, unless your budget allows it and you want to go to Hawaii. I just know how good it feels to get away and I highly recommend it.
Being that August just started, I do have some time left to enjoy the summer and that’s what I plan to do.
I know that different areas of the country may start their school year at different times. If you could have it your way, would you have school start before or after Labor Day? You can add your opinion below.