Online Catholic homeschool student

Getting Ready for the Homeschool Year

Ramping Up and Getting Your Student Ready

Life as a junk drawer

It’s Back to School Season – Again!

Here we are in August: scorched grass, blinding sun, hurricane season. These are nothing to back to school ads.

All those gorgeous smiling kids sporting new clothes, new shoes, and new school supplies can get to you. They remind you that it is time to recommit. Here comes another school year: 180 unchecked days of hard work and high expectations. It all seems to be saying, “This homeschool enterprise is bigger than you.”

Early in my homeschool career, I confessed to an acquaintance my dread of going back to school. Though I hardly knew her and she had no kids, she really picked up my inner angst. Maybe my straight jacket tipped her off.

“I am going to pray for you,” she said. I have never forgotten that. She didn’t attempt to tell me my fears were unfounded. The struggle was real. She didn’t attempt to talk me out of homeschooling. I was going to homeschool anyway. She understood the one thing I needed – to regain my peace.

As you ramp up to begin another school year, amid the flurry of activity and last minute planning, shopping, and panicking, take a moment to focus on peace.

Pray and ask your spouse and kids and friends to pray. Take a walk and tell God out loud why you are homeschooling, why you keep signing up for it even though you know what the sacrifices will be.

Paola Ciskanik recently asked for a list of favorite things about homeschooling. Mine is summer. That’s when you get all the benefits of homeschooling with none of the work. Another favorite is being able to give good things to my children and keep bad things away. Another is being close as a family.

Whatever your reasons are, write them down and keep them before your eyes.

Another good way to get yourself and the kids ramped up for the coming school year is to work on the planning together.

Clean out last year’s books and school supplies – the crumpled papers, the half used notebooks, the broken pencils, the grubby erasers, the unused resources that looked so promising a year ago. Toss them in the trash or put them away. Completely empty out the place where you keep your materials. Dust it. Wipe it down. Now, turn to the surrounding environment. Purge anything you are not using and have no plans to use. Free your floors, shelves, cabinets, and drawers.

Start fresh. A new year is like a new day. I am a big believer in cleaning up the kitchen every night so that I never have to wake up to yesterday’s mess, never have to start a full work load already behind.

That is how I start every school year. It is a new day, a new challenge, a new adventure. There will be new classes, new knowledge, a new reading list, and of course, new school stuff!

Even though our last two kids are teenagers, they still get excited about new school supplies. Newly sharpened pencils and bright new erasers, clean new notebooks, binders with a seemingly unlimited capacity for all the treasures they will hold. The new school stuff smell is the smell is of promise.


“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


Okay, the actual quote is “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… yet.” Will there be mistakes in your new school year? Yes. So now is also the time for new resolutions and new strategies.

Don’t enter your new year blindly, hoping that if you make the same mistakes, things will somehow come out better. That’s the definition of insanity, right? Face your mistakes and think of ways to avoid them.

For instance, if last year your teen dragged her feet on her homework, maybe her phone was distracting her and you need to take it until her homework is done. Or if last year you lost your temper six times a week and twice on Sundays, this year plan to teach the kids outside on nice days. Sit on the porch or in a public space so you won’t lose it on them until you can train yourself and them in patience. If last year your child took an online class with a homework deadline of 11 pm, and he came to you for help at 10 pm just as your eyes were closing, have him sign a pledge:

All homework help must be asked for in the daytime!

Hang it in a prominent place and abide by it even if it means he misses a deadline or two. Watch how fast he catches on. If you do not keep this boundary, he will cross it and other boundaries again.

By the way, all of the examples above are things our family has done and worked out.

St. Francis de Sales said that the key to having a good day is to anticipate things that could go wrong. That way you can accept that things are not perfect and also head them off. The same goes for having a good school year. Don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes. Consign them to the past. You are going forward.

Realize that one of the best things about homeschooling is that it allows so much room for improvement. It is very forgiving of past mistakes but also very flexible about retraining for future success. Where else can you make mistake after mistake and still come out successful?

It can only be grace.

So if you are facing end of summer dread, I’ll say a prayer for you.

5 1 vote
Article Rating

Resources to help you in your Catholic homeschool…

Catholic Homeschool Classes Online

Homeschooling Saints Podcast

Good Counsel Careers

The Catholic Homeschool Conference

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get updated every month on all the latest Homeschooling Saints podcast episodes and new blog posts

Ready to Get Started?

Homeschooling can seem daunting at first, but take it from us: The joy and freedom you gain from homeschooling far outweighs the challenges.

With flexible online classes, passionate instructors, and a supportive community at your back and cheering you on, there’s no limits to where your homeschooling journey can take your family! 

Sign up today!

Pin It on Pinterest