Prepping For a New Homeschool Year: Part Three

Categories: Homeschool
In part one of my prepping for a new school year, I talked about assessing your child to help make the decision of which Leveled Daily Curriculum they are at and deciding which subjects you want to teach them this year. In part two, I talked about lesson planning and how I prep my materials for homeschooling my three boys. This month, in part three, I want to talk about starting the homeschool year by establishing routines and using reinforcement to ensure success.

Here is part three of prepping for your new homeschool year.

Expectation vs. Reality

First-time homeschool parents can find themselves overwhelmed. We all have the dream that our kids are going to sit down, listen, complete their work cooperatively, and make steady learning gains. I am going to go out on a limb and say it probably rarely goes like this, especially for kids with autism or other exceptionalities. When I taught in a special education classroom, I had to teach many children just how to sit at the table to work. I always worked with children who did not have the ability to work independently. New homeschool parents, do not be discouraged if your child needs help. These are just skills that need to be learned. Homeschool teachers need effective classroom management, just like classroom teachers do.


First, we are going to need a schedule. You will be most successful if your schedule is not on the fly every day. Create a weekly schedule and stick to it. Make a visual schedule and teach the schedule to your child. We can create all the beautiful visuals our hearts desire, but if we do not teach our kids what they mean, they are useless. Your child’s needs and abilities will determine how long they will be able to sit. Do not forget to give your child brain breaks. Also, consider attention span. There have been many studies on this. According to The Student Coalition For Action in Literacy, a child’s attention span is their age +1 in minutes. Meaning if you have a child who is 8 years old, their attention span is about 9 minutes. So, when you make your schedules, keep this valuable information in mind. Your child will need brain breaks. Another tip, at the beginning of a school year, when my students are learning a routine, for the first 2 or 3 weeks, we do not always use the curriculum. Right now, the focus should be coming to the table, sitting, and engaging in an activity. So, for your math time, give them something to do at the table like a number puzzle or math game. Something they can associate with math, but it can be errorless or a mastered activity. Right now, we are teaching them the routine of our day, which is most important.


We want to make learning a positive experience for your child. Creating a solid routine is the first step. When a child knows what to expect, this helps ease stress and prevent anxiety. We need to create the most positive learning environment possible. You want your child to be excited about learning and to want to come to work with you. Praise your child for sitting, doing their work, and staying on task. You can pair it with a treat if that works for your child. Reinforcement is so important. If learning is a negative experience, your child will not want to do it. Sasha gives great tips for positive reinforcement in this previous post.


Setting yourself up for success begins on the first day of school. When you take the time to teach your children their homeschool routine and provide reinforcement, it will lead to a better learning experience for everyone.


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