Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Simple Tips on Starting Your School Year Well


Cubbies and a rolling cart are some of Mary Ellen’s simple tips to get your homeschool year off to a great start. It’s a short read but rich in advice.

Here are a few quick steps to take to begin the academic year well:

1. Envision how you want your days to flow.

This is a mental task you should spend some time over, prayerfully. Perhaps over coffee in the morning with a journal, or at adoration. Prayerfully ask God to order your days for the coming year.

Discern things like co-ops, sports, lessons, starting and ending times for school. No detail is too small to consider. Write out your thoughts and let them percolate a bit. From there plan your year.

2. When those boxes of books come in and the packing peanuts are all picked up (they multiply, don’t they?) organize the lesson plans in a way that suits your style.

Some people put their LPs in one large binder, with tabs for each subject and keep the tests and answer keys in another. This is what I have always done; it is less to keep track of. Other families keep smaller, separate binders for each subject. Some people spiral-bind and others staple. Do what suits you but do it right away so as not to lose anything.

3. Figure out where you are going to put all the books and materials.

The past three years our home base has been the dining room. I have a wall of cubbies from Target into which the books go at the end of the day. The middle cubbies house the reference books and some games, and then each student gets two cubbies to store their books and materials.

The top of the cubbies I use to display their artwork, any supplemental books we are using, and a big basket full of scrap paper.

This system has worked well, since at the end of the day everything goes back into the cubbies and the dining room is once again for eating.

The rolling cart houses all the pens, markers, rulers, and that kind of thing. I can roll it out of the room when we have company but mostly it just stays in the corner.

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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