Many homeschool families school year-round, and many follow a calendar similar to their neighborhood schools.
Those who take a summer break probably have or are gearing up to start a brand-new year. Here are some ideas for a positive beginning:
1) Be excited, and let your enthusiasm show. Attitudes are contagious, so be sure your children are catching all of your good feelings. Marketing is very important!
2) Prepare several weeks of materials ahead of time. My family uses a packaged curriculum, so a great deal of the organization is done for me. I typically use Sunday afternoons as my preparation day, but when we first begin I like to have looked over and gathered the enrichment materials for the next month or so. This allows me to focus on the children rather than the material.
3) Do something fun or unusual during your first few weeks. While everyone is readjusting to your routine, add some favorite activities (or some new ones!) to keep everyone feeling excited. In our first few weeks, my oldest son started band classes at our local public school, I took the children on a 'book scavenger hunt' at our library, and we went with cousins on a field trip.
4) Talk about what everyone is learning. My children love to talk. Period. I encourage them to tell others (like their father, other family members, friends and interested adults) about what they are studying. It helps with their retention, make them feel proud of their work, and can be a great tool to show individuals without exposure how effective homeschooling is. Discussing what they are learning with you helps them practice for whenever those opportunities arrive.
5) Take it easy. Don't try to get everything done. Freeze some meals ahead of time or plan on grilled cheese and soup for supper. Watch your children instead of your curriculum. It is your prerogative to avoid the pressure and stress that children face in institutional schools so take advantage of it.
And don't forget to take a few pictures! Best wishes on your new year from all of us here at Growing Your Homeschool.